“Belated Blogging of a Buzzword” achievement unlocked

A place where I will store notes on gamification, both deliberate and accidental. Humans obsessiveness for arbitrary goals with intermittent variable reward. Related: Narrative.

The phrase, AFAIK, comes from the video game industry wanting to name what the marketable meta-product they had extracted from engineering addictive video games. See the Mashable Gamification writeup.

To touch upon: suggestive metaphor of sparse reward in reinforcement learning, especially for people. The industrial sale of gamification e.g.. Mike Hoye on gamification of conspiracy, gives it a horrific angle.

I am musing if, as a species, we tolerate such game-like activities as car-based commuting (Stutzer and Frey 2008), poker machines, depressing social media and bureaucratic proceduralism, because they each foster satisfying game-like addiction? It is certainly how I myself manage my akrasia.

I would play this game for a fee of no less that AUD140/hour

Questions: what kind of variation do people have in their taste for the gamified? For example, some people enjoy Sudoku and driving a car around, both of which are for me an exquisite torture of wasted potential. Contrariwise, I enjoy mathematics, which is for some people a pointless well of tedium. I tell you what though, spending time in traffic doesn’t invent the incredible heights of modern technology though, does it now?

All sudoku is depressing IMO

Self-hacking via gamification: Andrea Kuszewski You Can Increase Your Intelligence presents gamification as a way of getting better at stuff, based on (Jaeggi et al. 2008). Kuszewski has written lots of fun stuff in this vein, e.g. connecting with sex.

To file: Ulysses Pascal, The Gamification of Games, classifies the process of “gamification” as adopting behavioural control methods that have little to do with games per se and which games themselves are now adopting.

An online marketplace, like a game, is a highly controlled yet seemingly “open world” where choices can be monitored closely. Just as in the two-sided platforms for goods and services managed by Google and Amazon, these choice environments can be engineered to nudge behavior in predefined directions or to collect user data. With psychological insight into the values, ideals, and fantasies that users are not so willing to admit in search queries, emails, and purchasing habits, games are valuable supplements to the data Google and Amazon already collect.

What we learn from games

There is evidence that we can learn to detect fake news (Roozenbeek and Linden 2019), improve empathy (Simonovits, Kézdi, and Kardos 2017), mathematical typesetting


Foerde, Karin, and Daphna Shohamy. 2011. “The Role of the Basal Ganglia in Learning and Memory: Insight from Parkinson’s Disease.” Neurobiology of Learning and Memory 96 (4): 624–36.
Jaeggi, S. M., M. Buschkuehl, J. Jonides, and W. J. Perrig. 2008. “Improving Fluid Intelligence with Training on Working Memory.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105 (19): 6829–33.
Leuner, Benedetta, Erica R. Glasper, and Elizabeth Gould. 2010. “Sexual Experience Promotes Adult Neurogenesis in the Hippocampus Despite an Initial Elevation in Stress Hormones.” PLOS ONE 5 (7): e11597.
Owesson-White, Catarina A., Joseph F. Cheer, Manna Beyene, Regina M. Carelli, and R. Mark Wightman. 2008. “Dynamic Changes in Accumbens Dopamine Correlate with Learning During Intracranial Self-Stimulation.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105 (33): 11957–62.
Post, Rachael. 2014. “Game on: Could Gamification Help Business Change Behaviour?” The Guardian, June 11, 2014, sec. Guardian Sustainable Business.
Puig, M. Victoria, and Earl K. Miller. 2012. “The Role of Prefrontal Dopamine D1 Receptors in the Neural Mechanisms of Associative Learning.” Neuron 74 (5): 874–86.
Roozenbeek, Jon, and Sander van der Linden. 2019. “Fake News Game Confers Psychological Resistance Against Online Misinformation.” Palgrave Communications 5 (1): 1–10.
Rose, S. R., and J. Orlowski. 1983. “Review of research on endorphins and learning.” Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics: JDBP 4 (2): 131–35.
Salamone, John D., and Mercè Correa. 2012. “The Mysterious Motivational Functions of Mesolimbic Dopamine.” Neuron 76 (3): 470–85.
Simonovits, Gábor, Gábor Kézdi, and Péter Kardos. 2017. “Seeing the World Through the Other’s Eye: An Online Intervention Reducing Ethnic Prejudice.” American Political Science Review, November, 1–8.
Stutzer, Alois, and Bruno S. Frey. 2008. “Stress That Doesn’t Pay: The Commuting Paradox.” Scandinavian Journal of Economics 110 (2): 339–66.
Takahashi, T., Y. Zhu, T. Hata, C. Shimizu-Okabe, K. Suzuki, and D. Nakahara. 2009. “Intracranial Self-Stimulation Enhances Neurogenesis in Hippocampus of Adult Mice and Rats.” Neuroscience 158 (2): 402–11.

No comments yet. Why not leave one?

GitHub-flavored Markdown & a sane subset of HTML is supported.