Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Mind

The Carrot, Not the Stick, Works Best to Encourage Cooperation

80beatsBy Allison BondSeptember 4, 2009 11:50 PM
carrotweb.jpg

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

If you're trying to get people to work together, carrots may prove more useful than sticks--that is, rewarding cooperation might motivate people more than punishing them, according to a study published in Science. Test subjects played the "public goods game," in which they have to decide whether or not to donate money to the group's pot.

The pot is multiplied and redistributed equally, regardless of who contributes and who doesn't. When people play a pure version of the game, the temptation to freeload – reap the rewards without contributing anything – often leads to rapidly disintegrating cooperation [New Scientist].

Related Content: 80beats: Stressed Out Lab Rats Become Creatures of Habit 80beats: “Expert” But Bad Financial Advice Turns Off Decision-Making in the Brain 80beats: In Terms of Enjoyment, Other People Know You Better Than You DoImage: iStockPhoto

But researchers found that when players were given the choice to either reward their fellow players for good behavior, or punish them for failing to donate, rewarding others yielded a larger payoff for the group as a whole. G

roups that could reward each other earned much higher payoffs than those that could only punish, or those that could do neither [ScienceBlogs].

    2 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In