Pink's Researchers

Research

Harry Harlow Monkey Experiment

1950

o Year: 1949 (performed study) 1950 (published)
o Who: Harlow + 2 colleagues
o Method: Devised a simple mechanical puzzle for 8 rhesus monkeys to solve; left this puzzle inside monkeys’ cage with no prompt of getting them to solve it for 2 weeks then tested them at the end of two weeks
o Results: monkeys started solving puzzles with focus, determination, and enjoyment; by the time testing happened, the monkeys solved the puzzle frequently and quickly; 2/3 of the time they cracked the code in less than 60 seconds
o Implication: There exists a “third drive” -> “”performance of the task provided intrinsic award

Harry Harlow Repeat Monkey Experiment

1953

o Year: 1953
o Who: Harlow + 2 colleagues
o Method: Same method as the previous experiment, but monkeys were rewarded when they solved the puzzle with raisins, the theory was that with reward, the monkeys would perform better
o Results: Monkeys made more errors and solved the puzzles less frequently
o Implications: The third drive is just as strong and basic as other drives

Edward Deci Some Puzzle Experiment

1971

o Year: Summer 1969 (performed) 1971/1972 (published)
o Who: Deci
o Study: Tested how well people put together the Soma puzzle cube with or without rewards
o Method: divided participants, male and female university students, into experimental (group A) and control (group B) groups. Takes place in one hour sessions over 3 consecutive days
• During the 3 sessions, participants must solve Soma puzzle pieces into the given configurations
• Group A got paid only on day 2, group B did not get paid at all
• During all 3 days, after matching 2 pictures out of 3, Deci steps out of the room stating he’s going to get a fourth drawing but he really goes into another room to observe the participant
o Results:
• Day 1: no difference in performance between groups; the participants played with the puzzles after Deci left for around 3 to 4 minutes
• Day 2: Group B was the same; Group A played with the puzzle for +5 minutes
• Day 3: Group B played with the puzzle a little longer than usual; Group A played with the puzzle even less -> only around 2 minutes
o Implications: Rewards intensified interest and enhanced performance

Edward Deci & Richard Ryan Reanalysis of Findings

1999

o Year: 1999
o Who: Deci + 2 colleagues
o Study: reanalyzed ~30 years of findings to confirm that extrinsic rewards “snuffed” out the 3rd drive
o Results: When the short term goal is focused to control people’s behavior it damages the long term goal; external rewards undermine intrinsic motivation

Carol Dweck Performance v. Learning Goal Experiment

1999

o Who: Dweck
o Year: 1999
o Method: asked junior high students to learn a set of scientific principles, divided group into 2 halves. One half got a performance goal and the other half got a learning goal. After learning the principles, asked to apply them to a different set of problems
o Results: Those who had a learning goal did much better on the evaluation and they worked longer and tried different solutions

Carol Dweck Fixed v. Growth Mindset Experiment

1999

o Who: Dweck
o Year: 1999
o Method: Gave fifth and sixth grade students 8 conceptual problems they could solve and 4 they couldn’t
o Results: Fixed mindset kids gave up; those with more expansive mindset made creative strategies for a solution despite difficulty
o Implications: Setbacks are inevitable and are feedback for expansive mindsets

Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi Necessity of Flow Experiment

2000

o Year: early 1970s; published in 2000
o Study: Asked people to record all the things they did that were “noninstrumental” – things they did because they enjoyed them; after figuring out those actions, he asked the participants to not do those actions for a consecutive period of days
o Results: Increased slugglishness in behavior and difficulty concentrating was observed during the days the noninstrumental actions were not performed
o Implications: Flow is a necessity to survive

Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi Self-Beeper Experiment

2000

o Year: after mid 1970s and the inventing of the pager; 2000 (published)
o Study: Asked graduate students to randomly beep in several times each day; at every beep he recorded what he was doing and how he felt
o Results: Lead to the flow theory

Richard Ryan Self-Determination Theory

2000

o Year: 2000
o One of the theories he came up with = self-determination theory (SDT)
• It states we have innate psychological needs (competence, autonomy, relatedness) and when these needs are satisfied, we’re motivated, productive and happy

Edward Deci & Richard Ryan Intrinsic Motivation and Dull Tasks

2001

o Year: 2001
o Who: Deci, Ryan, and Koestner
o Implications: “rewards do not undermine people’s intrinsic motivation for dull tasks because there is little or no intrinsic motivation to be undermined”
• This is because routine tasks aren’t very interesting and don’t need creative thinking so rewards provide small motivation without damage to the long term goal

Edward Deci & Richard Ryan Autonomy Experiment

2004

o Who: Deci, Ryan, and Paul Baard
o Study: At an American investment bank, bosses took on employee’s POV and gave good feedback and various options
o Results: Greater job satisfaction from employees whose boss offered “autonomy support” and higher job satisfaction = higher performance

Angela Duckworth West Point Grit Experiment

2007

o Year: 2007
o Grit = perseverance and passion for long term goals
o Who: Duckworth + colleagues from U of Pennsylvania and U of Michigan
o Wanted to understand why some students continued toward military mastery but some did not
o Found that grit was the best predictor of success
o Implications: Mastery is pain

Edward Deci & Richard Ryan Profit v. Purpose Goals

2009

o Who: Deci, Ryan, and Christopher Niemic
o Study: Asked a sample of soon to be graduates about their life goals then followed up with them early in their careers
o Results: Students had “profit goals” and “purpose goals” -> those with purpose goals reported higher levels of satisfaction, subjective well-being, low levels of anxiety and depression compared to college; those with profit goals, if attained, no change in happiness but increase in anxiety, depression, and other negative factors