This week on the Behavior Change Podcast, Lirio host Greg Stielstra speaks with Sara Dadkhah, Behavioral Researcher at Irrational Labs about the two types of incentives, intrinsic and extrinsic, and common misconceptions about what works and doesn’t work when it comes to motivating people to change their behavior.

About Our Guest

Sara Dadkhah is a Behavioral Researcher at Irrational Labs, an organization that uses behavioral economics to design and test products that help people with their health, wealth, and happiness. She is an instructor at the Irrational Labs Behavioral Economics Bootcamp, which provides an immersive course in economics and psychology, so attendees can learn how to build viable, market-ready products that anticipate customer behavior. Sara also has deep expertise in the area of incentives — the subject of our podcast episode.

Episode Discussion

This episode of the Behavior Change Podcast focuses on how to leverage intrinsic and extrinsic incentives for maximum results. Intrinsic incentives are personally rewarding, while extrinsic incentives involve earning a reward or avoiding punishment.

A few things we explore in the episode discussion:

  • How over-justification can cause extrinsic incentives to backfire. This is when people start to perceive a behavior as negative because they had to be incentivized to complete it.
  • How amplifying intrinsic rewards, such as increasing the relevance helps people see the bigger-picture, long-term value of their actions.
  • How employees may respond to loss aversion incentives, whereby they must achieve performance goals to avoid losing money.
  • How testing assumptions and asking employees for feedback can provide guidance for employers creating incentive programs.
  • How seeking the advice of a behavioral scientist can help an employer implement an incentive program that changes employee behavior.

Listen Here

Check out “The Surprising Ways Incentives Don’t Work, And the Alternatives That Do” on the Behavior Change Podcast to hear the full conversation.

Stay tuned for more episodes on the many factors that impact behavior change.

And, to learn more about why extrinsic, monetary incentives can’t fully solve challenges around employee health resource utilization, read our blog post “Drive Employee Behavior Change to Increase Health Resource Utilization.”


Listen to the Podcast


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