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The Psychology of Punishment: The Category Shift Problem in Road Safety and how to address it. Abstract only

Job, S, Sakashita, C


ACRS conference 2009

Punishment is used to reduce or remove an unwanted behaviour. However, psychological responses to punishment may include shifting to a socially desired behaviour, negative emotional responses to the punishing agent, refinement of the undesirable behaviour to make punishment less likely and shifting to another undesirable behaviour. The application of punishment (fines, demerit points) in road safety exhibits all these outcomes. The nature, and thus category, of the problem behaviour addressed by punishment may change- we have named this the category shift problem. For example, it has been suggested that in response to random breath testing, driver may use more back streets or use drugs other than alcohol.