Friday, 5 July 2013

Do Rewards Crush Creative Thinking?

A couple of weeks ago Lulu sent me a very interesting video. Basically, the guy experimented with classes of kids. First he gave the kids a piece of paper with a triangle on it, he told them that if the completed the picture correctly they would get a reward (extra points I believe) but didn't tell them what the correct picture looked like. They were also given a full pack of pens and had the choice of which ever they liked.

I gave Ebi-kun this piece of paper, his reward, if he got it correct, would be a candy.

He pondered for a while on what the correct answer must be, then drew this.

Then, in the experiment, the kids were given another piece of paper with the same triangle on it but this time told they can draw whatever they like. There was no reward incentive. I did the same with Ebi-kun and this was the second drawing.....

Interesting! Even more so when you watch the video and see what the other kids in the experiment did....

That leads me back to the original question. Do rewards crush creative thinking? I believe they do, there is the argument that rewards are motivational but I am not convinced that they are, or should I say, maybe they are for some people but certainly not for all. I am including myself in the last group. 
I don't think the experiment was set up that well, not for proper scientific purposes but it does have an interesting conclusion that I think should be looked at more deeply.
I am interested to know what happens with your kids if you do this experiment, if you do it, please come back and let me know how it went!

So, what do you think? Do rewards crush creative thinking? let me know in the comments section below...
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