Cognitive Sciences Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for practitioners, researchers, and students in cognitive science, psychology, neuroscience, and psychiatry. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am looking for a book, which gives a broad overview of all the main theories regarding incentives. Using this book, I would like to further my understanding of things like:

  • Why slot machines keeps people motivated to play
  • Why extrinsic motivation is weaker than intrinsic motivation

Economical theories should at least contribute to the understanding of incentives.

share|improve this question

migrated from May 1 '12 at 13:00

This question came from our site for professional and academic economists and analysts.

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I guess what you are looking for is readings on applied behavioral economics. Here is a popular favourite: Freakonomics

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
@David You might want follow it up with Superfreakonmics (…). Not in the same league, but same theme. – check123 Apr 24 '12 at 12:59

If you want to delve deeper into the topic, If Homo Economicus Could Choose His Own Utility Function, Would He Want One with a Conscience? is a seminal paper. Then, you can take a look at some of Bob Frank's other publications. Among them, I would recommend Passions Within Reason and Winner Take All Society.

share|improve this answer

The aspects of incentives which you are interested in are studied by psychologists as well. I recommend Carol Dweck's work. One of her popular books is Mindset.

share|improve this answer

You could check out any of Dan Ariely's books. Those are generally good at providing a similar to Freakonomics-level handling of a variety of economic topics, especially behavioral ones.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.