Effects of monetary reward and punishment on information checking behaviour

Yau Wai, Simon LI, Anna L. COX, Calvin OR, Ann BLANDFORD

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-266
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Issue numberPart A
Early online date6 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • error
  • reward
  • punishmnet


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