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Corporal Punishment of Children in Theoretical Perspective$
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Michael Donnelly and Murray Straus

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780300085471

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300085471.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 20 October 2020

Behavior Analysis, Evolutionary Theory, and the Corporal Discipline of Children

Behavior Analysis, Evolutionary Theory, and the Corporal Discipline of Children

Chapter:
(p.103) 8 Behavior Analysis, Evolutionary Theory, and the Corporal Discipline of Children
Source:
Corporal Punishment of Children in Theoretical Perspective
Author(s):

William M. Baum

Anne S. Kupfer

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300085471.003.0008

This chapter examines the use of corporal punishment of children as a cultural practice from the combined perspective of behavior analysis and evolutionary theory. In this perspective, behavior, including human behavior, is seen as a function of three types of variables: genetic dispositions, current environmental situations—including cultural practices—and individual conditioning histories. According to this synthesis of behavior analysis and evolutionary theory, behavior depends entirely on environmental events, some going back to childhood and some going back over many generations of natural selection. The discussion here focuses on misunderstandings about the use of the word punishment in general and the phrase corporal punishment in particular, how this misunderstanding has impeded progress toward eliminating the use of corporal disciplinary practices in our culture, how traditional views of human nature foster the use of corporal disciplinary practices, the provenance of corporal disciplinary practices and the concept of “punishable” behavior, and how alternative disciplinary strategies will decrease acceptance of and reliance on corporal discipline.

Keywords:   cultural practice, behavior analysis, evolutionary theory, genetic dispositions, current environmental situations, cultural practices, individual conditioning histories

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