Some stuff about ‘rewards’
Wikipedia: Reinforcement is a term in operant conditioning and behavior analysis for the process of increasing the rate or probability of a behavior (e.g., pulling a lever more frequently) in the form of a “response” by the delivery or emergence of a stimulus (e.g. a candy) immediately or shortly after performing the behavior.
From ‘The book of lenses’ by Jesse Schell
Games are designed as rewarding as possible.
The Neurobiology of Play, by Bateman + Nacke – At the core of any neurobiological description of games – and by extension of play – lies the dopaminergic reward system. This subject is well treated in neurological and biological literature, but considerable expansions to our knowledge of its mechanisms have recently become known, with significant implications for a neurobiological description of play.
Dopamine – The pleasure center of the brain (the nucleus accumbens) is well established as the critical brain region associated with the neurotransmitter dopamine, which in turn is implicated in habit formation, reward-seeking behaviors and addiction. Recent research by Koepp et al. has confirmed the suppositions of Koster and other seasoned game designers that the dopaminergic reward structure in the limbic system plays a key role in the reward orientation of digital and other games. Furthermore, the work of Skinner et al. explicates the role of reward structures in mediating the activation of the pleasure center, which has been explicitly used by some game designers as means of motivating players. The reward-seeking behavior associated with dopamine also appears to correlate with Bartle’s Achiever player type. However, this kind of structured approach to rewards is only one of many ways in which the pleasure center can be tied to play.
From ‘Art of game design’ by Katie Zalen en Eric Zimmermann – Human beings love a challenge. But it must be a challenge we think we can achieve. If we start to think we can’t achieve it, we feel frustrated, and our minds start seeking an activity more likely to be rewarding. On the other hand, if the challenge is too easy, we feel bored, and again, our minds start seeking more rewarding activities.
From ‘Rules of play’, by Katie Salen en Eric Zimmermann – From psychology research the connection between choice, action, reward and punishment in a variety of contexts is studied. Ivan Pavlov designed to study learned behavior with ‘conditioning’ dogs (via rewards in food) to provide their natural response to food even when the food was not present. This kind of conditioning, in which innate reflex responses are tied to new stimulus, became known as classical conditioning. According to Psychologist B.F. Skinner’s theory of operant behavior, people learn to behave the way that they do because a certain kind of behavior has been rewarded in the past. If a lab rat learns that pressing a lever results in a food pellet appearing, it is going to develop a strong tendency to press that lever over time.
‘the game experience’ by Ed S. Tan & Jeroen Jansz – “We propose that gaming is an emotional experience that is intrinsically rewarding. In other words, gamers are motivated by the unfolding of the game itself, and they enjoy the accompanying feelings. In our view, interest is crucial with respect to gaming. It dominates the gamer’s immediate experience during a game session as an emotion proper and it acts as a motivational disposition in-between separate gaming experiences.”
Jasper Juul 2005: “rules are the most consistent source of player enjoyment in games”
The game experience: Ed S. Tan & Jeroen Jansz; The appraisal of interest involves a sense of promise, expected reward (Tan, 1996), or a judgment that a situation has a certain difficulty which can be met (Silvia, 2005). In other words, interest is based on expectation of reward and mastery; it is an anticipatory emotion. Alternatively, enjoyment occurs upon actually receiving reward; it is a consummatory emotion.