Archivio per la categoria ‘behaviour’

L’ ambiente ci bombarda di stimoli. Impariamo a rispondere a questi stimoli o per lo meno a quelli rilevanti, importanti per la “sopravvivenza”, attraverso l’esibizione di determinati comportamenti. In classe si sta –sperabilmente– seduti, in palestra ci si allena, nel campo di agility salti (effettivamente è il cane a saltare) gli ostacoli.

L’apprendimento consiste nell’imparare quale comportamento esibire, date certe condizioni: potremmo chiamare queste condizioni segnali. I comportamenti diventano condizionati a questi segnali. Quando batto sulla tastiera, ho imparato che per ottenere la lettera “A”, che ho imparato a sua volta rappresenta il suono “a”, devo battere un certo tasto <A>.

Una tastiera... quanti segnali da discriminare!

Una tastiera… quanti segnali da discriminare!

Non imparo a battere il tasto: imparo in quali condizioni battere il tasto <A> funziona e viene –quindi– rinforzato. Se voglio scrivere “CASA”, ho due suoni “A” che rinforzano il battere il tasto <A>. Se invece di <A> battessi <E> otterrei “CESE” parola che non ha senso nella mia lingua e che non mi porterebbe nessun rinforzo. Anche il mio cane Akira sa battere su una tastiera, quello che non sa e non potrà mai saper fare, date le sue competenze fisico cognitive è discriminare il significato di battere <A> .(Potrei modellare il comportamento, ma, per il cane, questo non avrà mai il significato che potrà avere per una persona.) Senza disturbare il mio border, che dopo la passeggiata quotidiana dorme beato, anche mio figlio a 5 anni e mezzo sa “battere” sulla tastiera. E’ anche capace di mandare SMS ai suoi cugini più grandi: “AIHHIHEEEEEE4444FDFFFF   FFFFFFFFFFFFFFHJH” che significa “Ciao, come stai?”

Quale competenza deve apprendere il bambino?  Non il comportamento di battere sui tasti –quello lo sa già fare– ma discriminare quando battere la <A> funziona ovvero verrà rinforzato. In altre parole, deve imparare a scrivere.

Di nuovo, non si tratta di insegnare delle nuove capacità fisiche o motorie. Questi o sono presenti nel repertorio dell’individuo o non lo sono e non possono, pertanto venire insegnati. Sono cose che vengono “naturalmente” con lo sviluppo psico-fisico-cognitivo della persona in un ambiente naturale e normale. Il patrimonio genetico si attiva progressivamente durante tutta la vita, per assicurare in ogni momento le migliori risorse comportamentali e di conseguenza le migliori probabilità di sopravvivenza. Questo patrimonio di comportamenti viene modellato dall’ambiente che seleziona sia quali comportamenti resteranno, sia quando questi dovranno essere esibiti. Se gioco a calcio so che è opportuno indossare la divisa per una partita; lo stesso comportamento “indossa la divisa” non verrà rinforzato per un incontro galante. Il comportamento è uguale; ciò che cambia sono i segnali. La partita è il segnale che, quando si presenta, è la condizione per cui l’indossare la divisa ha senso, o meglio sarà rinforzato. Ma l’indossare in sé e per sé non viene insegnato: o si è biologicamente in grado di indossare la divisa o non lo si è. Per questo motivo non potrò mai insegnare ad Akira a mettersi –da solo– i pantaloncini: gli mancano le giuste articolazioni, le dita opponibili etc. etc. Inoltre gli manca la competenza cognitiva per discriminare l’”utilità” di indossare i pantaloncini.

Quello che viene insegnato è il condizionamento del comportamento a usemaforono specifico segnale. Per questo motivo dobbiamo prestare la massima attenzione che nell’ambiente d’apprendimento in cui ci troviamo ad operare non siano presenti altri segnali che possono distrarre o confondere l’allievo. Se insegno un target mano a un cane, il segnale che do, presentando la mano deve essere assolutamente consistente, come lo è un semaforo rosso. Immaginate cosa potrebbe capitare se i semafori agli incroci fossero di dimensioni o colori leggermente diversi: verde smeraldo o verde acido più o meno grandi… Quanti incidenti?

