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36

There are two great TED talks that together help shed some light on your question: David Deutsch (2005) "A new way to explain explanation", and Richard Dawkins (2009) "Why the universe seems so strange" At a fundamental level, science is about explanation (and sometimes using that explanation to make predictions). Thus, to most people, science is useless ...


19

I think you have to be careful with the proposition that "rewards do not increase performance on non-rudimentary tasks". The experiments that Dan Pink cites involve experiments where participants are in a room and are supervised by an experimenter while they complete a task. This social pressure by the experimenter may well be enough for participants to be ...


16

Mahmoud A. Wahba, Lawrence G. Bridwell, Maslow reconsidered: A review of research on the need hierarchy theory (1976), or a free pdf scan here Its abstract says: The uncritical acceptance of Maslow's need hierarchy theory despite the lack of empirical evidence is discussed and the need for a review of recent empirical evidence is emphasized. A review ...


14

There is a fundamental concept in motivation illustrating this effect- a bunch of studies have been done which I don't have the time of digging up citations for now, but the central findings are as follows: If the incentive (external reward) for a non-trivial task becomes too salient, the individual is driven to complete the task for that reward and will ...


14

In short, no. Perry's essay is amusing and compelling, but incomplete. Procrastination is an epiphenomenon of motivation, an active area of research which has some models relevant to the study of procrastination, such as: Hyperbolic Discounting Temporal Motivation Theory Rational Choice Theory Expectancy Theory Perry emphasizes task importance as the ...


12

The change that is relevant to your question is not that from a rural farming life to an urban office-working one, but the neolithic revolution. In early prehistory and during the palaeolithic period, our ancestors lived as nomadic hunter-gatherers. They did nothing but hunt and gather food. When they were sated, they relaxed. Because they had no fridges, ...


10

A theory which I believe explains this is the ground-breaking work that Carol Dweck has done on mindsets and how they relate to performance. To recap, People can have either a fixed mindset where they view abilities as fixed, are more driven by performance goals and use helpless strategies when confronted with tasks beyond their capabilities. If given a ...


10

Neher (1991, FREE PDF) summarises and critically evaluates the theory. From the abstract: This critique of Maslow's theory of motivation examines all of its major components. The theory is summarized and its basic propositions are analyzed in the light of internal logic, other relevant theories, and related research. This examination points up ...


10

There are a few videos and some links here on gamification in education. Sarah Smith- Robbins has an article on gamification in education. http://www.gamifyingeducation.org/ is a website devoted to the topic; the site has a listing of research papers here.


10

Motivation is a massive topic, and it's difficult for me to know what would count as a 'theory' of motivation as it's currently construed. For instance, at one level, we might consider motivation to be the processing of incentive salience on perceived stimuli: you see a cheeseburger, something makes you want it, and so you pursue it. One way of talking ...


10

A popular lit review [1] discusses some game concepts that have been empirically tested to support the idea of gamification. In some cases, these may be very hard to quantify. For instance, the article cites fantasy as one gaming characteristic that engages gamers. Other characteristics, such as having clear, well defined rules/goals seem easier to ...


10

That was an interesting TED Talk, I enjoyed it. Motivation is a very complex, but fascinating thing to think of. You're asking if those three things he listed are the most important aspects to motivation, but I'm not sure the answer can be straightforward. So let's talk about what motivation is first, before talking about how those three things relate to ...


10

Obedience The most famous paper dealing with this issue is Milgram's paper, called Behavioral study of obedience[1]. From the abstract: This article describes a procedure for the study of destructive obedience in the laboratory. It consists of ordering a naive subject to administer increasingly more severe punishment to a victim in the context of a ...


10

If you take a look at games like minecraft, they have quite a lot of players who do not work (students, college students, etc). These people first mine thousands of blocks, then rearrange them in a creative way. There's absolutely no need to do so, it is entirely voluntary, yet people end up moving hundreds of thousands of blocks to do something creative or ...


