Author: Stephen Ray Flora
Series: Alternatives in Psychology
Publisher: State University of New York Press (January 16, 2004)
Why do some children skip school to get drunk, “high,” or “wasted” on drugs, while other children get to school on time, work hard on their homework, and participate in extracurricular activities such as bands, debate clubs, interscholastic athletics, or plays? It is for the same reason that one child with severe developmental disabilities bangs his head on the floor and repeatedly hits himself in the head until the cumulation of blows results in detached retinas and blindness while another child with equally severe developmental disabilities dresses and eats independently and uses sign language to communicate his wants and needs instead of relying on self-abuse. It is for the same reason that one elderly person takes numerous prescription drugs for pain, constantly complains of her ailments, and frequently visits the doctor while another elderly person in the same physical condition takes no prescriptions, hardly ever complains, or visits the doctor but instead attends continuing education classes at the local college, helps her grandchildren with their homework, and participates in book and dance clubs. The reason why all these people do what they do—the reason why everyone does what they do—is that people do what they are reinforced for doing.
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