Un segnale che condiziona il comportamento è sempre presente per insegnare. Lo shaping non è insegnare a incrementi graduali un certo comportamento, ma, piuttosto è condizionare, per incrementi graduali, un determinato segnale.

 

Annunci

AUTOMATIC AND CREATIVE

Pubblicato: dicembre 21, 2012 in behaviour, Teaching

città medievaleDuring the Middle Ages, and later still, in the Renaissance, the difference between artist and craftsman was very subtle. The training a potter or a painter received was, essentially, the same. Very young, still a child, you were sent to a Maestro,  as apprentice; you were supposed to stay and study, there, for a period of about 10 years. For 10 years an apprentice lived  close to the tools and the art with which later, he would had earned a living. At the end of the established time, a final examination was required before the apprentice could claim the title of Master and open,  his own workshop. The long training aimed to develop knowdlege of every tool, material and technique required to a Maestro. This knowledge needed to be acquired with Mastery. This term refers to the knowledge that goes beyond to the simple “know how to do” the things. It refers to circumstances when the answers to a problem  arouse “spontaneously” without an actual, conscious control. Primarily indicates the possession of Fluency: the skill to do things quickly and well.

brain 3d grid 2Our minds work on two levels: the first level (which we call “Unconscious”) is hidden in many respects, andit  includes all the behaviors over which we do not have effective control: breathing, walking … We do not know how to walk, simply we think that we want to go to a place and… we go. The second level (which we call “Conscious”) is where lives everything we are conscious of. Learning means -also-to transfer behavior and knowledge from the Conscious to the Unconscious; to give  control of our behaviors to the unconscious part of the brain. The more we learn the less we need to pay  attention to our behaviors. There are several advantages to this outpouring of knowledge:

• Availability of resources

• Speed ​​of execution

• Improved memorization

• Creativity

Let’s see, quickly, these elements.

 

1 – AVAILABILITY OF RESOURCES

The ability of doing things automatically, frees cognitive resources of Consciousness which can be used for other things, such as talking with our passengers while we’re driving. From an evolutionary  point of view, the advantages  -from this ability- are obvious. Being able to perform two-or more- behaviors at once, meanwhile focusing to something else, ensure high adaptability to the environment and this, in turn, means a better chance of survival. The same thing has happened to Computer. The first ones, like Commodore 64,C64_10 could manage one thing at a time, one game or one program. If we wanted to change program had to charge the data what we need. Nowadays, computers can easily handle several programs at once, and as I’m writing I can hear the music. [1]

2 – SPEED IMPLEMENTING

Behaviors are extremely faster when they are automatic. If meanwhile we’re walking we stumble, the motor reaction is fast enough to make we regain our balance before falling (usually …). If we were to perform the same action consciously, the results would be quite disastrous. Among humans, the category that achieves the more spectacular results than any other, thanks to the automatism acquired in behaviors are athletes. Tennis players, football players, gymnasts can express beauty, harmony and power in their actions because they have developed after years of training automatic (uncouscious) skills. If we try to ask to a top performer how he does his most spectacular blow, the answer, probably, would be a “I do not know”. The motor skills are automatic and, therefore, beyond the control of consciousness [2].

3 – BEST STORAGE

We Remember better and longer  automatic behaviors. Although for 11 months a year I do not go to the beach, either we do not forget how to swim. The same we can say for cycling or arithmetic. These are things that we will never forget, it doesn’t matter how many years have to pass before you ride  a bicycle again. To automate behavior means: Practice. To repeat the same action many, many times. The behaviors that go unconsciously have had this kind of training. These are things we have done and repeated because we liked them and found them fun or exciting. In a single word: Reinforcing.

