feedback and motivation
I listened to a portion of a podcast with a neurobiology researcher who was talking about the chemistry of motivation.Motivation is coupled to rewards. Attention and feedback from people you respect is a kind of reward. When you give feedback to a person you have a relationship with, you want to increase or sustain their motivation. Imagine 3 types of rewards.
Reward. You did great. Congratulations. I loved that.
Punishment. You screwed up. Take something away. Take some anticipation of reward away.
The one you hang out in front of somebody at a distance; a carrot on a stick. It is not reward for an accomplishment. It's a reward in anticipation of if they accomplish something.
“Z, I love how you did that half. The next time you xx if you also did yy…”. That's not a punishment. You're not saying it sucked because it didn't include yy. You're not saying it wasn't great. You're saying, “if next time you were to do yy I think it would be even better.”; so you're hanging a potential reward out in front.
Elements of uncertainty raise our attention. In terms of building habits and setting goals, visualizing failure is a better motivator than visualizing success if you want to get people to start. Getting people to continue on the path and exceed previous performance requires rewards at milestones.
When you hit a milestone you want to celebrate, internal more so than external. The participant(s) should recognize and enjoy it.
Every once in a while you want to not get a reward. This is called intermittent reinforcement. A study published in 2019 suggests rewarding about 85% of the time.Occasionally reducing the impact of rewards or not celebrating keeps the dopamine system in check and avoids the big crash that follows reward response. It keeps you on the path of higher goals.
You want to be judicious and careful about punishment. It’s easy to reduce motivation by punishing when it isn’t called for. But when it’s needed it is part of being a good friend, colleague, or leader to call out when something isn’t right.
Dr. Andrew Huberman is a Professor of Neurobiology and Ophthalmology at Stanford University. How to Increase Motivation and Drive is a podcast episode that runs 1 hour and 25 minutes. A third-party website also provides this summary and outline (try an incognito tab if you get paywalled).
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-12552-4 is a study on optimal training accuracy in artificial neural networks. The authors also suggest parallels to human neural networks.