Humans will go to great lengths to get their hands on some pizza, getting in domestic disputes, committing felonies, and then calling the police when their orders don't turn out exactly right. Given the status pizza already holds in our culture, it comes as little surprise that a study has found melted cheese, red sauce, and bread to be the greatest motivational tool for workers, followed closely behind by a rare compliment from a boss.

In Dan Ariely's new book, Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations, the author describes an experiment that took place at a semiconductor factory in Israel. Armed with some cash, a couple complimentary text messages from the bosses, and a few slices of 'za, Ariely found that the factory—where a worker's output could be precisely quantified depending on the amount of computer chips he or she made—was the perfect stage for his study.

At the  beginning of the week, three groups received three separate messages, promising either pizza, a $30 bonus, or a simple "Well done!" text from a higher-up. Another cluster of employees, serving as a control group, would receive no bonus.

Surprisingly, few workers were inspired by the cash, performing only 4.9 percent above the control group. The employees who received pizza and compliments, however, performed 6.7 and 6.6 better than the control group, respectively.

OK, so people love pizza and getting told how awesome they are, and 30 bucks isn't all that much money. But what's even more shocking is that during the second day of the week, the group given the cash incentive actually performed 13.2 percent worse than those who received nothing at all, costing the company a fair bit of money.

One of the ideas Ariely had was to combine the hunger for pizza with the desire for accolades by having a pie delivered to a worker's home.

“This way … we not only would give them a gift, but we would also make them heroes in the eyes of their families,” Ariely writes in his book.

Not a bad idea at all, Dan.

[via New York]