CCDN 331 – Project 3 Interim

Essay Plan 

Topic: Gamification

Critical Perspective: Priming society through gamification results in designing behaviour through behavioural psychology.

Summary: There are many issues with Gamification, it is a difficult element to construct, when not applied effectively it creates only a temporary and costly effect, when over applied and executed it had the power to change views and values. This paper will discuss the effects of gamification in urban life and how it skews a societies perception of reality. For example, the use of social media in terms of gaining likes and followers and apps such as Pokémon Go.

The use of behavioral priming can affect the future development of the relationship between design and consumers, there are consequences to behavior design and designers need to be aware of the influence and effects they have on consumers.


  • Pokemon Go has gamified the reality of urban living.  
  • Negative effects of social media and how it has gamified the construct of life through likes and followers. 

Reference 1:

Gamification as Behavioural Phsycology looks at the outcome of these strategies employed by designers and the motivation it provides consumers with. The connection between gamification and behaviour design is discussed in depth within this work, concluding that perhaps game designers should be held accountable for the result of their work same as with behavioural psychologists.   It covers many points in which gamification creates a learned behaviour and removes the necessity of thought processes and ability to view options. Within my own work the relationship between gamification and behaviour design will be the main point I will focus on due to the future consequences this may impose on society and the obligation of a designer to limit this risk.

“Who is designing that society, what values are inherent in that design, and who is judging what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate behaviour” (100, Linehan, Kirman & Roche, 2014)

Linehan, C., B, Kirman, & B, Roche. (2014). Gamification as Behavioral Psychology. In S. P. Walz, & S. Deterding, The Gameful World. (81-105).  MIT Press.

Reference 2:

this paper discusses primings influence on behaviour, through the experiments Herr found that priming effects the mentality of an individual and their capability to make judgements, be unbiased,  or change their opinions, More importantly it impairs their views and values.  Through the experiment he found that a subject was consistent with their new primed idea and value. If gamification and therefore priming was ever used in a negative context or overused this creates issues for a designer and more importantly for a consumer.  This furthers my point that a designer should be aware of their impact and will be an issue i further discuss in my own essay.

Herr, P. M. (1986). Consequences of priming: Judgment and behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Attitudes and Social Cognition, 51(6), 1106-1115. doi:

Reference 3:

Although Morford et al’s work discusses the positive effects of the implementation of gamification within health related issues, the discussion also provides many points of the simplicity of  implementing gamification and the barriers it creates “Barriers, however, may physically restrict behaviour with or without any verbal behaviour” (29, Morford et al, 2014). The limitations gamification creates through behaviour design is a valuable point within my own essay, it is removing the ability to create detailed and thorough decisions.  It is priming a society to look over possibly valuable information.  This is the process of negative priming, which although is beneficial in sales and marketing it is not a responsible or ethical design practice.


Morford, Z, H., Witts, B, N., Killingsworth, K, J., Alavosius M, P. (2014). Gamification: The Intersection between Behavior Analysis and Game Design Technologies. Association for Behavior Analysis International 2014, 37(1),  25-40. DOI 10.1007/s40614-014-0006-1

Reference 4:

In the thesis paper Gamification in Social Media, Pellikka discusses the obvious gamified elements within social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Google, and youtube and more specifically focussed sites such as flickr, Pinterest and fitcoracy. Pellikka discusses the method they used, through the process of forming an account and gaining status within the sites, through points, levels and badges, achievements and challenges.

He also looks at the element of likes, views and gaining followings which is a factor I will be focusing on in my own work.  Pellikka discusses the effects of social media and the pressure that amounts from the need to gain approving through the tangible view of likes. “As there may be social pressure cause by the communities, users may strive to improve their number of connections and the number of positive ratings their activities receive.” (40, Pellikka, 2014).


Pellikka, H. (2014). Gamification in Social Media (Masters Thesis, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland) Retrieved from


Reference 5:

Henson & Ruggs’ work focuses on the effects of priming in terms of  the effect on an individuals perception and attention span, noticing through experimentation and observation that repeated priming shortens an individuals attention span and significantly impairs their perception. The main implication of priming is how it reduces the neural activity in the brain, creating shortcuts to make quick designs and reduce options processes of elimination. The harm of this in design is that although gamification and therefore priming may be beneficial to a product initially, gradually it there will be “diminished attention, to repeated stimuli.” (267, Henson & Rugg, 2003). It is unethical to limit an individuals right of choice and to programme their brain to benefit a designer. It is a designers duty to increase the awareness of their consumers to create a more sustainable and responsible future.

Henson, R, N, A., Rugg, M, D. (2003). Neural Response Suppression, Haemodynamic Repetition Effects, and Behavioural Priming. Neuropsychologia, 41(3), 263 – 270.


Essay Structure (Draft):

Introduction – what will be discussed

Point 1 – Why priming behaviour is wrong and unethical, how it creates immediate responses that may be involuntary,

Point  2 -The immediate visible difficulties with gamification. How priming inspires more difficulties (relate to Point 1) The issue with gamification and how it relates to behaviour design.

Point  3 –  Examples of design and how it is unethical through its gamified elements

point 4 – The introduction of gamification and social media together have gamified urban life in unhealthy ways.

Conclusion  –  Designers should limit the exposure of gamification and understand the influence they have over consumers.


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