4 – CREATIVITY

Back to our Maestri, the great artists of the Renaissance, have become such thanks to education, combined with natural talent [3]. The training in the workshops allowed Leonardo, Raphael and Michelangelo to learn with skill everything was possible to learn: how prepare the colors; how to hold a brush or a chisel, how to prepare canvas, plasters and marbles. Freed from the control of those aspects of their art, Maestri’s cognitive resources  were available for creativity that they express creating wonderful masterpieces. Without training, without practice, without skills we would not have the Mona Lisa, the Piety or the Venus of Urbino. To have automatic skills is not opposed to creativity. The opposite is true: the automatic behavior allows us to create, with wit and inventive, new things.la fornarina

What about us that we are not Michelangelo or Leonardo? Automatic means to become plastic and creative. Knowing how to do something more quickly and well, in fact, it frees the resources to express our higher cognitive potential. We must strive to find techniques and methodologies that enable teachers and students to practice gestures, actions and behaviors. To obtain this, the necessary practice must be reinforcing. It has to provide positive and well timed feedbacks. It should allow the student to constantly see the progresses he has made. Only in this way we would like to do, study, learn. It is the only way for us all, to  become Great Maestri.

clickers in cerchio

 

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[1] The computers’ example is even more precise if we think that all the computers, from the primitive to the modern ones, have their own internal systems that make them work (the biological equivalent of “keep alive”) whose activities iare hidden and invisible: exactly what happens in our brains and body.

[2] To this regard Ted DesMasions wrote an interesting post, which you can find here,

[3] I believe, but it is my personal opinion (and, perhaps, it is wrong) that Maestri’s “natural gifts” were not about drawing and painting, but rather were that “Art” for them was the most reinforcing thing of their life. A passion so deep rooted and strengthened to shape the entire life of Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael and many others. Who knows, maybeall was needed wasjust  a particular compliment made by his mother to child Raphael for his first doodle …

UNBEARABLE UNCERTAINTY

Pubblicato: novembre 20, 2012 in behaviour, Teaching

A few days ago I was walking with my dogs. When we are in the county my feet follow the path and my mind takes trips. So I think a lot and “chew” a lot. Pay attention, not every time there are large and deep thoughts, indeed. Almost every time my thoughts are tuned to “generic”, but sometimes I have some good flash.

A few days ago, I had one of these thoughts and I’ve decided to share it with you. Since when I’m working in education and teaching I’ve always found nasty what scientific books wrote about  punishment and reinforcement [1]. I do like the main definition of reinforcement (it is “an event that increases the frequency of a given behavior”) the definition of punishment just pissed me: “it is an event that decreases the likelihood of a given behavior to reoccur”. The “Likelihood” bothered me, leaving some doubt that, some time, in some way, it could work. Like leaving a door slighlty, almost an invitation or justification. “Look, if you want to try … it might just work.”

Parentheses. I have the proof that punishment does not work. Never. A month ago I experienced something “heavy”. I’ve teached as substitute, for two weeks in our middle school (children aged 10-14). With the older ones I succumbed to temptation, that small opening that “decreases the likelihood…” I wrote a couple of reprimands. Obviously the boys have quietly ignored my “punishment”, so I found myself with no more weapons for control their behaviors. When you shoot the bigger nuke than you have, or you have won the war or you have  lost.it.  I have lost my war, and the sense of helplessness that this defeat gave me was a bad load to carry on for few days.

A few days ago I realized that, sometimes, what works in punisment (hence the “reduce the likelihood …”), it isnot the event itself, but the effectst it leaves later.

Let me explain.

When we take a fine for over-speeding, we are punished for exceeding the speed- limit. What makes us go slowly, after the fine, it is not the fine itself, but it is the memory of the fine which negatively reinforces our going slow (negative reinforcement = give something you do not like to increase the likelihood of a behavior). That is. as long as I have in mind the memory of the fine I will respect the limits. As memory begins to loosen its grip, and my rushing through the streets gets stronger day by day, since, at least statistically,I  will not meet other  patrols, the punishment has no longer any effect. In practice I have not learned.

