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Extinction Technique

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We produce inconsistency in others based on how we respond. At work and home.

There’s a ton of science on this too, as in 80 years or more.

Understanding a bit of science can help us avoid the negative effects of this. There’s a term and technique called “Extinction” and its widely used in behavior science and applied behavior analysis.

A clear case of this technique is also called planned ignoring. This was created for parents – sometimes we can ignore bad behavior and it goes away, because there’s no reinforcement for it to keep happening. That’s good for everyone.

It’s not always like that, though. At work, when I create a super cool report or presentation, and then no one says anything about it, unless there’s something naturally reinforcing about doing those tasks, I’m probably not going to do them or spend less time on them in the future.

This is extinction, and it happens. All the time, at work.

How many emails have you not replied to? How many phone calls have you made that have not been returned? How many times has your child done something you asked and not heard anything in return (but a little less nagging)?

It’s hard to pay attention when good stuff happens; you don’t need to reward it every time, but a little bit makes a difference.

*This originally appeared on LinkedIn. If you’d like to join the conversation, click here:

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