Bridging the gap between psychology and gamification

A multi-disciplinary research team is bridging the gap between psychology and gamification that could significantly impact learning efforts in user experience design, healthcare, and government.

Photo

The research, conducted by researchers at the University of Waterloo and the University of Minnesota, has integrated models from psychology with human-computer interaction, which allows for a more deliberate, interactive connection between the two disciplines in the understanding of gameful experiences.

Gamification is the use of game elements in applications that are not games. For example, a user experience designer can borrow elements from games, such as quests, stories, and badges, to motivate users to interact with a product, system, or service.

Gameful experience is the state a person is in when interacting with a gameful system, now defined as an interactive state. Gameful experience occurs when a person is engaged in meaningful, fun, and achievable goals that motivate them for learning and working.

“Clarifying and defining this term will provide a unifying foundation for any future work on gamification and help psychologists, user experience designers, and game developers better understand each other,” said Lennart Nacke, professor in Communication Arts and director of the Human-Computer Interaction in Games research group at Waterloo. “Gamefulness is often loosely defined, relying on researchers applying their own intuitive understanding of games.”

Unifying concept

“The historical, inconsistent use of the term gamefulness by people working in the field has caused confusion and hindered progress in this important area, Nacke said.”

Vital to their unifying approach is the understanding that a gameful experience is a state resulting from the interaction of three psychological characteristics: perceiving presented goals to be non-trivial and achievable, being motivated to pursue those goals under arbitrary externally-imposed rules and believing that one’s actions within these constraints are voluntary.

The researchers examined literature and practices—from design to player experience to psychological states—to come up with the key characteristics that define gameful experiences. With a unifying concept, researchers, designers, and developers of gameful systems will work more effectively. “Clarifying the terminology will help us create more gameful systems which will help people use this kind of technology to learn more effectively,” said Gustavo F. Tondello, co-author and a PhD candidate in Computer Science at Waterloo.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Related articles

Sea Hero Quest can detect Alzheimer’s risk

Sea Hero Quest can detect Alzheimer’s risk

Researchers studied gaming data from the mobile game and found out that it can detect people at risk of Alzheimer’s.

Digital games may beat mindfulness apps at relieving stress

Digital games may beat mindfulness apps at relieving stress

Digital games, typical of those on smartphones, may relieve stress more effectively than mindfulness apps, a new study shows.

Children with autism: Video game-based “digital medicine” could help

Children with autism: Video game-based “digital medicine” could help

Researchers evaluated a digital medicine tool designed as an investigational treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and co-occurring ADHD.

Video games that improve kids’ social skills

Video games that improve kids’ social skills

Imagine racing through a virtual labyrinth against an alien and losing. Given the chance to rerun the race – which you don’t know is stacked against you – or quit, how many times would you try again?

‘Sea Hero Quest’ facilitates progress in dementia research

‘Sea Hero Quest’ facilitates progress in dementia research

Baseline study using data from the Sea Hero Quest game identifies key findings for dementia research.

Augmented reality helps tackle arachnophobia

Augmented reality helps tackle arachnophobia

Researchers have developed an augmented reality app for smartphones in order to help people reduce their fear of spiders.

World-leading pioneers speak at Medical XR congress

World-leading pioneers speak at Medical XR congress

At Shift Medical, more than 60 leading medical XR experts will present and discuss the latest developments on the use of digital technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality in medicine.

Gamification in diabetes care

Gamification in diabetes care

The number of gamified mobile applications is rising rapidly—especially in healthcare. This article illustrates how gamification is employed in diabetes care.

Can chatbots help fill the empathy gap?

Can chatbots help fill the empathy gap?

Stressed out? Need to talk? Turning to a chatbot for emotional support might help, research from Michigan State University shows.

Popular articles

Subscribe to Newsletter