Punished by rewards

Punished by rewards is an interesting book by Alfie Kohn.

here a short edited excerpt from the book to the question, at what, exactly, are reward effective?

..reinforcements do not generally alter the attitudes and emotional commitments that underlie our behaviors. They do not make deep, lasting changes because they are aimed at affecting only what we do. If you think that actions reflect and emerge from who a person is (what she thinks and feels, expect and wills), then interventions that just control actions wouldn’t be expected to help a child grow into a generous person or even help an adult decide to lose weight.

What rewards and punishments do is to induce compliance, and this they do very well indeed. If your objective is to get people to obey an order, to show up on time and do what they’re told, then bribing or threatening them may be sensibel strategies. But if your objective is to get long-term quality in the workplace, to help students become careful thinkers and self-directed learners, or to support children in developing good values, then rewards, like punishments, are absolutely useless. In fact, as we are beginning to see, they are worse than useless – they are actually counterproductive.

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