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We’ll take a slice of pepperoni please!

Meghan Overdeep
March 15, 2018

The key to motivating someone could be a simple as the promise of warm, gooey slice of pizza.

This game-changing discovery was made by psychologist Dan Ariely, and he explains it in his book Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations. Ariely conducted an experiment on four separate groups of employees at an Intel semiconductor factory in Israel. In exchange for increased productivity, one group was offered a bonus of about $30, another pizza, another a rare compliment from their boss, and the last group was offered nothing. Surprisingly (or perhaps not) Ariely found that pizza, even more than the cash and compliments, was the biggest initial motivator.

According to The Cut, the promise of pizza increased productivity by a whopping 6.7% on the first day, followed closely by the employees who were promised compliments, who increased their productivity by 6.6%. The monitery bonus, with an increase of just 4.9%, turned out to be the worst motivator.

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The success of the pizza group dropped off as the weeklong study continued, and the most productive group ended up being the one that received compliments. In his book, Ariely wrote that he believes that pizza would have been the overall winner if he had been able to include home delivery in the deal. “This way… we not only would give them a gift, but we would also make them heroes in the eyes of their families,” he explained.

So money isn’t everything after all!