|This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (May 2016)|
The extrinsic incentives bias is an attributional bias according to which people attribute relatively more to "extrinsic incentives" (such as monetary reward) than to "intrinsic incentives" (such as learning a new skill) when weighing the motives of others rather than themselves.
It is a counter-example to the fundamental attribution error as according to the extrinsic bias others are presumed to have situational motivations while oneself is seen as having dispositional motivations. This is the opposite of what the fundamental attribution error would predict. The term was first proposed by Chip Heath, citing earlier research by others in management science.
Actual customer service representatives rank ordered their own motivations as follows:
The order of the predicted and actual reported motivations was nearly reversed; in particular, pay was rated first by others but near last for respondents of themselves. Similar effects were observed when MBA students rated managers and their classmates.
Heath suggests trying to infer others' motivations as one would by inferring one's own motivations.