I’m not sure, but my suspicion is this: that the “collateral” effects, that we all know, arising from the use of punishment (anxiety, stress, behavior problems etc etc) are derived from this after-effect during which the punishment, while no longer existing, continues to exert its influence and the subject is torn between the desire to do something, and the memory of the punishment itself. The problem may be that the negative reinforcement is only a mental image, while the rushing with the car  is a true Reinforcement, tangibly present in my “here and now”? Let me clarify. One thing is to use negative reinforcement to increase the frequency of a behavior, such as pulling  the reins to turn horse’s head. But, in this case, there is contingency between the two physical actions “pull” and “turn”. There is, in fact, a direct flow of information. At every moment the horse may decide to turn her heads and stop the pulling. The receiver has an active role [2].

In the case of punishment, the receiver has no active role. Those who suffer the punishment can not do anything to avoid it. The fine unlike the rein does not give me anything to do but … pay. The next effect is that until I’ll remember the fine,I’ll slow down for a while my speed. In the case of punishment, there is no information flowing, and I’m alone,  fighting between increasing my speed (positive reinforcement) and the risk of taking a second fine (negative reinforcement). The concomitant presence of the two types of reinforcements leads to confusion, stress and uncertainty. From my point of view, uncertainty, or the lack of clear information is the worst thing that can happen to someone who is-or should be-learning something. In the presence of a stimulus, the  learning how to handle it it is an absolute priority.

Back for a moment to my experience in school. This lack of information in the punishment becomes even more evident. Pupils’s life has not changed after my reprimands: my enforcement , late behavior had since long lost its effectiveness when there are no left  “negative reinforcement ghost” to regulate pupils’ behavior. In other words, if the punishment is not scary  for the receiver there is no more chance for any kind behavioral  change [3].

Bacteria: they still have to learn…

I am a supporter of the concept of homeostasis, as theorized by Antonio Damasio. Homeostasis is nothing more than the ideal balance (ideal, because it is never reached) towards which all functions and settings of body [4] go: body glucose levels, indoor and outdoor temperature, blood oxygenation, heart rate etc etc. For each stimulus, external or internal, which reaches and affects our body, our regulatory mechanisms work so that the parameters of homeostasis remain within the limits where life is still possible. Enlarging this concept, even the brain mechanisms, aimed at learning, fit within available tools homeostasis management. When an external stimulus unbalances my homeostasis (for example,during  a diner someone who   asks me to pass the salt [5]), my body tries to regain his balance by using the appropriate strategies (passing the salt, for example). In this process of imbalance I had the opportunity to respond with a precise action and, therefore, to learn.

Learning is a must of evolution: the more I learn, the more I can manage the environment and increase the chances of passing my genes to future generations. In nature, the punishment does not exist, all the behaviors even the most coercive are expressions of negative reinforcement.

The use of punishment does not allow us to learn and, to a stimulus that unbalances my balance, I have no possibility to answer: we are, in fact, powerless. From here all the deleterious effects that result from the use of punishment.

An alternative to fines? Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iynzHWwJXaA

The fun-really-can change the behavior!

[1] My opinion of Reinforcement and Punishment are described in the post “Teaching”

[2] I’m not a fan of negative reinforcement used as only tool for education or training. I know that positive reinforcement allows me to get better results, faster, and longer. That said, correctly applied the negative reinforcement can be an effective aid to the positive reinforcement, as brilliantly demonstrates, for example, the work of Alexandra Kurland (http://www.theclickercenter.com/ if you are interested in

[3] Karen Pryor in “Do not shoot the dog!” Writes that there is only one type of punishment, that, absolutely and scientifically, works: extinction. For example, the extinction (killing or abandonment) of the barking  dog certainly solves the problem of barking.

[4] I use the word “body” as indicating the unity of mind, internal control mechanisms and the actula physical body.

