Engaginglab / Gamification

The Psychology behind Motivation

(from the archives, March, 7th)

It is important to remember: Gamification is not a game.

And certainly it is not just about the use of external incentives like points and badges.

Gamification transforms the psychology and motivation behind the task. (Michael Wu, Scientist, Lithium)

Gamification is meaningfully changing how people feel about doing the task. How? By activating what’s build into our DNA: The desire to become better, the desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves, the desire to create meaning and mastering.

Probably you know some scientific approaches already:

  • The Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Pyramid)
  • The Flow-Channel of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

These both Scientists are famous for their researchs of ‘what motivates us’.

Simplified, it is the continuous improvement of ourselves. (You remember from my last post? To survive)

In the past (in the past’s past 😉 ) the struggle for life was enough to keep us engaged. But by now it’s easy to survive (I know, not everywhere).

And nevertheless, we are still influenced by evolution. So, it’s still inherent to us that we want to be engaged. We still need, for our inner well-being, the challenge of ourselves. Our brain still lets dopamine flush if we are overcoming a challenge.

But, honest, our normal live doesn’t challenge us enough anymore to create this kind of epic mission: To survive and to save our species. Thankfully. But we didn’t yet accomodate (from the evolution’s point of view) ourselves to this ‘new’ situation.

But games are still challenging us. There we have meaningful missions and to achieve the goals we have to learn and how to become better and better.

That’s our human nature. Even if it is not rational.

So, gamification provides us now with the opportunity to combine our personal and job-related activities with our evolutionary behavior. Don’t call gamification a game; it’s a tool to reach goals. Evolutionary goals and even business-goals…

I know there are a lot of questions and probably also skepticism at the moment. But I hope to answer and solve most of them over the next months. By doing this I will rely on researchs from Maslow, Csikszentmihalyi, B.J. Fogg, Dan Pink, Gabe Zichermann, Jane McGonigal, Michael Wu, Ryan & Deci, and more.

So, stay tuned, ask questions and take part….


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