Drive by Daniel Pink

12 minute affiliate marketing

Leave it to Dan Pink to inform us that everything we need to know about human behaviour can be gleaned from a monkey trying to open a simple latch lock. Uplifting. But also leave it to Dan Pink to have us re-examine an assumption that’s fundamentally wrong – like people can be motivated by rewards and punishments. Maybe we do deserve to be ruled by apes after all.

Apes and Harlow

A long time ago (1949) there was this dude named Harry F Harlow, and he thought it would be interesting to see what would happen if he placed a lock in the closed position in a cage with a monkey. Life of the party, this guy was. What happened almost immediately shocked him – they started to play with and figure out the puzzle. Over and over again, they would solve the puzzle, getting very good at it over a span of a couple of weeks.

What’s surprising about this is that they were given no external rewards or punishments to elicit this behaviour, which ran contrary to the prevailing wisdom the time. After all, there were only two drives that could explain behaviour (primate or otherwise) – a biological drive, where we’ll do anything to stay alive and satisfy our carnal urges. We’ll call this Motivation 1.0.

Whoops! This content is locked.image/svg+xml
Unlock this exclusive content by using one of the sharing buttons below.

sign up for 5-minute marketing hacks every week