Many of us dream about turning a hobby into a job. What can be more fulfilling than doing what you love? Some studies explore this topic in more detail and show that the reality is not that simple. It's all connected to the psychological phenomenon that is called the undermining effect.
The undermining effect indicates that if someone provides monetary incentives for doing something that you already enjoy, it undermines your original reason for doing the activity. So when the monetary reward is removed, you no longer want to do the activity that you used to enjoy.
Scientists figured this out by doing psychological experiments in which participants were split into two groups and given some interesting tasks to do:
- Group A was paid to do a task.
- Then they had a choice of doing the same task or a different one but this time they were not paid.
- Group B had to do a task for no reward.
- Then they also had the same choice of doing the same task or a different one for no reward.
The results of the studies showed that people that were not paid to do the interesting task were more likely to choose the same task again. Various studies added different scenarios but the same conclusions were met. So when you add monetary rewards for doing something that you enjoy, you may lose the original reasons for enjoying it. That's why turning a hobby into a job can be risky. It might no longer be your hobby anymore.