When does money help you remember?

In a new article, Kou Murayama and Christof Kuhbandner write:

Money’s ability to enhance memory has received increased attention in recent research. However, previous studies have not directly addressed the time-dependent nature of monetary effects on memory, which are suggested to exist by research in cognitive neuroscience, and the possible detrimental effects of monetary rewards on learning interesting material, as indicated by studies in motivational psychology. By utilizing a trivia question paradigm, the current study incorporated these perspectives and examined the effect of monetary rewards on immediate and delayed memory performance for answers to uninteresting and interesting questions. Results showed that monetary rewards promote memory performance only after a delay. In addition, the memory enhancement effect of monetary rewards was only observed for uninteresting questions. These results are consistent with both the hippocampus-dependent memory consolidation model of reward learning and previous findings documenting the ineffectiveness of monetary rewards on tasks that have intrinsic value.

The pointer is from Michael Rosenwald, who recently published The Silent Season of a Hero: The Sports Writing of Gay Talese.


So, the reason I've forgotten so much recently is because the Fed isn't targeting NGDP? Is this a clever move to bring Scott Sumner out of retirement.

One of the densest, most unreadable abstracts that I read recently. Bravo!

I liked "By utilizing a trivia question paradigm"

I think they mean "we used trivia questions"

I wonder how this ties to wages and productivity... It seems to contrast with the conclusion of this overview (http://www.slate.com/id/2288377/), that wage increases do not encourage higher productivity over the long term. If monetary rewards only aid memory for uninteresting information over the long term, then why do monetary rewards only aid productivity in uninteresting tasks in the short term? I'm assuming an implicit correlation between memory retention and productivity in that each would seem to require a certain amount of engagement, focus, and effort to achieve. It's puzzling to me that the same external input would support better performance in one and not the other.

The Kou study says " Results showed that monetary rewards promote memory performance **only after a delay.**"

The Slate study (library data entry) you mention was short-term without any delay. The Slate article seems to say, long term productivity benefits from wage rise. e.g. the Ford example.

Are you mis-interpreting the study?

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