This is a misleading summary of the research on motivation: "For manual tasks, like factory work, those who were paid the best did the best work. But for creative tasks it was reversed, those who were paid the most did the worst."
I've been trying to find a reference to the original research, but I haven't had any luck. However, I believe it wasn't a simple matter of pay scale. I believe the research compared attempting to incentivize performance with greater pay. If you rewarded greater mechanical labor with increasing pay scales, the mechanical work you got from people scaled with the reward. For creative tasks, attempting to reward creativity with ever increasing rewards produced a counter intuitive affect, where attempting to reward more creativity with greater rewards led to less creativity.
That doesn't mean that if you pay a creative person more money they will perform worse than if you pay them less money. It means if you tie their pay to some measure of their creativity, then their creative output will likely suffer. However, I find it interesting that I consistently find people who self-identify as a managerial type seem to misunderstand this research in the same way: We can pay creative people peanuts! YAY!
However, I do agree with this portion: 'The "best creative people are not motivated by money alone", Zemlin said. Money is important, but it's not the only thing. What motivates great programmers is to be in an environment where they have the opportunity to "master their craft". Employers should be looking for people who are driven to master the skill of software development, he said.'