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How Event Gamification Links to our Basic Instincts


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Why has gamification exploded onto the event planning scene? What is it about digital gamification that drives attendees to interact more, encourages them to stay engaged, and helps you plan an unforgettable event? The answer lies in our natural physiological and psychological programming as humans.

The Psychological Impact of Gamification

At a psychological level, science helps us understand why participants in a game or activity, like those found in MeetingPlay’s mobile event app, are driven to take action. Consider the Fogg’s Behavior Model, which states that three factors drive human behavior:

  • Motivation – Is the participant encouraged to perform an action based on internal drivers, like pride, acceptance or fear of rejection?
  • Ability – Does the participant feel they can perform the task in front of them?
  • Triggers – Are there cues, signals or reminders to push the participant to take action?

Event gamification hits on all three of these psychological factors. Attendees are motivated to collect points, climb leaderboards, meet new people, or gain an understanding of a new topic.

Digital activities are designed to be challenging, but not too difficult. Your guests will be encouraged to participate and feel that they have an opportunity to achieve the goals you create for them.

By utilizing a digital platform, participants can be alerted when they are near a potential connection, when it’s time to take action, or when they achieve a goal. These digital triggers help you keep the energy of your event at a high level while driving meaningful action. 

The Physiological Impact of Gamification

Gamification also provides physiological benefits for your event attendees. A Stanford study conducted by Allan Reiss showed that participants who were playing a game activated several regions in their brains associated with:

  • Attention
  • Motor function
  • Neural processing
  • Sensorimotor integration

Playing games also activated pleasure centers in the participants’ brains, resulting in the release of a pleasure-producing chemical called dopamine.

While these findings sound very scientific, they’re highly beneficial to you and other event organizers.

When your attendees are taking action, both mentally and physically, it can raise the level of engagement for your event. Participants lose themselves in your gamification activities and don’t even realize they’re learning, networking and connecting with your vendors. As a bonus, the act of participating releases dopamine, which keeps them coming back for more.

Event Gamification Motivates Attendees to Participate

At the most basic level, event gamification provides internal and external motivation for your attendees to stay engaged. Completing challenges and games gives your participants intrinsic rewards, like:

  • Feelings of accomplishment
  • Pride in their achievements
  • Increased knowledge and self-worth

These rewards don’t require external prizes and provide powerful motivation for your attendees to participate in your event activities.

Attendees also receive extrinsic rewards, like

  • Badges
  • Prizes
  • Recognition

This type of motivation is less powerful than intrinsic motivators but can offer complimentary incentives to stay engaged from the start of your event until the end.

As humans, we’re programmed to participate, compete and improve ourselves. Event gamification helps you harness this power and unleash it on your event. Your attendees may not know why, but they’ll get more out of your event than ever before when you utilize digital gamification in your planning.

Wondering if event gamification is right for your next event? Drop us a line or schedule a demo. We’ll be happy to walk you through it.

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