DOPAMINE-GAMES-MOTIVATION

Dopamine, Games, and Motivation

Summary: Dopamine plays a role in motivation, and this role is important to understand in the context of game design. Understanding how dopamine motivates can help game designers produce games that are interesting, effective, and ethical.

Originators and Key Contributors: Henry Chase and Luke Clark presented a study in 2010 that suggested that dopamine was not linked to pleasure as previously understood. By studying groups of gamblers, they found that release of dopamine occurred whether there was a stressful situation presented or a rewarding one. In 2012, a team of Vanderbilt researchers published a study with influential repercussions on our understanding of dopamine and its relationship to motivation. They found a difference in dopamine’s effects based on which areas of the brain expressed higher levels of it.

Keywords: dopamine, motivation, addiction, game, reward

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GAME-REWARD-SYSTEMS

Game Reward Systems

Summary: The phrase game reward systems describes the structure of rewards and incentives in a game that inspire intrinsic motivation in the player while also offering extrinsic rewards. Game reward systems can be modeled in non-game environments, including personal and business environments, to provide positive motivation for individuals to change their behavior.

Originators and Key Contributors: Many theories on intrinsic motivation, sense of satisfaction, and other reward concepts have been developed that form the foundation for current thinking about game reward systems. In the 1930s, B. F. Skinner explored reward schedules with pigeons, and his findings have influenced the design of reward mechanisms both inside and outside of the field of game mechanics. In their paper Game Reward Systems: Gaming Experiences and Social Meanings (2011), Hao Wang and Chuen-Tsai Sun analyze the main structural features of reward systems within videogames that have relevance outside videogames as well.

Keywords: game, variable ratio, fixed ratio, reward, intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation

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POSITIVE-PSYCHOLOGY-PERMA

Positive Psychology / PERMA Theory (Seligman)

Summary: Positive psychology is the study of happiness, flourishing, and what makes life worth living.  Seligman points to five factors as leading to well-being  — positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and purpose, and accomplishment.

Originators and key contributors:

  • Martin Seligman (1942-the present), American psychologist, founder of positive psychology
  • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1934-the present), Hungarian-American psychologist, co-founder of positive psychology, researched the concept of “Flow”
  • Christopher Peterson (1950- 2012), American psychologist, The “VIA” and other topics in positive psychology

Keywords: flow, character strengths, well-being, happiness, positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and purpose, and accomplishment

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MINDSET-THEORY-FIXED-VS-GROWTH

Mindset Theory – Fixed vs. Growth Mindset (Dweck)

Mindset Theory

Your intelligence and other characteristics – where do they come from?  Can they change?

People vary in the degree to which they attribute the causes of intelligence and other traits.  Are they innate and fixed factors (“fixed” mindset) or are they variable factors that can be influenced through learning, effort, training, and practice (“growth” mindset)?  A “growth” mindset is generally seen as more advantageous.

Carol S. Dweck, a psychologist on the faculty at Stanford University, proposed mindset theory as a way to understand the effects of the beliefs that individuals hold for the nature of intelligence.  This in turn has implications for learning and education.

Keywords: mindset, intelligence, traits, fixed mindset, growth mindset

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INTRINSICALLY-MOTIVATING-INSTRUCTION

Intrinsically motivating instruction (Malone)

Summary: Intrinsically motivating instruction takes place in computer gaming software when it provides players with choice around three key categories: challenge, curiosity, and fantasy.

Originators and Key Contributors: Thomas W. Malone

Keywords: challenge, choice, computer games, curiosity, fantasy, intrinsic motivation

Intrinsically Motivating Instruction

In trying to understand what made computer-based learning environments (CBLEs) fun and engaging, Dr. Thomas W. Malone studied computer games[1]. In doing so, Malone developed a theory of intrinsically motivating instruction. The three categories which comprise his theory are challenge, fantasy, and curiosity[2].

