Interesting article from the NYTimes:
"We replicated these results in a study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where undergraduate students were offered the chance to earn a high bonus ($600) or a lower one ($60) by performing one task that called for some cognitive skill (adding numbers) and another one that required only a mechanical skill (tapping a key as fast as possible). We found that as long as the task involved only mechanical skill, bonuses worked as would be expected: the higher the pay, the better the performance. But when we included a task that required even rudimentary cognitive skill, the outcome was the same as in the India study: the offer of a higher bonus led to poorer performance.Maybe discourage is not the right word. Distract might be a better fit.
"If our tests mimic the real world, then higher bonuses may not only cost employers more but also discourage executives from working to the best of their ability."