Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Alyce M. Dickinson

Second Advisor

Dr. Jack Michael

Third Advisor

Dr. John Austin

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Robert Brinkerhoff


This study examined the effects of an individual incentive system with and without feedback in order to determine if feedback supplements the effects of incentives. Participants were seven college students who performed a computerized work task called SYNWORK. SYNWORK presented four sub-tasks concurrently: memory, arithmetic, visual monitoring and auditory monitoring. Participants earned points for correct responses. Dependent variables were the total number of points earned, percent correct, and time-on-task. An ABAC within-subject reversal design was used with A = individual monetary incentives without feedback, B = individual monetary incentives with end-of-session feedback, and C = hourly pay with end-of session feedback. Sessions were 90 minutes, and there were 5 to 10 sessions per condition, depending upon how long it took performance to stabilize.

The point scores of all seven participants increased when feedback was added to the incentive system but, for six, stabilized or continued to increase when feedback was removed. In addition, the point scores of all seven were higher when participants received incentives with feedback than when they received base pay with feedback and, for six, higher when they received incentives without feedback than when they received base pay with feedback. The time spent performing each of the sub-tasks was affected by condition, indicating that the incentives affected the distribution of work activities. Accuracy was high regardless of condition.

The data suggest that feedback enhances the effectiveness of monetary incentives. Performance did not reverse when feedback was removed, however. Feedback may evoke higher levels of performance that are then maintained by additional extant rewards. Nonetheless, because performance did not reverse, this interpretation must be viewed cautiously.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access