Cognitive labor shapes the desire for social and monetary compensation
SourceMotivation and Emotion, 44, 6, (2020), pp. 797-809
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI AO
SW OZ BSI SCP
Motivation and Emotion
SubjectBehaviour Change and Well-being; Work, Health and Performance
When do people want something back for their mental labor? Based on equity theory, we propose that conscious experiences of success and effort - which emerge during cognitive work - shape people's subsequent desire for social and monetary rewards. We examined this idea in a series of experiments, in which participants carried out a cognitive task, in which we manipulated task difficulty (easy vs. difficult) and performance feedback (high vs. low) within subjects. After each trial of this task, we probed people's desire for compensation, in terms of social appreciation or money. Findings were in line with the entitlement hypothesis, which assumes that the experience of success can cause people to feel entitled to money. However, we found only indirect support for the effort compensation hypothesis, which assumes that the feeling of effort increases the subsequent desire for compensation, and no support for the intrinsic reward hypothesis, which assumes that people desire less social appreciation after already having experienced success. When considered together, our results suggest that labor-related feelings (of success and effort) shape people's subsequent desire for money and social appreciation in several ways. These findings have potential implications for the effective use of performance feedback in work contexts.
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