TP 8: Motivational States and Incentives

Principal Investigator: Anja Achtziger

Research Team: Jonas Ludwig

Research on economic decision making has shown that increasing monetary incentives does not always improve decision-making performance (and sometimes even impairs it). We observed in previous research that different motivational states affect decision making, sometimes surprisingly more than increasing monetary incentives. This impact can go in opposite directions. While certain motivational states seem to lead to more rational behavior, others can result in strong deviations from rationality. Whether the influence of motivational states and monetary incentives on decision making is based on automatic or controlled processes is unclear. We will explore this question by manipulating different motivational states and comparing their effects on economic decision making. By testing the impact of motivational states and incentives on processes of economic decision making, we will investigate whether or not there are defaults that rely on automatic processes and are thus implemented immediately, quickly, unconsciously, and without much effort (Alós-Ferrer and Strack, 2014). Crucially, we will examine whether these defaults can be controlled by motivational states at all or whether they are too robust to be changed. If they can be influenced, the question will be whether controlled processes of decision making are absolutely necessary or whether some motivational states can trigger automatic processes interfering with the default mode. We also study gender effects in motivation.


Working Papers

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