Words Speak Louder Than Money is the title of a study completed earlier this year.
Its conclusion (at least my understanding of its conclusion) is that providing gifts can often been seen by the recipient as as sign that we are expecting something back in return. Giving messages, on the other hand, are much more effective at building trust because it is not as easily interpreted as we want something back. Of course, we need to be careful about the kind of messages we send — you might want to see The Best Resources For Learning How To Best Give Feedback To Students.
It’s just another take on why typical incentives can backfire. In fact, the beginning of the paper cites a number of studies that are new to me on how they can harm intrinsic motivation.
I’m adding this post to My Best Posts On “Motivating” Students.
Thanks to Barking Up The Wrong Tree for the tip.