IRF Releases Findings from Biometric Experiment on Response to Non-Cash Rewards

Share Article

The Incentive Research Foundation is pleased to release Conscious and Unconscious Reward Preference & Choice: A Biometric Experiment. This groundbreaking report details the findings from a first-of-a-kind experiment in the field of rewards and recognition that used biometric techniques to measure response to cash and non-cash rewards.

News Image
The experiment provides scientific support of the prevailing belief held by motivation professionals that non-cash rewards can be more effective in driving performance than cash rewards.

The Incentive Research Foundation is pleased to release Conscious and Unconscious Reward Preference & Choice: A Biometric Experiment. This groundbreaking report details the findings from a first-of-a-kind experiment in the field of rewards and recognition that used biometric techniques to measure response to cash and non-cash rewards.

The experiment provides scientific support of the prevailing belief held by motivation professionals that non-cash rewards can be more effective in driving performance than cash rewards.

“This is a fascinating study, and the IRF is excited that the experiment confirms the research findings in the 2015 Landmark Study in which the majority of survey participants displayed a preference for non-cash rewards when the entire experience was considered,” said Melissa Van Dyke, IRF President. “When rewards were made salient and multiple non-cash reward options were made available, 62% of the subjects chose a non-cash reward over an equivalent cash reward.”

In the experiment, the reward preferences of 42 subjects were assessed using biometric and facial coding techniques ranging from eye tracking and galvanic skin response to fixation time and measures of aversion and attraction. Responses were assessed at both the immediate, reflexive unconscious level as well as after consideration and cognitive thinking on the conscious level.

The experiment provided a powerful new model for understanding why noncash awards can be more innately motivating. Key findings include:

  • Conscious reward choice does not often match unconscious reward preference.
  • At an unconscious level, people are overwhelmingly drawn to non-cash rewards over cash.
  • Almost two-thirds of subjects ultimately chose a non-cash reward after engaging in cognitive thinking on the conscious level.
  • Cash was not intrinsically more motivating than other types of chosen rewards.

The IRF will release additional findings from the biometric experiment measuring response to cash and non-cash rewards in December.

To view or download a copy of Conscious and Unconscious Reward Preference & Choice: A Biometric Experiment, please visit http://theirf.org/research/conscious-and-unconscious-reward-preference-choice-a-biometric-experiment/2328/

About the IRF:
The Incentive Research Foundation (TheIRF.org) funds and promotes research to advance the science and enhance the awareness and appropriate application of motivation and incentives in business and industry globally. The goal is to increase the understanding, effective use, and resultant benefits of incentives to businesses that currently use incentives and others interested in improved performance.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Andy Schwarz
Visit website