Friday, September 23, 2016

MLM Operant Conditioning

Operant Conditioning: The use of consequences (reinforcement or punishment) to modify behavior. This idea was first proposed by the psychologist, B.F. Skinner. He felt that most things that made us behave in certain ways were external and that we should try and look for these patterns in daily life to see what made us the way we are. (

Operant conditioning is where we get the terms reward and punishment in behavior training. Every action we take has a positive or negative reaction, and this in turn forms our day to day decision making. We learn to make certain choices based on the result we expect to receive. An example of this is the way we are punished for committing a crime. We learn that certain actions are not acceptable in society based on the repercussions given for those actions. People learn right from wrong because they do not want to punished with jail time, fines, and labels (such as felon or sex offender). 

Operant conditioning can be very subtle such as trying to calm a child down by giving them what they want. When a child acts out in a public space, it is often easier to give them what they want, rather than to punish them. This is known as false positive reinforcement. Instead of teaching them that is incorrect to act out by taking something away, a person may give them exactly what they want because it is easier than dealing with the problem behavior. That person may not realize that this will trigger more bad behaviors down the line, because they are conditioning the child to believe this behavior is acceptable. An example of this may be a child throwing a temper tantrum at a restaurant because they want a dessert. Instead of teaching the child it is a privilege to go out to eat by not taking them out for a while, the parent may cave in and give the child a piece of candy. This is a false positive reinforcement and teaches the child it is okay to throw a temper tantrum to receive what they want.

How does operant conditioning work in MLM? It is actually a complex system that involves both rewards and punishments. MLMers have very harsh conditioning to get their downline to perform in their ideal practices. They will use love bombing and positive reinforcement constantly when the MLMer is attending functions, showing the plan, or purchasing products for their "business". This helps the MLMer to strengthen their opinions and resolve, because they are being rewarded for this behavior. Likewise, when they are caught doing something that is not approved by upline, then they will be scolded or worse, which leads them to more strongly follow the instructions of upline for fear of ridicule. This snowballs into upline expecting more and resulting in downline making harsher and more drastic life changes.

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