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C. The Downside of Getting Paid to Do What You Love

Narrator: This is Science Today. It may seem counterintuitive, but getting paid to do something that you enjoy can actually make you enjoy it less. Ariel Malka of the University of California, Berkeley's Institute of Personality and Social Research, says that getting paid for an enjoyable task makes people question why they're doing it and undermines their feelings of autonomy.

Malka: Past research has shown that if you give people an enjoyable task to do and then pay some of them for doing it, those who get paid for doing the task will actually report less enjoyment of the task subsequently and they'll be less likely to do it for enjoyment reasons.

Narrator: This reaction reflects people's dislike for feeling as though they've been coaxed into the task for the reward. It could also explain why people who are highly paid, but chose their job for non-money related reasons, are dissatisfied.

Malka: We think that maybe on a larger scale what might be going on among people high in intrinsic orientation who have higher paying jobs. That is the money sort of causes them to question why they're working that job and this threatens their feelings of autonomy. And this in turn, has implications for their wellbeing.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.