Barry Schwartz, a psychology professor at Swarthmore College, wrote a fascinating op-ed piece in the New York Times this week about New York City’s plan to pay students up to $500 for doing well in school. Mr. Schwartz argues that offering external perks to students can actually be detrimental in the long run because the expectation of rewards replaces the intrinsic satisfaction students receive from learning.
Growing up, I was always envious of kids whose parents gave them money for getting good grades. Would I have worked any harder in school if my parents had done the same? I was a straight-A student, so probably not. Would I be less interested in learning now, as an adult? I’m glad I didn’t get the chance to find out.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Motivation Matters blog.