PSYC 193: Social
We conducted a psychology research study, examining the effects of extrinsic monetary rewards and auditory signaling on intrinsic motivation during video game play.
This research was completed as part of my student course work for PSYC 193, a social psychology lab class at UC San Diego. I worked with a group of students to design and conduct all components of the study.
As part of the experiment, participants played a Mac / PC based video game. I produced mockups and designed the visual elements for this game in collaboration with a developer.
Because the visual appearance of the game had the potential to interfere with study results, our main objectives during the design process were to:
Participants were recruited from psychology classes at UC San Diego so the target audience was college students, ages 18-25. All users had some basic experience with video game play and prior exposure to basic computer game controls.
The final design was kept minimal, with only basic game elements present and a muted color scheme, in order to control for sources of visual stimulation.
Video games are a globally prevalent form of entertainment with player demographics that span multiple age, gender, and ethnicity groups; it is a rapidly growing industry with a pervasive international reach.
This study examines the motivations behind video game play through self-determination theory, which outlines how an individual’s experience during an activity is variable when they behave for intrinsically versus extrinsically motivated reasons. Based on previous motivation studies, we predicted that individuals playing a video game would report decreased intrinsic motivation when offered extrinsic rewards, while the presence of audio signals would increase intrinsic motivation.
Participants (N = 82) were recruited from psychology classes at the University of California, San Diego and through researchers’ personal contacts. Participants played a video game and completed a 22-question self-report Intrinsic Motivation Inventory, rated on a 9-point Likert scale.
Results indicated that intrinsic motivation levels were lowered by extrinsic monetary rewards. There was no significant effect from audio signals and no significant interaction between extrinsic rewards and audio signals. Our study suggests that intrinsic motivation studies can be applied to the context of video games and be used to analyze real-world situation such as e-sports or to understand the psychological implications of different game elements. (read the full paper)