MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Scientific Truth About Motivation

One famous quote goes like this, "motivation is the fuel to success." It is indeed interesting to study the psychology of our own minds, and how motivation work and push us.

A study was done in MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States of America (USA) with a huge group of students. Challenges were given to the students, with tasks ranging from simple physical tasks, memorising a string of numbers, spacial tasks, to solving word puzzles, etc.

3 levels of rewards were included as an incentive, ie small, medium and large cash prizes to the bottom performers, satisfactory performers and the top performers respectively. This type of reward scheme is quite prevalent in the corporate world as well. Naturally, when a person sees that if the reward is high, it is normally expected that he will do better. However, this is not the case in the outcome of the experiment.

The results? For mechanical tasks / skills, the higher the pay, the better the performance. However, it was noticed that when it comes to fundamental cognitive tasks, larger rewards lead to poorer results. If the task are more complicated are require more thinking than the mechanical, do this and do that, type of tasks, the results are reversed!

In another case, the experiment was replicated in another part of the world, rural India, and it was shown that the results were quite the same. The people there are great in doing simple straight forward tasks. However, those offered the medium reward has no difference as compared to those who are getting the low reward. but when it comes to those who are offered the top reward, they did the worst.

Now, we all know the scientific truth behind motivation. To conclude, in order to succeed, do not make your tasks complicated. Keep it simple and set it in a step by step checklist with a reward stated clearly after each check, you will be motivated to succeed.

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