Does making work seem fun motivate everyone?



For fun-loving slackers, it works just fine.

For people who are hard-working strivers, framing a task as fun makes them perform worse.

Via Brain Trust: 93 Top Scientists Reveal Lab-Tested Secrets to Surfing, Dating, Dieting, Gambling, Growing Man-Eating Plants, and More!:

So making a fun-motivated person aware of an achievement context makes this person do even worse than he would naturally do. You can’t push a slacker to succeed.

The reverse is true too: “If you frame a task as fun, achievers do worse,” says Albarracin, “which is really depressing.”

The implications are obvious: If you want fun-motivated students or workers (slackers!) to achieve, frame an activity as “so much fun!” rather than in the language of winning, losing, and striving. Likewise, if you know that you’re one of these slackers and have a big project coming up, find a way to think of it as fun. If the task is simply horrible enough to preclude masking it with fun, Albarracin suggests using a “get your work done so you can play” mind-set. This allows fun to remain the goal, while ensuring slackers get their work done too.

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