Rewards that make you play: The Distinct effect of monetary rewards, virtual points and social rewards on play persistence in substance dependent and non-dependent adolescents

Designers of persuasive games typically apply various types of rewards to increase the player’s play persistence and to motivate the player for real world goals such as a behavioral change. In this paper, we tested if different major types of game-rewards resulted in different play persistence behavior. Additionally, we investigated if rewards were suitable to apply in persuasive games within a therapeutic context for substance dependent patients, since people with substance-related disorders have a decreased neurological reward system. In a within-subject experiment, among 20 substance dependent and 25 non-dependent participants, we examined whether play persistence and reward evaluation were affected by three separate types of rewards (monetary rewards, virtual points, and social rewards) and by player type (substance dependent versus non-dependent adolescents). As to type of reward, results showed that participants played longer and evaluated the game more positively when playing for money. As to player type, in contrast to our expectations, both substance dependent and non-dependent participants were equally motivated by rewards. Moreover, the former group was even more motivated by monetary rewards in play persistence than the latter group. © 2018 IEEE.

Designers of persuasive games typically apply various types of rewards to increase the player’s play persistence and to motivate the player for real world goals such as a behavioral change. In this paper, we tested if different major types of game-rewards resulted in different play persistence behavior. Additionally, we investigated if rewards were suitable to apply in persuasive games within a therapeutic context for substance dependent patients, since people with substance-related disorders have a decreased neurological reward system. In a within-subject experiment, among 20 substance dependent and 25 non-dependent participants, we examined whether play persistence and reward evaluation were affected by three separate types of rewards (monetary rewards, virtual points, and social rewards) and by player type (substance dependent versus non-dependent adolescents). As to type of reward, results showed that participants played longer and evaluated the game more positively when playing for money. As to player type, in contrast to our expectations, both substance dependent and non-dependent participants were equally motivated by rewards. Moreover, the former group was even more motivated by monetary rewards in play persistence than the latter group. © 2018 IEEE.

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