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Why people risk more money for uncertain rewards

Washington: Researchers in new study have established that uncertainty increased resource investment in the process of reward pursuit.

The team of scientists from University of Hong Kong noted in their study that the concept that uncertainty can be more motivating than certainty is counterintuitive. These findings are useful for marketers, policymakers, managers and others who design incentives to motivate people.

Researchers made two groups for bidding on auctions similar to those on eBay. One group focused on the actual bidding process while the other was focused on the outcome.

Researchers found that those who focused on the process risked more money for uncertain rewards, enjoyed the whole experience more and felt more excitement than the other bidders.

Professors Ayelet Fishbach and Christopher K. Hsee of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Luxi Shen compared the time, money and effort that people put into winning a certain reward versus an uncertain reward, and found that the uncertain reward was more motivating.

The study was published in the Journal of Consumer Research.

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