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Motivation - August 3, 2021

THE THEORIES BEHIND MOTIVATION: HOW TO BOOST YOUR CUSTOMER’S LONG-TERM MOTIVATION

If you’ve studied literature especially, you might have experienced how different it is to read a classical book for pleasure or to get ready for an exam. It puts you in a completely different mood, you get bored easily and you keep procrastinating. 

That’s because your motivation is much lower: you’re not reading it for the sake of it but because of an external incentive that is “passing the exam”.

That’s exactly the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.

In this article we’ll delve even further into the science of motivation, explaining even deeper the Self-Determination Theory and into the Motivational Affordances Theory. 

If you missed the introduction to this topic, take a look at our previous article here.

bored reader
Book photo created by wayhomestudio – www.freepik.com

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation

As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, intrinsic motivation comes from within i.e. we don’t need any external trigger to get motivated. The activity itself is a treat. 

On the contrary external motivation comes from the outside, but not necessarily from somebody else: we might want to work extra hours because we’ve been promised a longer holiday or because we want to climb the career ladder. In both cases there’s a good reason, but it’s not like we’re going to enjoy working extra!

So we can say that these triggers won’t help us enter the state of flow

I’m sure that you already know what a state of flow is, because you have read about it in our previous article… but just to refresh your memory😋: 

To be in a state of flow: being so immersed into an activity that you forget everything around you (problems included). This state is so idyllic that Professor Csikszentmihalyi acknowledges it in his studies on happiness and contentment.

Pushing the user toward the state of flow means basically helping him/her fulfill the three basic needs: autonomy, competence, relatedness.

Motivational affordances theory  

The Motivational Affordances Theory is a concept embedded in the broader Motivation theory that is the SDT (Self Determination Theory). Deterding (a well-known name in the gamification world) once again explores how motivation is afforded.

According to him: “Motivation is afforded when the relation between the features of an object and the abilities of a subject allow the subject to experience the satisfaction of such needs when interacting with the object.”

Not clear? Let’s see an example

If I am doing a Sudoku puzzle, it will afford me the opportunity to feel competent while interacting with it. Because I have the skills to do it. And of course it has to be to the right difficulty level to perceive the flow state: not too hard, not too easy.

The ‘transfer’ of a design element from a ‘play’ context into another usage context likely does not necessarily lead to the same motivational affordances.

Deterding
Foto di Marijakes da Pixabay

In conclusion

Motivation is a hard topic which is difficult to unfold and to understand right away, because of its many variables. External factors can encourage users to interact with the artifact, but if the customers don’t have an intrinsic motivation to act and change their behaviour, it’s not going to last.

Intrinsic motivation is reached by fulfilling the basic needs of autonomy, relatedness and competition. If these needs are satisfied, the user should also reach a state of flow, which is an unstable balance between boredom and anxiety, that is also quite subjective.

Not that easy, right?

Don’t be discouraged! Keep following us for more content on how to reward your customers with high quality experiences.

Stay tuned!

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