The incentives lecture emphasized many concepts and facts that I live by everyday, but had never truly sat down and thought about. For example, motivation increases when incentive value increases. This concept applies to many aspects of life such as money, careers, school, fitness, etc. Throughout college, I have been increasingly motivated to study hard and obtain good grades by the incentive of attending a good graduate school program. As each semester passed and graduate school became more of a reality, the incentive to maintain good grades increased and so did my motivation. I also thought it was interesting to learn about melioration which is defined as an increase in participation in an activity that provides more reinforcement. Melioration can be exemplified through food choices. For instance, a person would rather eat a slice of pizza than a salad because pizza tastes better and provides a faster and greater sense of reinforcement than a salad. Eating the salad would be the healthier option, but the benefits of consuming the salad won't be obtained immediately which reflects a lower rate of reinforcement.
Furthermore, delay discounting occurs when a future incentive is presented at a discounted value. A person can decide if they want to pay an increased value to receive the incentive sooner, or wait longer to pay a decreased value. Preference reversal is the concept that represents a change in a person's preference based on discounted values. This concept reminds me of the marshmallow video we watched in class. Young children were given a marshmallow and were told that they could eat it now but they'd only get to have one marshmallow, or they could wait until the instructor came back to get two marshmallows. It also reminds me of the smaller, sooner and larger, later concept. These concepts exemplify the fact that the act of waiting for something can yield bigger and better results, but the motivation for instant gratification and reinforcement can often entice people to choose the smaller result in a shorter amount of time. Conversely, procrastination is something we are all familiar with. It is defined as the act of delaying an activity even though we know we will be worse off as a result. Many people procrastinate homework or other school-related activities which are not typically enjoyable. Although they are saving themselves from participating in an undesirable activity for a longer period of time, it usually leads to consequences such as poor grades. Lastly, intrinsic motivation is defined as behaviors that are influenced and continued by internal sources that come from within one's self. Extrinsic motivation is behavior that is reinforced by external sources such as money, approval, grades, etc. I think that both types of motivation are powerful, but intrinsic motivation is especially advantageous because it remains present even when external sources are not.