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posted by mrpg on Thursday January 20, @05:45PM   Printer-friendly
from the read-three-more-stories-to-earn-a-virtual-taco!-(redeem-via-IRC) dept.

How 'Gamification' of Everything Is Manipulating You (and How to Recognize It):

“Gamification” is the practice of adding game-like elements to non-game contexts. It isn’t new, nor it is always a negative, but it is being aimed at consumers and employees more and more frequently, whether to keep you addicted to an app, motivated at work, or inclined to spend your money on something.

[...] There’s nothing necessarily wrong with making consuming a product or doing a job “fun,” but when marketers and employers are hacking our pleasure centers in ways we don’t fully recognize, that’s manipulation, and that’s not really a game. Below are some of the tricks of the gamification trade, so you can spot it before it happens to you.

Behaviorists’ studies of rats and humans prove that both species are more motivated by intermittent, unpredictable rewards than anticipated ones. Rats will pull the lever more often if they sometimes get a food pellet than if they always get a food pellet, and gamblers would never play a slot machine that returned 89 cents every time they put in a dollar, even though that’s what will happen over time.

Some of the tricks are: Variable rewards and suspense, Manipulating our desire for progress, and Engagement and “streaks”.


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  • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Thursday January 20, @08:44PM

    by acid andy (1683) on Thursday January 20, @08:44PM (#1214330) Homepage Journal

    Yeah I was going to write a post asking if I'm unusual in being so jaded and cynical that none of the usual corporate gimmicks seem to work on me. Anything that doesn't involve (in the case of an employer) throwing significantly more money my way, or (in the case of a vendor) cutting prices to a level that I consider great value for money, is likely to leave me feeling indignant and patronized. 99.9% of businesses are out to maximize profit and employee output and minimize expenditure. If they want to do business with me, I don't want any bullshit in a pathetic attempt to try to obfuscate that ethos.

    I can make an exception for the odd occasion I deal with genuine not-for-profits (Hello, SoylentNews! =) ), bona fide charities, and the rare case where someone actually does appear to be taking real pride in their work or their passion project.

    I'm obviously not that unusual, so thanks Rosco, you've brightened up my day marginally.

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