Small prize, big reward


10 Responses to “Small prize, big reward”

  1. funkadelic73 says:

    Um, hello? Foursquare?

  2. Saint Fnordius says:

    This has been known for a long, long time, really. Think of medals and citations in military forces going back to Roman times.

    In the end, what we crave as social beasts is recognition, and money is actually pretty limited in providing that. The only advantage to money is how it lets us trade assets and favours, really.

  3. Bill says:

    Just like “like” and comments on Facebook.

  4. msw141 says:

    This is so very true. As an office manager, on a slow day I once observed that a sudden and public assignment of points to someone who performed a routine but satisfactory task sparked a fervent competition in the staff for practically no other reason.

  5. Spencer Cross says:

    I’m familiar with a similar study run over the last six years or so that found the exact same thing. It’s called “World of Warcraft.”

  6. Anonymous says:


    RSA Animate – Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

    In short, economic incentives works on monotone mechanical routine tasks. For more complex, cognitive tasks economic incentives are COUNTERPRODUCTIVE.

  7. CC says:

    How does this dovetail with Daniel Pink’s presentation suggesting competition degrades performance?

  8. andyhavens says:

    When I was in 3rd grade, Mrs. Glore gave us gold stars on a big chart for the multiplication tables; a grid with our names down the Y-axis and cells for 1-12. Get the “3′s” right, get a star next to your name in the “3″ column, etc.

    After a month or so of this, I hadn’t filled in any but the easist columns; 1, 2, 10. Mrs. Glore brought this up as a concern at a parent-teacher meeting, and my Mom then brought it up as a concern with me. “Why,” she asked, “aren’t you doing your times tables at school?”

    “Because I’ve got a whole box of gold stars in my craft drawer,” I answered.

    Still makes sense to me, 26 years later.

  9. JustOk says:

    I thought it said win a pretzel. My friends would be impressed by that.

    We get rewards were I work. It was described in a way that I found no different than explanations of operant conditioning.

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