In the world of research, psychologists have always wondered whether penalizing the wrong-doers will work more efficiently or rewarding the right-doers.
Like, you need to pay fine if you reach late to office (penalizing). Or, if you reach on time for 20 days, you will get one vacation day (rewarding).
Like, you are prohibited from entering the classroom if you are late (penalizing). Or, you get to decide the theme of your project first if you have been punctual during the semester. (Rewarding)
In life, we usually see more penalties than rewards. But is it actually the most efficient way? Shall we not get something out of following the rules rigorously?
To answer this question, Volkswagen did an exciting experiment in Sweden.
They installed a road-side camera on one of the signals which records the speed of the cars passing by.
If the speed of a vehicle is beyond the speed limit, they will get a ticket in their mail and will have to pay the fine.
This is not unique. Right?
Then hear me out. They added one fantastic catch.
The drivers who were within the speed limit also got a mail next day. It consisted of a Thank you letter and an offer to be part of the lottery. The grand prize is the money that is collected from the fines.
Do you think the campaign work? Did the drivers become more observant of their speeds or it was just same as earlier?
Well, the result was that- before this experiment started, the average speed on this part of the road was 20 miles per hour. But during the experiment, the speed reduced by 22% and reached to just 15 miles per hour.
Seeing this amazing result, the Swedish National Society extended similar campaign to a few more areas along the national highways.
That’s it for today.
Also, the purpose of this is not to generalize the idea that rewarding works better than penalizing. But in many cases, it can.
-ArjunaAtWar (Parth Shah)
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