Sunday, 3 October 2010

Short on Motivational Psychology

Quality of result is a function of motivation. We can use it to achieve:
-         better game experience through player motivation
-         better job satisfaction and team work
-         better AI

(“extrinsic” is a popular term but I do not use it, as it seems inaccurate)

  • Rewards in terms of behavioral psychology
1.      food, sex, other physiological
2.      materialism / stockpiling resources (money or other)
3.      scores or Achievements in games
4.      levels, experience points, items, skill points in RPGs
5.      etc
  • Punishments - deprivation of the above, pain, etc

  • Rewards become less effective with time (burnout)
  • Suppression – in combination of different rewards, lesser rewards are ignored
  • Rewards are relative, player compares them to last experiences
  • Works great for mechanical tasks, but severely harms productivity in cognitive, intellectual, creative, conceptual tasks (focus of attention is narrowed)

More on behavioral psychology:

(“intrinsic” is a popular term but I do not use it, as it seems inaccurate)

Exploring the Unknown:
  • Discovery
  • Creativity
  • Curiosity
  • Experimentation
  • Research
  • Learning

Achieving Goals:
  • Complex problems (no brain-numbing repetition)
  • Challenge
  • Progress
  • Mastery
  • Competition

Taking initiative:
Must be allowed and encouraged

Should be as frequent and detailed as possible

Forcing somebody to do something always lowers performance
  • Level 1 – You decide what to do next (choose task)
  • Level 2 – You decide the approach to get it done (choose gameplay for it)
  • Level 3 – You execute those decisions the way you like it (choose style and tools)
Example 1: results-only work environment (no daily schedules) management approach
Example 2: desire for power (dictatorship / monopoly) means more personal autonomy at expense of other’s autonomy

  • Socialization
  • Teammates help me
  • I can help teammates
  • Approval of others

  • Fairness (of reward for example)
  • Truthfulness
  • Respect

  • Useful for me, some personal involvement
  • Contribution for the rest
  • Producing long-lasting results

  • Sufficient salary
  • Loose deadlines
  • Level of other personal risk involved

  • Less time required
  • Less effort required
  • Other form of comfort

Ownership of the things I create
Example – in Spore players are emotionally connected to the creatures they make even though quality is worse than professional made content

Importance of self
Anything that makes you feel important (attention, fame)

Additional Notes:
  • Different motivators have different weight for different people
  • Some motivators conflict, can’t have them all maximized, balance
  • Generally short-term stress is beneficial for productivity and long-term stress is harmful

“Punished by rewards” by Alfie Kohn
“Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell