Research that Evaluates the Affect of Various Types of Reward and Punishment Systems

These articles present different types of reward and punishment systems in place and how they affect child motivation. These articles suggest that reward systems could have detrimental effects on child motivation and may focus more on penalties for bad behavior rather than encouraging good behavior. These articles recommend that focusing of positive feedback and moving away from tradition rewards and punishment systems may improve school climate, child motivation, and overall class enjoyment.

  1. Deci, E. L., Koestner, R., & Ryan, R. M. (1999). A meta-analytic review of experiments examining the effects of extrinsic rewards on intrinsic motivation. Psychological bulletin, 125(6), 627-668. This meta-analysis demonstrated that rewards could have detrimental effects on motivation in children.
  2. O’Shea, P., & O’Shea, G. (2011). A curriculum design approach which creates increased opportunity. In Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference 2011: Developing engineers for social justice: Community involvement, ethics & sustainability 5-7 December 2011, Fremantle, Western Australia (p. 94). Engineers Australia. This study incorporated Montessori principles (e.g., no rewards/punishment or grades and creating a problem solving environment) in an Electrical Engineering course. Students reported enjoying learning in the class.
  3. Ching, G. S. (2012). Looking into the issues of rewards and punishment in students. International Journal of Research Studies in Psychology, 1(2), 29-38. This study showed that rewards and punishment tend to focus more on penalties for bad behavior rather than encouraging good behavior and enhancing motivation. Students tended to associate rewards with school work and penalties to their behavior.
  4. Bear, G. G. (2009). The positive in positive models of discipline. Handbook of positive psychology in schools, 305-321. In this book chapter, Bear (2009) states that a positive approach to school discipline should not use rewards and punishment; instead the focus should be on supportive feedback, including verbal recognition for positive behavior.
  5. Hoffman, L. L., Hutchinson, C. J., & Reiss, E. (2009). On improving school climate: Reducing reliance on rewards and punishment. International Journal of Whole Schooling, 5(1), 13-24. This study showed that school climate can be improved by not relying on rewards and punishment.