Rewards & Incentives: We’re Built to Love Them

There’s no argument that being rewarded for something typically results in a positive experience especially if the reward is instant and in some form of currency. While this may be obvious to some, the happy feeling that is associated with receiving a reward is more than just that, it’s based on the principle of pleasure.

It’s Science.

So what is pleasure and why does it matter? The nucleus accumbens is the part of the brain where pleasure is created, a process which is also known as the reward circuit. When this part of the brain is triggered by a stimulus, like receiving a reward, it creates a shot of dopamine which is sparked by the neurotransmitters in our brains. The dopamine shot is experienced in a variety of ways which leaves an imprint on our brains reminding us to repeat the behavior that earned the reward.

Anticipation is everything.

Surprisingly, the reward circuit does not activate when a reward is received but when the anticipation of the reward is present. What creates the pleasure-seeking behavior is the desire to alleviate the craving for the dopamine trigger. This means that the brain forms a bond between the external stimulus (rewards) and the internal trigger (behavior) that is associated with the stimulus.

Positive Reinforcement

So now that we understand how our brains process pleasure, how do we reap the benefits of reward impact? From employee engagement, customer engagement/loyalty, referrals, to health and wellness – there’s a lot of room for rewards. Increase your ROI in many areas across the board by offering interesting perks that are simple and cost effective. If you’re interested in implementing digital rewards, including bulk gifts for employees, into your program, please fill out this form for more information.

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