[5] I still used the example “of the pass the salt” in the post: “Teaching”, which contains some complementary concepts to this post. So, if you want to know more …

All our lives long, we are constantly learning and teaching. As soon as we interact with other individuals (both people or animals) we are going to change their and our behaviors: that’s the true meaning of the word “teaching”. We accomplish this by unbalancing our party through the stimuli that we present in order to get the desired behavior. We don’t realize it, but our activities are a continuous, single and life long lasting process of teaching and learning.  I Can use different methods and techniques to achieve this result: from the most kind and compassionate to the most coercive and negative. When I started my own experience as Clicker Trainer I was taught that we can choose from four different types of tools:

R + (Positive Reinforcement): the delivering of  something desiderable to  increases the emission of a given behavior. The dog sits, the dog receives food.

R-(Negative Reinforcement): the delivering of something that the subject does not want –aversive- increases the frequency of a given behavior. Kick the horse’s flanks to make it move (of course I should stop when I get what I want).

P + (Positive Punishment): the delivering of something that the subject does not want with the intent to decrease the frequency emission of a given behavior. Beat the dog because he peed the carpet.

P- (Negative Punishment): take away something that the subject wishes to decrease the frequency of emission of a given behavior. Tonight Sam will not watch the TV because he went home lately after school.

A reinforcer is an event that occurs during the behavior; the subject performing the behavior may or may not receive or avoid changing its own behavior. If the horse takes a step he is no longer kicked. The choice is up to the subject: he/she is the one who decides to operate his/her behavior according to its consequences (hence the definition “operant conditioning”). Punishment, on the other side, takes place after the behavior and the subject cannot avoid it, but only endure. Sam can only not watch TV tonight, and the dog cannot help but be beaten because the carpet is wet. I’m not dividing between more or less coercive behaviors. A lady told me tonight thats he slapped lightly her dog because he flew away. I’m sure the slap was really light, but it was still a punishment. In this case, even a simple “bad dog!” would be labeled as punishment.

My opinion is this: since it happens after the behavior, and has no educational significance to the recipient (the dog has learned not to pee?) we can get rid of punishment from our choice of useful tools for teaching. Let’s leave the punishment to the role -sometimes legitimate, as in the case of the lady- vent of our frustration for not being able to change the behavior of the subject according to our wishes. A this point are left with R + and R-. We could then assume the learning process, not as a cross divided between reinforcements and punishments as described,  but as a flowing continuum. In the middle we have our students with  R + and R – to the sides. Task of us teachers is to keep as much as possible our student in the central zone that is where  optimal learning happens, correcting the course through the two reinforcements. We must be cautious in the use of reinforcements since their misuse can unbalance the behavior of our student and keep it away from our area of ​​learning.

 “Could you pass me the salt?” is a stimulus that unbalances the balance of the person we are addressing to. As  easiest way to get her balance back he/she has to performe the required behavior: to pass the salt. Our “thank you” works as reinforcement (happens during the behavior) and indicates that we got what we wanted. The person who has passed the salt understands that you are satisfied, regaining in this way his/her balance. In this example, our request (our teaching) has minimally skewed balance (probably the person to whom we turned to will not even raise his head from the dish) and everything went smoothly.

My parents went on holiday in Poland. Of course, they do not speak Polish and, of course, they had some difficulties with the language. A simple ” Podaj mi sól, proszę?” is a demand (we can call it stimulus) rather unbalancing: when we do not understand a request we employ all our resources to try to understand and this is pretty overbalancing. If this situation should last for a long period there might be serious consequences. When we can no longer rely on the language, we find ourselves in the same condition in which we are when we work with animals.

