Does Pizza Make You Work Harder?

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BOSTON, MA (WBZ-AM) -- As regular listeners here know, I’m skeptical about academic studies.

No offense to our academic listeners, and I’m sure some of them are totally valid.

But you know the drill – a study comes out insisting that eating something is bad for you. Then, like dealing with the weather in New England, you wait a minute, and the verdict changes.

Suddenly, eating that thing is the best thing for you.

So it’s with major eye-rolling that I tell you about a study by a psychologist named Dan Ariely described in his book “Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations.”

According to the Hartford Courant, he offered four groups of factory workers at the same plant four different performance bonuses – one group got $30, the second got a compliment from their manager, a third got pizza, and the fourth group got nothing.

What was the best motivator?

The pizza.

Those employees were 6.7 percent more productive.

Are you buying that? I’m not so sure.

I like pizza as much as the next guy, but for $30 you can buy three pretty good pizzas, not settle for splitting a few with your co-workers, who may or may not be hand-washing regularly.

If you make your own pizza at home, that $30 could buy you several weeks worth.

Compliments can also be valuable if they are a harbinger of promotion or pay raises.

And in some ways, nothing might be the most useful incentive of all – if what you get for working hard is nothing, you know you’d better start looking for another job.

I’d like to see this study refined and tried again.

After all, you know the old saying: give me a pizza and you make my day – show me how to make my own and you make the world go ‘round.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. Listen to his previous podcasts on iHeartRadio. 

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Keller @ Large

Keller @ Large

Jon Keller is a WBZ TV & Radio political analyst. Read more

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