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Bribery + Vegetables = Success

Does bribing kids work? The debate rages on, although Levitt has done it effectively on at least one occasion. A new study (summarized by the BPS Research Digest) suggests that bribery can work wonders, at least when it comes to vegetables. Over a two-week period, a team of researchers (Lucy J. Cooke, Lucy C. Chambers, Elizabeth V. Añez, Helen A. Croker, David Boniface, Martin R. Yeomans and Jane Wardle) rewarded kids stickers or verbal praise for eating vegetables they weren’t very fond of. “After the two-week period, all the intervention children showed equal increases in their liking of their target vegetable compared with the control children,” explains the BPS Digest. “However, when given the chance to eat as much of it as they wanted (knowing there was no chance of reward), the kids who had previously earned stickers chose to eat more than the kids who’d just been repeatedly exposed to the vegetable without reward.” Importantly, the results were long-lasting: “At one- and three-month follow-up, the intervention children’s increased liking of their target vegetable was sustained regardless of the specific condition they’d been in. However, in terms of increased consumption (when given the opportunity to eat their target vegetable, knowing no reward would be forthcoming), only the sticker and verbal praise children showed sustained increases.” [%comments]