Thursday, November 5, 2015

Motivation in Journalism

When viewing the film “Freakonomics”, I have learned that the group of sociologists did a study on whether cash awards would drive freshmen students in high school to get better grades. By the end of their discovery, they believed that rewarding the students for getting good grades made them work harder and benefited them as far as learning went. In Daniel Pink’s “The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”, the same kind of outcome is expected, but results end up teaching us a lot more about how motivation works. Both pieces performed formal studies, and both had different results. While the topic of motivation is up in the air as far as truth and false, what both studies discovered is interesting regardless.

Daniel Pink’s “The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” results in answers contrary to “Freakonomics”. While Freakonomics showed an overall improvement of students grades when they were being awarded with cash prizes, Daniel Pink’s study found that bribery does not mean better end results. Daniel Pink’s study showed that bribery to drive motivation ended with worse results. For example, he references a study done many years ago that involved monkeys being given a simple puzzle. The monkeys, without being bribed, began to enjoy solving the puzzle and solved to quicker each time they were given it. Once being bribed with a banana, however, the monkeys began to perform poorly, taking more time to solve the puzzle with each trial. This showed that the personal reward of solving the puzzle was enough for the monkeys to convince them to strive to do better (contrary to the Freakonomics study). This study ended with the statement that rewards did not drive subjects to do better, but it actually drove them to do worse, due to taking out personal achievement and replacing it with a prize. The Freakonomics study concluded with the statement that rewards do result in better grades and more effort.

While both studies had different results, there was a sort of common ground. We need some sort of motivation in order to convince ourselves to do better. Whether is was money or personal achievement, motivation of some sort was necessary in order to motivate both test groups to try harder. These different results make it impossible to truly verify which kind of motivation works better, but it is certain that motivation of some sort is needed to further yourself, whether it’s earning money for getting better grades or being proud of yourself when solving a puzzle.

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