What Behavior Science Tells Us About Motivation

Understanding why incentives work and how they can be made more effective

by Leo Jakobson | March 19, 2018

There has never been a more innovative time for the rewards, recognition, and engagement industry than right now. As researchers in academia and the private sector continue to unlock the secrets of how and why people act the ways they do, using tools that range from measuring brain chemicals to increasingly more sophisticated experiments into how people make decisions, the business of motivation is rapidly becoming an aspect of the science of human behavior. 

“The days of providing the room and the ride and the beautiful sunset using plug-in platforms are coming to an end, and I think that’s great news for everyone,” says Tina Gunn Weede, CIS, CRP, president and CEO of Peerless Performance. “We’re starting to focus more on why people are doing what they’re doing instead of trying to drive performance or change behavior, which is really the how and the what. I think we’ve been putting the cart before the horse. Performance and behaviors are really just byproducts, either good or bad. It’s how we feel and how we think about things.”

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