In improving our performance, the stick works as efficiently as the carrot.
This is what a new study by a team of academics at the University of Nottingham has concluded.
The study led by researchers from the University's School of Psychology has found that punishment can act as a performance enhancer in a similar way to monetary reward.
"This work reveals important new information about how the brain functions that could lead to new methods of diagnosing neural development disorders such as autism, ADHD and personality disorders, where decision-making processes have been shown to be compromised," said Dr Marios Philiastides, who led the work.
The study was recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience.