8.9. The Conditioning TrapΒΆ

Before we finish discussing players, we must consider the role of conditioning in games. Operant conditioning is the psychological term for changing the behavior of an animal or person by providing reinforcement after they do something: a reward or a punishment that teaches them to repeat or avoid an action.

The principles behind this are commonly used to train players to keep playing games. To build a compulsion to get “one more level”. The Extra Credits guys introduce the idea here and present the case for why designers should be careful in using it:

Mentioned in the video is the idea that the reward schedule can shape the behavior pattern that is trained: