Optimizing verbal and non-verbal feedback (NWO KIEM Project, 2014-2015)

Funding scheme: NWO Creative Industries – KIEM Grant

Applicants: Christian Burgers, Allison Eden

Societal partner: DTV Consultants

Running time: April 2014 – March 2015 [project completed]

Output publications:
Burgers, C., Eden, A., de Jong, R., & Buningh, S. (2016). Rousing reviews and instigative images: The impact of online reviews and visual design characteristics on app downloads. Mobile Media and Communication, 4(3), 327-346. doi: 10.1177/2050157916639348 [pdf, open data]

Burgers, C., Eden, A., & de Jong, R. (2017). Voorkom zombies: Hoe kiezen consumenten jouw app? Tijdschrift voor Marketing, 51(1/2), 46-49 [Summary of paper Burgers, Eden, de Jong & Buningh, 2016 for a professional audience].

Burgers, C., Eden, A., van Engelenburg, M., & Buningh, S. (2015). How feedback boosts motivation and play in a brain-training game. Computers in Human Behavior, 48, 94-103. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2015.01.038 [pdf]

Project Summary:
Transportation figures from December 2013 on traffic jams (‘filedruk’) showed that the number and intensity of traffic jams in the Netherlands has increased. To stimulate pro-social transportation behavior and to reduce traffic jams, transportation specialists turn towards using the fun of creative games and gamified applications as a persuasive intervention strategy to promote responsible commuting behavior (e.g., taking public transport or bikes instead of cars). In such gamified interventions, players gain points in online, game-like environments by completing real-world tasks concerning their commuting behavior. To combat player fatigue and boredom, virtual avatars are often used in these games to give feedback to keep players motivated. An important question is how these avatar-based feedback processes can be optimized to positively impact and sustain player attitudes towards responsible commuting, motivations to commute responsibly, and commuting behaviors.

In the proposed KIEM project, we answer this question by conducting a field test using player data from the ‘ProMOting smart MoBIlity to Employees (Mobi)’ game, developed and promoted by DTV Consultants. We will track verbal and non-verbal feedback messages delivered by the avatar ‘Mobi’ to players, player behavior, pre- and post-play attitudes towards the game and commuting behavior over time. These tests provide empirical, longitudinal evidence on the effectiveness of different verbal and non-verbal feedback types in serious games and gamified applications.

Results will be used to validate communication-scientific theories on effective mechanisms in serious games and gamified applications, and to improve actual interventions aimed at stimulating pro-social commuting behaviour.