negative reinforcement

As discussed on The Big Bang Theory, Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) tells two volunteer subjects that he’s testing them for “negative reinforcement” on ESP ability by electrocuting them whenever they guess the wrong card. In behavioural psychology, negative reinforcement occurs when the frequency of a behaviour is increased when a stimulus is removed. But what is actually being tested (on the male volunteer) is positive punishment or the adding of a stimulus to decrease the frequency of a certain behaviour, like getting the wrong answer.