The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
3 Points

What triggers a stronger response to a situation: Fear or Reward

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/19/2014 Category: People
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 924 times Debate No: 55032
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




What I am asking is would you work harder towards a goal if your actions were stimulated through fear or reward.
I believe that fear causes a larger response to any given situation. We work harder for self preservation than we do for a reward of any kind. Of course, the amount of fear and the size of the reward will have to be proportional.
I accept any point of view and look forward to your arguments.


I will be arguing that while some fear is good as it gives people an incentive to work harder in some situations, it eventually does not work as well in the long run and it is better to give more of a reward.
Let's start the debate and I am looking forward to what you have to say.
Debate Round No. 1


I would first like to point out that the comment Ofek makes is a great scenario. If and when you are presented with a problem, you will work much harder to resolve said problem if your face bad consequences. Humans work harder for self-preservation than they do for reward.
There are two parts to this question. Is the situation long term or short term? I thank you for bringing this up. I still believe that Fear is the lager stimulate in both situations.
In a short term situation, as in a split second or pop up scenario, we will work harder to resolve the problem or accomplish a task if there is a risk of self harm or another form of punishment. Take a child as an example. If a child is told to clean his room and that if he does, he will receive a piece of candy, the child will clean his room. But I'm not asking if the room will be clean, I want to see how hard the child works to have the room cleaned. If the child is told that he will be spanked if he does not have his room clean in a thirty minute period, the child will work much harder to achieve a clean room. He would take his time if presented with reward, but will clean faster and more efficiency if presented with the alternative punishment. I use my own experiences as a child as a reference.
As for the long term, look at governments across the globe with military and dictator rulers. They rule with fear and accomplish a larger amount in a given time than we do. Our government is based of trust, hope, and yes, reward. Although we have make many advancements and accomplished a lot, these tyrannical leaders work fast and efficiently. The child can also be a good example, a parent who uses the fear of punishment to teach their child life lessons will probably succeed in doing so more than a parent uses candy to teach a child.
I would like to thank you for accepting my debate and await your reply


It's nice to here back from you. You took a little while so I was worried you had forgotten about our debate or just could not think of a response. Here are my thoughts.

I do agree with you that some force is good. Children need to be disciplined and not be babied or they will never be ready for the real world. However, to me children are different than adults. While a piece of candy and spanking can be used for children, I do not think that the same system can work for teenagers and adults. Take a job for example. Let's say that as a boss or employer all you do is threaten them that if they do not do their work they will get fired. While this may be effective in the short run, I think that as time goes by and there are no other rewards for working harder, people will eventually just do their work and do a poor job. On the other hand, if you simply just establish a general idea that you must do your work or you will get fired as well as rewarding those who work harder than others whether it being a raise or a promotion, in the long run you will get workers that are much more productive and hard working. Most people want to be rewarded for hard work in the end and not just be in fear of losing their job. It is true some force and fear is needed but their needs to be a balance. Yes, dictatorships do have some productive workers but that does eventually fade away as in communism eventually every does get tired of working hard for no extra money and will eventually overturn the system.
Debate Round No. 2


You make a good point. But let me ask you, would you work harder to obtain a better position or to keep your only source of income. Failing to get a promotion will be unfortunate but failing to keep your job at all and losing your work and money is of a more dire consequence. You can survive without a promotion but not with being fired constantly because you never feared losing your job. Fear is still the stronger motivator here.
Now I have headed your argument for the long term, what are your thoughts on short term. In a short term situation, reward will be dwarfed by fear. When in fear, we move and react faster, think clearer, and feel less due to adrenalin. Tell me these factors don't cause you to work harder. The comment I mentioned earlier is a great example. You would work harder to keep your legs attached to your body than to gain. Humans always work harder for self preservation. Thank you Ofek for your insight.
I have one more point. If presented with a reward, there is also the fear of not obtaining this reward. So in a way, when presented with reward, you are still propelled by fear. The fear of losing said reward.
Thank you for this debate.


I enjoyed the debate as well and here is my final case.

Yes, fear of keeping your job is probably greater than reward and is overall better in the short run. However, I still think that in the long run there has to be some sort of reward for working harder. While you may be afraid of losing your job, you still will not have any incentive to go beyond whatever the mandatory work is. Without any kind of advancement or positive feedback, there is no incentive to go beyond whatever the minimum is. Also, yes, there is a fear of not getting a promotion but it is not what is the drive of working harder. Those who want the promotion will do anything to get it but if in just fear of losing their job, they will do whatever the minimum is that is required.

I hope you understand my point and this was an enjoyable debate.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Ofek 7 years ago
Hm in my opinion I also believe that fear is a stronger response in a situation for example if you're trying to get someone to do something like lets say... Rob a house? If you offer them 1000 dollars maybe but if you threaten to cut off their legs now they would most likely do it.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by FuzzyCatPotato 7 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Dictators efficient? Ha.

By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use.