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A New Kind of Reward Increases Intrinsic Motivation

Even my wife, a psychologist, falls prey to the seductive idea that a $5 trip to Target after a violin lesson will eventually result in our son associating violin practice with good things. Read More

Comments on "A New Kind of Reward Increases Intrinsic Motivation" | Psychology Today

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What then?


It think it depends heavily on the meaning of the task, not only the content. Doing pegboards are clearly meaningless and boring so stickers and information is needed. Violin practice (or whatever the child does) on the other hand has the reward of being better at playing the violin. I think we should allow our kids to do thing for the things sake.

Rewards (even the information) to me,

1.makes the task optional. I get the toy to play violin, therefore when I don't want a toy I don't have to play.
2. Shifts the attention from being good at the violin to getting the toy - masking the joy of playing the violin.
3. Creates a very hard transition when they outgrow the rewards. What will make them continue if they never found meaning for themselves?


So did that work?

Would love to know if this new tactic works for your son.

One thing though, if a child needs so much extrinsic motivation, then it probably means he's not that into violin. Did he pick out this hobby himself to begin with?

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Garth Sundem is the author of the books Brain Trust, Brain Candy, and The Geeks' Guide to World Domination.


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