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Effects of monetary reward and punishment on information checking behaviour
Applied Ergonomics
  • Yau Wai, Simon LI, Lingnan University
  • Anna L. COX, University College London
  • Calvin OR, University of Hong Kong
  • Ann BLANDFORD, University College London
Document Type
Journal article
Publication Date
Pergamon Press
  • Error,
  • Reward,
  • Punishment

Two experiments were conducted to examine whether checking one's own work can be motivated by monetary reward and punishment. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: a flat-rate payment for completing the task (Control); payment increased for error-free performance (Reward); payment decreased for error performance (Punishment). Experiment 1 (N = 90) was conducted with liberal arts students, using a general data-entry task. Experiment 2 (N = 90) replicated Experiment 1 with clinical students and a safety-critical ‘cover story’ for the task. In both studies, Reward and Punishment resulted in significantly fewer errors, more frequent and longer checking, than Control. No such differences were obtained between the Reward and Punishment conditions. It is concluded that error consequences in terms of monetary reward and punishment can result in more accurate task performance and more rigorous checking behaviour than errors without consequences. However, whether punishment is more effective than reward, or vice versa, remains inconclusive.

Funding Information
This work was supported by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council under Early Career Scheme (LU342912). {LU342912}
Publisher Statement
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd and The Ergonomics Society. All rights reserved. Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.
Full-text Version
Publisher’s Version
Citation Information
Li, S. Y. W., Cox, A. L., Or, C., & Blandford, A. (2016). Effects of monetary reward and punishment on information checking behavior. Applied Ergonomics, 53(Part A), 258-266. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2015.10.012