Posts Tagged rewards

rewarding polite consumers

In October 2013, a café in the South of France implemented a pricing policy based on patron’s politeness. Patrons who greeted the barista at La Petite Syrah and used ‘please’ were charged EUR 1.40 for a cup of coffee; those who failed to use any pleasantries were ‘penalized’ with a EUR 7 price. The prices (with greeting) were clearly displayed on a board inside the café.


Interesting idea, especially in an era of trolls and endless complaints. 


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waiting for merlot


…suggests that the anticipation leading up to an experience makes it more satisfactory than the anticipation to an item purchase. Additionally, the study suggests that the longer that anticipation period is, the more people enjoy the experience when it finally happens.

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game design is in no small part marketing


Two of the ten point in the HUGHTRAIN Mk II, that are directly relevant to game design.

“1. The market for something to believe in is infinite.

We are here to find meaning. We are here to help other people do the same. Everything else is secondary. We humans want to believe in our own species. And we want people, companies and products in our lives that make it easier to do so. That is human nature.

“7. Your job is no longer about selling. Your job is about firing off as many synapses in your customer’s brain as possible.

The more synapses that are fired off, the more dopamines are released. Dopamines are seriously addictive. The more dopamines you release, the more the customer will come back for more. Your customer thinks he is coming back to you for sane, rational, value-driven reasons. He is wrong. He is coming back to feed.

1 – get the subject, setting, story and situations right, so that people care about them and they have meaning.

7 – dopamine is at the heart of lots of human behaviour. Get your rewards paying out in dopamine, and create anticipation for rewards & outcomes to pay out more dopamine in advance.

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you’re great… and you know it

“… not only do US college students have higher self-esteem than previous generations, they now value self-esteem boosts more than sex, food, receiving a salary payment, seeing a friend or having an alcoholic drink.”

And a note of caution about how you can become addicted to rewarding behaviours

“…’Of course we should enjoy the good things in life, but not so much that we want them more than we like them,’ Bushman’s team concluded. ‘We do not want to become addicted to self-esteem or other rewards, or we will become "slaves" to them, to borrow the words of Fritz Perls”

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games are exploratory learning experiences

“The secret to good game design is simple. Set up situations where there is a problem that must be solved and let the user solve it. Give them subtle clue, but don’t take away that ‘aha’ moment. “ – Dan Cook

Exploratory Learning;

“an approach to teaching and training that encourages the learner to explore and experiment to uncover relationships, with much less of a focus on didactic training (teaching students by lecturing them). Exploratory learning does not necessarily mean an unguided or unconstrained learning environment, but does mean that learners may discover unexpected lessons and reach conclusions following various paths.”

“Several loops of learning, the user’s mental model will crystallize and they will have an ‘aha’ moment where they know exactly what they need to do and how. This moment of understanding and mastery is at the heart of what we call Fun. We’ve triggered the primitive reward system at the base of all learning. It is the same feeling of delight that you feel when you ‘get’ a joke. It is the same feeling of satisfaction that arises from a job well done.

  • You are given a goal
  • You aren’t told how to reach it.
  • You can fail (and be told that you failed)
  • You can succeed.
  • Delight comes when you figure it out on your own.

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novelty seeking zombies


We can easily become slaves to novelty, especially in the form of shiny technological toys that push novelty to us every hour of the day.

“…The brain is built to ignore the old and focus on the new….
Novelty is probably one of the most powerful signals to determine what we pay attention to in the world.”

“Researchers have found that novelty causes a number of brain systems to become activated, and foremost among these is the dopamine system…
…research shows that dopamine is more like the "gimme more" neurotransmitter.”

“…the role of dopamine is not in the pleasure that one may get from the drug, but in establishing the craving that keeps one coming back for more…
When dopamine is released, it is a signal to the brain that is it now time to start learning what is going on.”

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when do you stop living for the moment?

“Youngsters tend to live for the moment whilst older folks are more concerned about their futures.”

“A key difference emerged between participants who were aged thirteen and younger versus those aged sixteen and older, with the older group being more future oriented. There were no age-related differences among participants aged thirteen or less, or among participants aged sixteen or more, whilst fourteen and fifteen-year-olds were mixed…”

The younger age group tends to favour immediate reward, while the mid-adolescent & older age groups tend to value immediate rewards less.

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