Challenge: Each challenge must have a series of goals, which can be personally meaningful to the player and/or may be generated by the game to keep the player engaged. The game provides the player feedback on progress toward the goal throughout the game play. Because the computer game’s outcome is uncertain, this keeps the player engaged and motivated. When a player is challenged and succeeds through the struggle, a player’s self-esteem can increase, as long as the computer game’s feedback is constructive and supports learning. An optimal challenge should be neither too difficult nor too easy.

Fantasy: Malone defines fantasy as the “mental images” the players create based on interacting with the environment. The most effective fantasies in computer games are those which are more fully integrated with the content to be learned (intrinsic). Incorporating intrinsic fantasies creates more engagement, which increases memory of the material, because they may satisfy players’ emotional needs and help them learn skills within a meaningful context. (An example that Malone describes is an Adventure game where players practice reading maps, writing instructions, and feeling excited, puzzled, and triumphant as they proceed through it.)

[sociallocker]Curiosity: Two types of curiosity are important to successful computer game creation—sensory and cognitive. Sensory curiosity is activated by the aesthetics of the game (its look, sounds, feedback, authentic creation of a world or event). Cognitive curiosity is activated by presenting opportunities for the player to better their knowledge.[/sociallocker]

When a computer game is designed based on this framework, players are more motivated to play and learn[3].

References

  1. Malone, T. W. (1981). Toward a theory of intrinsically motivating instruction. Cognitive Science, 5(4), 333-369.
  2. Malone, T. W., & Lepper, M. R. (1987). Making learning fun: A taxonomy of intrinsic motivations for learning. Aptitude, learning, and instruction, 3(1987), 223-253.
  3. Lepper, M. R., & Malone, T. W. (1987). Intrinsic motivation and instructional effectiveness in computer-based education. Aptitude, learning, and instruction, 3, 255-286.
GRIT

Grit (Duckworth, Matthews, Kelly, Peterson)

Summary: Grit is a quality that learners have that enables them to persevere while facing struggles and obstacles. This can help the learners attain success because they don’t give up until they reach their goals.

Originators & proponents: Angela Duckworth (University of Pennsylvania); Michael D. Matthews (USMA, West Point); Dennis R. Kelly (USMA, West Point); Christopher Peterson (University of Michigan)

Keywords: achievement, grit, growth mindset, motivation, non-cognitive factors, performance, perseverence, persistence, personality, resilience, success

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FLOW

Flow (Csíkszentmihályi)

Summary: Flow is an optimal psychological state that people experience when engaged in an activity that is both appropriately challenging to one’s skill level, often resulting in immersion and concentrated focus on a task. This can result in deep learning and high levels of personal and work satisfaction.

Originators & proponents: Mihály Csíkszentmihályi[1][2]

Keywords: anxiety/stress, challenge level, creativity, engagement, expertise, happiness, immersion, flow, focus, learning, motivation, satisfaction, self-regulation, skill level

Flow (Csíkszentmihályi)

Flow is one of eight mental states that can happen during the learning process which Csíkszentmihályi outlines in his flow theory. In addition to flow, these mental states include anxiety, apathy, arousal, boredom, control, relaxation, and worry; they result when a learner experiences a combination of skill and challenge levels of a task in non-optimal combinations.

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EMOTIONAL-INTELLIGENCE

Emotional Intelligence (Goleman)

Summary: Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is defined as the ability to identify, assess, and control one’s own emotions, the emotions of others, and that of groups.

Originators: Many, including Howard Gardner (1983) and Daniel Goleman (1995), in a popular 1995 book entitled Emotional Intelligence[1] and his recent book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ[2].  Several other models and definitions have also been proposed.

Key Terms: conceptual elaboration sequence, theoretical elaboration sequence, simplifying conditions sequence

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MASLOW-HIEARCHY-OF-NEEDS

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Summary: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (often represented as a pyramid with five levels of needs) is a motivational theory in psychology that argues that while people aim to meet basic needs, they seek to meet successively higher needs in the form of a pyramid.

Originator: Abraham Maslow in 1943.

Key terms: deficiency needs, growth needs, physiological, safety, belongingness, esteem, self-actualization

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