Theories of Punishment
There are many theories of punishment. However, on page 374 of "Introduction to Learning and Behavior" by Russell A. Powell, P. Lynne Honey, and Diane G. Symbaluk state research to investigate the effectiveness of punishment has been great but attention to developing and testing theories of punishment have been minimal.
One theory is the Conditioned Suppression Theory. The theory is based on early work by Skinner in the year of 1938. It was discovered by Skinner that punishment can stop a behavior but the behavior resumes when the punishment is withdrawn. This is sort of a dichotomy since the punishment in the first place was to stop a certain behavior.
Skinner considered this: punishment typically generates a emotional response. This suppresses any kind of ongoing appetitive behavior. Furthermore, take a rat for example; when a rat is given a shock when it presses a lever, for food, it becomes upset and it does not continue to press the lever.
As the book states, "when the rat is shocked for pressing a lever that produces food, it becomes upset that it loses interest in the food and therefore does not press the lever to obtain it. If however the shock is withdrawn the rat resumes lever pressing as soon as it calms down enough for its interest in food to be revived (Powell, Honey, and Symbaluk 374)."
An analogy in for contrast purposes is that if Tyler stops teasing his sister, when he told not to, it is because he is upset and does not have time to pay attention to her. Thus as the book clearly states, the conditioned suppression theory of punishment states punishment does not weaken behavior but produces an emotional response that interferes with the occurrence of a behavior.
What was interesting was that Skinner found this conclusion: punishment is ineffective to produce a lasting behavior. Interestingly, Skinner's experiment did not use a punishment that was strong because he utilized a device that slapped the rat on its' paw when attempting to press the lever. Subsequent research, although it is a form of torture and cruelty, reveals that more stronger forms of punishment are found to be effective. A form is using strong electric shocks will be capable to suppress behavior for a longer amount of time as stated by Azrin and Holz in the year of 1966 in "Introduction to Learning and Behavior." This was stated on page 374 of this book as well.
Another theory is the Avoidance Theory of Punishment. You'll be pleased to notice that punishment involves avoidance conditioning, which the response of avoidance consists any behavior other than the behavior that is to be punished. This was stated by Dinsmoor in the year of 1954 according to our book "Introduction to Learning and Behavior." In other words, as the book states, when a behavior like jumping over the fence is strengthened according to a form of shock avoidance in an avoidance situation, then the behavior of doing "anything other than lever pressing" is reinforced by shock avoidance in a punishment of lever pressing situation.
Reference: Powell, R. A., Honey, P. L., & Symbaluk, D. G. (2017). Introduction to learning and behavior. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Posted for Ramanpreet Kaur