 Imagine being invited to dinner in Poland.  A diner asks you, “Podaj Mi Sol, prosze?” You try to understand what you are asked and you move a little, nervous, in the chair. The diner gets angry and slams his fists yells at you “Podaj Mi Sol, prosze?”. You’re in panic! What the hell do he wants from you? Why he’s getting angry? You try to stand up and he gets angry even more, he threatens you, screams etc etc. You try something, there’s some water on the table. you pass the water and hew completely freaks out: he grabs you by the shoulders, shaking and yelling his: ” Podaj Mi Sol, prosze?”. Somehow you understand that the diner’s behavior has something to do with the table … but you are out of your spirits, frustrated and angry. You get out coarsing to the diner and slamming the door. In the meanwhile the diner turnes to other guests saying, “osoba leniwa the nieinteligentny …”

What happened? Simply that the stimulus that you faced  with was too unbalancing and you have decided to quit. Wouldn’t it be better if your diner should have shaped your behavior instead of screaming’? Using  kind words and affably signaling and marking your progress toward what he wanted and keeping silent about your not successfully attempts. Relax and calm you would understand what he wanted and you would have learned your first words in the new language.

As you can see the first situation is a metaphor for teaching coercive, based on punishment and negative reinforcement, the second is a positive teaching based on positive reinforcement. Where were you better? Where do you think your son, your coworker or your dog would do better? As long as we can keep our learnes inside the understanding zone we are provide them with the perfect environment for a safe learning, and this will make us great teachers.

THANKS TO:

The concepts of “understanding zone” and teaching as a flowing continuum are gift from Les Kiger. Yu can find Les’s  thoughts here: http://equuality.com/blog/

The idea that we, as teachers, are deliberately unbalancing our students is a gift from Ted DesMaisons. Ted share his thoughts here: http://tedwordsblog.com/

JUST US

Pubblicato: settembre 29, 2012 in behaviour
Tag:, ,

A few days ago, better a few nights ago I had a question crossing my mind:why are we humans so prone to punishment rather than reinforcement? Why is our first instinct to stop unwelcome behavior rather than reinforcing the ones we like? We are not ready to deliver a nice biscuit to our dog who is well-behaving as we are ready to get angry if she bites our shoes. Let’s face it: as species we are not among the top 10 of the nicest ones: just take a look at the news.

Given these characteristics of ours, I’ve taken a quick look to see how  behave our friends the animals .
Primates have surely some kind of punishment although the kind of aggression which I found cited as punishment (eg between dominant males for females or food) could be more examples of negative reinforcement (R-) rather than real punishment. The only example of a “real” punishment seems that shown by dominant baboons: if lower ranking members do not report with the appropriate callings the discovery of food sources they are attacked as soon as they move back to the group! A second example of real punishment is the one that has been tested on a herd of horses. Experimenters have taken away from the group lower rank member and feed them in sight to the rest of the group. As they return to the herd they are attacked by higher order horses. Sometimes it’s easy to exchange punishment with negative reinforcement: the stags with a harem attacks and chases the young deers who try to mate with their females. This type of aggression, suffered by parasites -definition for those who seek to divert resources from others- teaches to not to try it with the same dominant stag in the same place. The attitude of  “no try” has been negatively reinforced (I’ll beat you until you quit).

Punitive or aggressive behavior or otherwise designed to subjugate others could be born, counter-intuitively, as an aid to establish cooperation inside the group. In a particular species of wasps, the queen “beat” the lazy wasps. If you freeze -in an experiment- the queen, the activity of workers slows down brutally. Other similar example comes from wrens: in colonies of wrens the helpers kept separated from rest of the colony during the breeding season are attacked on their return to the colony, while are simply ignored if kept separate during other periods. The picture that seems to emerge is that social groups must-necessarily- recourse to coercive behaviors to remain united. It must be said that only some of these behaviors can be clearly labeled as “punishment”.

