The Psychology Behind Gamification: Behavioural Motivators
We have all experienced that lack-of-motivation feeling or the ability to procrastinate and delay a task for hours, days, maybe even months. However, at the same time, you are on a very high level of that game you downloaded two days ago… The dopamine hit is much higher and faster from that game than it is from a work task. The visible progress and success is also much more satisfying (usually because the graphics are well done and you have collected a lot of coins!).
Serious Games and Gamification provide us with a mid ground between the two. A Serious Game looks and feels like a game but there is the serious element that gives us the satisfaction of having done something we recognise as being productive and that will grow our skills, broaden our horizons and potentially open new doors for us. Similarly, if we apply gamification to tasks, they become a lot less daunting or dull and the idea of completing them whilst simultaneously learning is far more attractive.
There is another crucial point that makes gamification so important:
We have our base needs as identified by Maslow’s theory, but the way we behave is not only founded on an internal need to survive. It is influenced by our need to be accepted and be approved of by our peers (Morsella, Bargh, & Gollwitzer, 2009). This motivator is what pushes us to follow trends and our fear of being seen as different. We don’t want to be thought of as being ‘lazy’ by not doing our work or not engaging in a project when the reality is that we are struggling with it in some way. By applying gamification ideas to new or difficult situations, the process becomes more enjoyable. A sense of team spirit can develop and people are more likely to ask for help or retain information for longer.
Playing games will bring people together: why not employ this simple fact to develop and improve workplace dynamics?