Thursday, June 5, 2014

Positive ticket

Everyone is motivated by positive feedback. If your effort is approved by others, you will be happy and willing to make efforts. Unfortunately, there are larger amount of reversed examples. Negative and destructive behaviors are likely to be enhanced in cruel environment.

The Stanford Prison Experiment showed us that human is very easy to become merciless. In this trial, some students were demanded to act either as prisoners or as jailers. Some days after starting the experiment, jailers began to bully prisoners seriously. Prisoners became servile and some of them lost their control of the mind. At last, this experiment was withdrawn before the estimated destination.

Stanford Prison Experiment

This result suggests that we are vulnerable to the influence of surrounding. Poor and tough environment gets rid of humanity from us. The fact that poverty is strongly related to is also suggestive. In Japan, a proverb says "Ishoku tarite reisetsu wo shiru. (The poor can't afford manners.)"

Then, is it possible to reverse the conclusion of Stanford Prison? Will enriching people make them polite? This article provides a suggestive answer.

Harvard Business Review: Can We Reverse The Stanford Prison Experiment?

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Richmond, Canada attempted to reinforce virtuous behaviors with Positive Ticket. It is given for a reward of an appropriate behavior and can be exchanged for a movie ticket or similar values. The police provided 40,000 tickets a year. After that, the crime rate was dramatically reduced.

This is an interesting social experiment. It has been proven that positive reinforcement causes increase of a certain behavior with basic psychology. Many companies and organizations adopt some kind of this scheme. However, it is difficult to establish an effective and sustainable system in real settings. As the Ward Clapham mentioned in the article, the police is usually reactive. It never tried to find good behavior in citizens. We also hardly detect virtues of other people. Positive Ticket enabled us to approve citizens instead of punishing them.

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