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> KK> I just listened to a piece on NPR last night on the concept of rewar
> KK> creativity in children with cash incentives. There were several
> KK> interesting results of the study they reported (such as the fact
> KK> that creativity is transitive--if you encourage artistic creativity,
> KK> you'll end up with more creative writing), but the relevant one is
> KK> that the reward needed to be small and out of sight. When the reward
> KK> was either large or in view, creativity became subsumed in the large
> KK> greed that developed.
> While in university I was involved in research on something called the
> Overjustification Hypothesis, which posited that paying someone to
> do something that they would normally do for free (e.g., for fun) would
> actually decrease their later interest in the activity when no reward was
> available. In fact, we demonstrated a number of times that paying people
> to even _think about_ doing the task was sufficient to reduce their later
> interest. This is a very reliable and well-studied phenomenon, explained
> by a transference of motivation from the intrinsic interest of the task
> to the extrinsic reward for completing the task, given a sufficiently-large
... and of course Mark Twain took it to the next logical step when
Tom Sawyer had to whitewash a long fence. First he pretended to
be doing it recreationally, and finally he ended up *charging* other
people for the privilege of doing it, which increased their interest
tremendously! Twain ends the passage with a sage observation on the
difference between work and play. It bears re-reading in these times.
But to get back to the original topic, determining reader attention...
Years ago a friend at the University of California did a test to see
how many people were reading the list of rules handed out at the desk
of the Music department where you signed up to use the piano practice
rooms. In the midst of the long tedious list of rules were (as I recall)
11. Use of the rooms for sexual purposes by upper division students
is restricted to the hours of 8 am to 6 pm. Graduate students
and faculty may use the rooms for these purposes between 8 am and 11 pm.
Lower division students are forbidden to use them for these purposes.
No one ever commented on Rule 11, in all the years he worked there.
Ray Bruman In this establishment,
Raynet Corp. we DO NOT DISCUSS
rbruman -at- raynet -dot- com race, religion, politics,
415-688-2325 or nutrition.