Variable rewards

Research. One group of participants were asked to bid on a cup containing 5 chocolate coins and a second group to bid on a cup which contained anything between 3 to 5 chocolates. In this trial, where attention was drawn to the uncertainty of the reward, the second group bid $1.50 while the first only bid $0.80. The second group was motivated by the thrill of an unknown reward.

Shen, L., et al. (2014). The motivating-uncertainty effect

“Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks. ”

Pro tip. Instead of the actual reward outcome, draw attention towards the excitement of receiving a mystery reward.

Thought starters.

» Explore rewarding the process more than the outcomes » Introduce surprise rewards to delight people » Give a small reward when people complete a desired behaviour to turn it into a habit