Gamification Psychology


Gamification includes a number of psychological concepts, especially regarding motivation, behavior, and personality. Deep fluency and understanding of these concepts is one of the most important keys to proper implementing gamification.



Motivation is commonly divided into two subtypes: intrinsic (internal) and extrinsic (external). 


Intrinsic motivation refers to motivation driving one to perform or complete a task for the enjoyment of the task itself. Considered the better of the two, intrinsic motivation fosters enjoyment, engagement, and creativity when learning and performing tasks. For example, one might participate in a sport because he or she find the sport enjoyable or complete a puzzle for the love of the challenge.


Extrinsic motivation refers to the motivation that drives one to perform or complete a task to earn an external reward or avoid a punishment. External rewards can be tangible items like money and trophies, or intangible constructs like social status, respect, and appreciation. The more common of the two, extrinsic motivation can motivate people to complete disengaging tasks that will then increase intrinsic motivation. However, many believe that extrinsic motivation can also reduce existing intrinsic motivation, e.g. turning "play" into "work." 

Personality Types

Main article: Personality Types

Personality type is important to consider in gamification, as individual differences will call for different approaches to increasing engagement and desirable behavior. In gamification, these are thought of as "player types," usually classified into four types: Achievers, Explorers, Socializers, and Killers.


These are players who prefer to gain "points," levels, equipment and other concrete measurements of succeeding in a game. They will go to great lengths to achieve rewards that confer them little or no gameplay benefit simply for the prestige of having it.


Explorers are players who prefer discovering areas, creating maps and learning about hidden places. They often feel restricted when a game expects them to move on within a certain time, as that does not allow them to look around at their own pace. They find great joy in discovering an unknown glitch or a hidden easter egg.


There are a multitude of gamers who choose to play games for the social aspect, rather than the actual game itself. They gain the most enjoyment from a game by interacting with other players, and on some occasions, computer-controlled characters with personality. The game is merely a tool they use to meet others in-game or outside of it.


Killers thrive on competition with other players, and prefer fighting them to scripted computer-controlled opponents.