We humans, as expected, we play a different part (are we or not more evolved?).
By chance at the end of August were published through the Web the preliminaryt results from a recent research that has shown that chimps do not have a particolar class of behavior known as “altruistic punishment”. Altruistic punishment also known as “third party punishment” happens when we punish the responsible of behavior suffered by another person. The fact that our closest cousins don’t have this behavior tell us how much different is mankind’s behavior from the rest of wild. We humans have plenty of this type of behavior -quite well developed- if we see what we could create thanks to it. In fact, it was believed until recently that the great civilizations were born using the neurobiological basis they had for centuries ruled the soclal life of hunters adapting them to the particular resourcefulness Holocene. In practice, as soon as there was the possibility the man has expanded with the brain structures that he had handy.
Seemingly,  climate changes  alone are not enough for the birth of great civilizations. As long as social groups are small, as wide as clans with less than 25-50 members, everyone can adjust independently and directly  their relationships, helped, maybe, by a dominant member. Who have strayed away from the group simply is isolated, plunging his chances of survival: working together is an absolutely necessary. As soon an communities begin to grow and pass the critical threshold of 100 members this type of control is not enough. Who have strayed could be able to hide into the society (maybe finding hapl in another family) escaping the condemnation of those who had been offended. So, large communities must give themselves new laws and rules and, to make those even stronger, they tie together this new course to moral considerations through the invention of Religion. The fact that all (or at least most of) the members should bow to the new rules can not be justified by the simple collaboration. To grow, these societies have to resort to altruistic punishment.This kind of behavior works in this way: someone, (a judge in our societies) decides how a criminal act, addressing to others, should be punished. All members of society accept and apply it. Into smaller groups this mechanism apparentely doesn’t exixt. Studies regarding the last primitive gropus, have shown that they do not have altruistic punishment in their repertoires. Hence the hypothesis that the neurobiological mechanisms of the ancient hunters have evolved into new forms allowing the creation of complex Neolithic societies. Matter of fact that a large genetic mutation has occurred in the Middle Esat and  its result is that we can eat and drink the milk of other species.

Functional studies of the brain have given evidence that these new circuits appear installed in the neocortex: Here you decide whether or not a certain action should be punished; amygdala and other parts of the emotional brain decide the amount of punishment.
These findings from scientific research show that we humans have  specific mechanisms for the punishment; and, it’s said to say, these mechanisms have been responsible for the success, so far, of our species.
Where is the point?

The point is, in my opinion, that we abuse of “third party punishment”, much too often playing the role of judge. When we punish not going to punish the behavior, but the subject. In other words we are going to take revenge for the “peed” carpet . I think our neocortex which show us the future, allowing us to plan and schedule, lead us to take a role that does not always belong to us. We like to judge and criticize we like to see “HOW”  things have been done (to this reagrd you can readt the post “WHY not HOW” in this blog). Let us rather  identify ourself as teachers and not as judges, helping those around us to grow up in a positive way. 
The neurobiological mechanism of altruistic punishment, as we have seen, apply to the social context, where broad masses of people are at play. We do can begin to change our own perspective starting from the small family tribe where collaboration and empathy alone are sufficient to ensure the “survival”. Let’s exclude punitive behavior from our daily lives.
Just a simple Clicker for our dog could take us very far in a wonderful discovery journey.

APPENDIX
As strange as it may sound, mathematical models applied to the evolution of social groups show that altruism alone can only support small groups of individuals (as happens in the wild). The use of coercive behaviors allows groups to:
• stabilize, allowing the development of a shared cultural heritage (necessary basis for a further leap forward related to the development of laws and religions);
• to increase in size. Groups whose members are “free” from altruistic punishment can not exceed 100 members (in some tribal societies, when you reach more or less these numbersm  there is a budding with a birth of a new group). If there is altruistic punishment, the group  can reach 600 units  we are talking about modern society which lives in  pre-agricultural style). While we modern humans, with the increased availability of resources, we have societies made by billions of individuals.

READINGS (DOWNLOADABLE ARTICLES)

  1. BUCKHOLTZ  (2008) – The Neural Correlates of Third-Party Punishment
  2. CLUTTON (1994) – punishment in animal societies
  3. HENRICH (2005) – Markets, religion community size.
  4. MORAL SENTIMENT AND MATERIAL INTEREST – MIT press (2005)
  5. RIEDI (2012) – No Third Party Punishment in Chimpanzees