Making more than your colleagues matters more than the amount

November 23rd, 2007 - 1:00 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Nov 23 (ANI): Nothing motivates a man more than money especially if his colleagues are getting less.

The finding is based on a study conducted by economists and brain scientists at the University of Bonn.

As a part of the study, the researchers tested 38 men male subjects in pairs, asking them to perform a simple task and promising payment for success.

During this time, they kept a check on the volunteers’ brain activity using magnetic resonance tomographs.

In the experiment the participants had to lie down next to each other in parallel brain scanners. They were asked to perform the same task simultaneously. Dots appeared on a screen and they had to estimate the number being displayed. They were then told whether their answer was correct. If they had solved the task correctly, they received a financial reward, which might range from 30 to 120 euros. Each participant also learnt how his partner in the game had performed and how much he would pocket in return.

The researchers found that volunteers who got more money than their co-players showed much stronger activation in the brain’s “reward centre” than occurred when both players received the same amount. The reward system is activated when an individual has an experience he considers worth aspiring to.

“We registered enhanced activity in various parts of their brains during the test. One area in particular, the ventral striatum, is the region where part of what we call the ‘reward system’ is located,” explains the Bonn neuroscientist Dr. Bernd Weber.

The next step was taking a closer look at those cases in which both players estimated the number of points correctly. They found that those individuals who were given a higher reward tended to be more motivated.

This finding, say the researchers, contradicts the traditional economic theory that assumes that the only important factor is the absolute size of the reward. The comparison with other people’s rewards shouldn’t really play any role in economic motivation.

Researchers now want to conduct a similar study on women to see whether this theory applies to them too,

The study is published in the academic journal Science. (ANI)

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