The Shaping of Behavior Using RewardsTo punish or to reward? A question that has gone through the minds of psychologists, parents, and even pet owners. There are two forms of motivational systems. One being the behavioral inhibition system which is sensitive to signals of punishments, nonreward and novelty. The other system being the behavioral approach system which is sensitive to signals of reward, non-punishment and escape of punishment. In terms of effectiveness on changing a person’s behavior the behavioral approach system is the most effective. Rewards and positive reinforcement is the ultimate way to go. As B.F. Skinner once said “A person who has been punished is not less inclined to behave in a given way; at best, he learns how to avoid punishment.” A reward changes our thoughts and behavior and the idea of a reward influences many things in a person. As mentioned in this study “the prospect of rewards including money influences cognitive processes such as attention, decision making, and the configuration of mental “rules” that determine our responses to events.” This interaction between cognition and reward expectation has an important influence on everyday thought and behavior, even when the reward is predictable or subliminal” (Pessiglione et al., 2007). This prospect is what we typically see in workers, students, children, and parents. For a student the reward of a good grade is what urges them to keep focus in class, to decide to study rather than go out and also to not cheat their way to a good grade but actually earn it. For a worker the reward of a paycheck or a bonus is what pushes them to quality work, to actually show up to work, and follow the protocols set at their workplace. The behaviors of workers and students are tailored into an ideal worker/student because they are surrounded by positive reinforcement.There was a 13 week field study conducted in the Netherlands where they offered rewards such as money for those who drove to work earlier or later, by switching to another mode or by teleworking (Elia, Ettama, 2011). The purpose of the study was to encourage people to avoid driving during morning rush hour. The result of the study showed that the reward is the main motivation for discouraging rush-hour driving. The idea of rewards can solve so many issues revolving the behavior of people in our society. Rewards are not used often on adults which is why it’s so effective. A person that usually drives to work early doesn’t ever get the reward of money for doing that so when it was given to them they knew that what they were doing was the right thing and motivated them to continue doing it. A person who doesn’t avoid the traffic but learns of the reward will drive earlier just to receive the reward of money. It is said that “Increased reward expectation improves reaction time and accuracy in the relevant dimension while reducing sensitivity to modulations of stimuli characteristics in the irrelevant dimension.” The expectation of reward isn’t a bad thing which is known to be a common misconception when in actuality it is something that causes improvements in different areas. With reward you will always see positive change in the actions of employees.According to (Armellino, Hussain, E. Schilling, Senicola, Eichorn, Dlugacz, Farber, 2011) with rewards you will always see a quicker improvement in employees behavior. There was a study conducted on the medical staff to see if rewards will encourage them to wash their hands before entering a patient’s room more. Placing sensors and cameras at the sink and making the staff aware of it didn’t do much and did not provoke change. Only ten percent of staff members actually cleaned their hands in a sixteen week time span. Their new solution was placing electronic boards in the hallways that gave positive comments like “good job.” to the staff whenever they washed their hands. The positive feedback given by the electronic boards resulted in a 90% increase in the span of a month. A common argument against the behavioral approach system is that it isn’t as effective as the behavioral inhibition system. Putting a child in time out or suspending a student from school might put fear in a person and cause them to steer away from doing the wrong thing.Some will also go to the lengths of physical punishment. However studies show that the inhibition system will later on affect a person’s mental health. As said in TIME magazine”a new study in Pediatrics, which finds that harsh physical punishment increases the risk of mental disorders — even when the punishment doesn’t stoop to the level of actual abuse.”(Rochman 2012) punishment can cost a person’s well being and it really isn’t worth it. Mental disorders are tough and if it is developed due to one wanting to shape another person’s behavior then we need to rethink whos behavior needs shaping.”To punish or to reward?” The best answer to that is to reward. The behavioral approach system is the most effective way to shape a person’s behavior and won’t lead a person to develop mental disorders like the behavioral inhibition system will. Rewards and positive reinforcement is ultimately the way to go.