Riding Life!

Riding Life!
Life is like a wild horse--Unless you ride it, it will ride you! (from the movie: "Princess of Thieves.")

Thursday, November 22, 2012

C: How Much Reward is Required?

My now-calendar rewardsgrown son likes to remind me of a “scam” we used to run on him when he was young.  We put a special calendar up on the wall just to record his good behavior.  He would earn one of those gummed gold stars on the calendar for each of several specified good deeds.

He now tells us that he paid great attention to the opportunity to fill gummed starsthose little calendar squares up with the shiny stars.  It caused him to eat way more green beans than he would otherwise have eaten (which would have been none).  It was responsible for many more beds made without asking.  It just, generally, served to achieve parental purposes at very little cost to Dad and me.

Son now says (good naturedly), “I can’t believe I fell for that!  All that effort for a stupid star!”

And we both wonder why it worked like it did.

I was reminded of this the other day bejeweledas I played my latest time-waste game on my I-Pad – Bedazzled.  I become mesmerized by this game, trying to line up like “jewels” so that they will pop and go away, others dropping in their place.

If I am good enough, I get “special” jewels that sparkle or seem to be on fire.  These make a spectacular fireworks display when they are discharged by lining them up with others like them.bejeweled 2

If I’m really good, I get a message, like the “Excellent” shown in this picture.  It is always such a thrill to get this message of encouragement.

And, let’s don’t forget the points!  You get points for lining up like jewels so that they pop and disappear.  And you get even more points for the “special jewels.”

And all this counts for what?  Nothing, that’s what.  It reminds me of the gold-star scam, above.  It makes me wonder about the psychology of reward and what’s really required for our brain to see something as rewardsa reward.  Surely, it isn’t only identifiable return…

I’ve said it before:  It takes so little to amuse me.

Kind of embarrassing when you think about it. - C

PS – don’t take this as some declaration that I’ll quit this time-waste game…

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10 comments:

Kim said...

I totally get it! I'm addicted to bejeweled blitz on the iPad.
P.S. those dinky little reward tricks still are effective in the workplace. (Please don't tell my staff)

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

I've never even heard of these games before!
I "earned" stars many years ago when I was 5 yrs. old for memorizing little poems for speech therapy! I was truly motivated to get one of those stars next to the poem in my workbook (which I found recently). I haven't seen them in ages--wonder if they still make them.

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Forgot so sign off as Cowgirl V!

Joolz said...

I love Bejewelled!

Hey C & V - I've been trying to imagine what your names are:

Cathy & Vanessa
Cora & Virginia
Charlene & Valmae
Carina & Valentina
Calliope & Verlene
Candace & Valda
Charlotte & Violet
Cinnamon & Velvet

Am I close?? Lol!

Sandra said...

Because I've met you and know your names, I enjoyed reading Joolz imaginings of what your names might be. I especially like the last one and think you should change your names to Cinnamon and Velvet. Cinnamon seems to fit your personality C -- adding a little spice or "kick" wherever you go -- always trying to make things better for others. And Velvet for V seems to fit her too -- sweet and very girly -- and always wanting to make others comfortable. (And, in that vein of descriptive names, you could call me "Sleepy". 'Nuf said.) Thanks for sparking my imagination early in the morning, Joolz.

Vee said...

Oh I remember that game...it's fun. My grands earn stars that translate to currency that can be spent at "The Family Store." They have such fun shopping there every Saturday morning. They have to earn tons of points to buy even one little pack of M&Ms. At least those stars count for something! ☺

KathyB. said...

Ha ha ! I just can't seem to be excited or motivated by games of any sort, and I am boring to take to the casinos. I simply don't care to play the games, but will pass the time with pennies while my sisters play away.But give me awards based on other things ( like county fair winnings) and I am gung-ho.

I think we're all wired to strive for goals with "rewards' as the prize. It's just all good when what we find rewarding is of some value to others. Playing the games like 'Bedazzled' seems to give some people I know the ability to turn away from stress, and unwind in the mindlessness, be rewarded, be happy. Win / win don't you think?

Vickie said...

oh I don't know - I think your little stars were motivation and reward for a job well done. Kids need something to work towards. I had things like that for my kids. I did have a little cash for them when they got older. I mean when we're adults we work to earn a salary. Same thing. Of course, there's always just the feeling of satisfaction of a job well done. But, "whatever works" works for me, too!

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

I'm thinking that little star represents "praise" and we humans will do a LOT towards that goal of receiving praise for a job well done.

V

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