This is the VOA Special English Health Report.
recent studies have found that punishment is not the best way to influence
One showed that adults are much more cooperative if they
work in a system based on rewards. Researchers at Harvard University in the
United States and the Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden did the study.
They had about two hundred college
students play a version of the game known as the Prisoner's Dilemma. The game
is based on the tension between the interests of an individual and a group.
students played in groups of four. Each player could win points for the group,
so they would all gain equally. But each player could also reward or punish
each of the other three players, at a cost to the punisher.
researcher David Rand says the most successful behavior proved to be cooperation.
The groups that rewarded it the most earned about twice as much in the game as
the groups that rewarded it the least.
the more a group punished itself, the lower its earnings. The group with the
most punishment earned twenty-five percent less than the group with the least
punishment. The study appeared last month in the journal Science.
The other study involved children. It was presented
last month in California at a conference on violence and abuse.
used intelligence tests given to two groups. More than eight hundred children
were ages two to four the first time they were tested. More than seven hundred
children were ages five to nine.
two groups were retested four years later, and the study compared the results
with the first test. Both groups contained children whose parents used physical
punishment and children whose parents did not.
The study says the IQs -- or
intelligence quotients -- of the younger children who were not spanked were five
points higher than those who were. In the older group, the difference was almost
Murray Strauss from the University of New Hampshire
worked with Mallie Paschall from the Pacific Institute for Research and
Evaluation. Professor Strauss has written extensively about physical punishment
of children. He says the more they are spanked, the slower their mental
development. He also looked at average IQs in other nations and found them lower
where spanking was more common.
What do you think are the best ways to correct
misbehavior? Share your comments at voaspecialenglish.com.
that's the VOA Special English Health Report, written by Caty Weaver. I'm Steve