8

I was about to recommend The Oxford Handbook of Social Neuroscience, by Decety and Cacioppo (Oxford University Press, 2011) which has an entire part (10 chapters) dedicated to the neural basis of emotion regulation, motivation, and social interactions. However, I just noticed Panksepp's forthcoming book, The Archaeology of Mind: Neuroevolutionary Origins of ...


8

One thing to think about is what's meant by "performance." In basic cognitive tasks (e.g., memory experiments), changing the payoff matrix (and thus motivational factors) often influences bias but not discrimination -- in other words, upping the ante, so to speak, makes individuals more conservative (or careful) but doesn't much change their overall ...


8

Our subjective estimation of probability is affected by many irrational factors, one of which is the accessibility of exemplars (Availability Heuristic). Since we usually hear about lottery winners, and not so much about those who didn't win, we over-estimate the probability of winning. It may be similar with your estimation of the probability of the project ...


8

It's an interesting question, I imagine the desire is multifaceted and that it may reflect multiple desires and multiple activities. In particular, I'd distinguish between (a) the desire for a viewing experience and (b) the desire to get to the top and achieve goals. Desire to Climb There are many examples of people taking joy in climbing. This can be ...


8

Although it would be hard to experiment on dead peasants, I believe that the Status Quo Bias promotes the idea that laziness is a human trait. You can see the orignal research here, or just google the term. Samuelson, W., & Zeckhauser, R. (1988). Status quo bias in decision making. Journal of risk and uncertainty, 1(1), 7-59.


7

High incentives (especially related to time needed to finish a task) makes one very concentrated but at the same time leaves little opportunity to look outsid the box (i.e. to develop a creative approach, sometimes needed to complete a non-rudimentary task). For a popular science/economics talk, see also: ...


7

As a starting point, the Steel (2007) meta-analysis in the highly regarded Psychological Bulletin is an excellent starting place for learning about the theoretical and empirical literature on procrastination. However, a lot of the literature seems to be focused on procrastination as trait, rather than treating procrastination as a task specific, temporally ...


7

Could you be talking about conformity: e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conformity and/or groupthink http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupthink ? In addition to the famous Milgram studies which you may have already heard about: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment There's quite a lengthy literature on these issues but those links should get ...


7

Probably the most striking evidence of "happiness homeostasis" is a now classic study by Brickman, Coates and Bulman (1978) which compared the self-reported happiness of lottery winners and accident victims with a control group. The following quote describes the part of the outcome you'd be interested in succinctly: Lottery winners and controls were not ...


7

[This started as a comment but became really long, hence an answer.] The hostility is real but the premise that more than a small minority of people forgo “working” by laziness is in fact very questionable, in several ways. People might dream of winning the lottery but there is very little evidence that they generally avoid “work”. In fact, with the same ...


7

This effect has been termed Overjustification effect and was originally reported by Lepper, Greene & Nisbett (1973) who studied the influence of rewards on intrinsic motivated behavior. Some theories hypothesize that the reward reduces the feeling of self-determination, which in turn reduces intrinsic motivation, because the reward induces the feeling ...


7

Perhaps people are attracted to these theories in part because of the inability for mainstream science to answer anomalies. The occasion of governmental lying, hiding of technology, and corruption, helps reinforce the idea that there exists real Science that is not known to the mainstream. In the absence of trust, people contemplate the ...


7

It's an interesting phenomena. And I think it can be seen in many other domains beyond lifts. At least where I live, pedestrian crossings have buttons, which I've seen people repeatedly press. You can see it often on computers and other digital devices when the system does not immediately respond to user input. Basic Bayesian Rational Actor My starting ...


6

I believe that Dan Ariely's experiment contradicts your assumption, since he shows that avoiding procrastination makes you better in the task. Thus, the correlation between performance and procrastination is in the opposite causality from what you propose. see: http://bookoutlines.pbworks.com/w/page/14422685/Predictably%20Irrational for details. copy pasted ...



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