# Is “Karmic Punishment” more effective?

When I was young, my parents consistently used "Karmic Punishments", punishments that had a strong relationship to the misbehavior. They believed that this was more effective.

Examples:

Swearing or lying was punished by rinsing mouth out with soap
Physical violence was punished by spanking
Laziness was punished by physical labor.


Is there research to support the idea that relating punishment to behavior in this way is more effective than an unrelated but equally harsh punishment? Information about "Karmic rewards" is also valued.

Sidenote: My father also did this to train the household dog. Excessive barking meant being shouted at/gunshy training (loud noise) while biting was punished with a rap on the nose.

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I think that in theory, anything that creates a stronger association between the punishment and the act in the mind of the one punished will make the punishment more effective. Humans are much better at creating these associations than animals, but that doesn't mean steps can't be taken to create a stronger association. My guess is that temporal coincidence (happening close in time) is many times more important than making the punishment similar to the act... but I would wager that the latter has some level of effectiveness. (Since I have no evidence, I will leave this as a comment) – Muhd Jun 14 '12 at 1:24
Welcome to the site. Generally, anything punitive in nature, unless property understood and perceived by the person receiving the punishment, is bound to create a strong personal dislike at the subconscious level towards the person and more like towards the thing that caused the punishment. That's the reason corporal punishment is banned. You can search "negative effects of corporal punishment" in Google Scholar. – Ubermensch Jun 14 '12 at 9:34
@Ubermensch Well, this same concept could be applied to rewards as well. – Lawton Jun 14 '12 at 13:36
The primary factor in conditioning is timing; the causal relationship has to be clear, I'm not aware of "karmic" conditioning being any more effective – Ben Brocka Jun 14 '12 at 15:58
@Christian I am clearly not talking about Karma in a religious sense. I am talking about the belief that a punishment which is similar to the misbehavior is more effective. If you have a better descriptor, suggest it. P.S. When making arguments for clarity, using the word obfuscate is just silly. – Lawton Jun 17 '12 at 16:36