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Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

How Apps Can Motivate You by Tapping Into Your Personality


Sample of a game geared towards forming healthier habits in binge drinkers and understanding the negative effects of drinking.

University of Waterloo computer science researcher Rita Orji is designing interactive persuasive computer games that are tailored to an individuals motivational style.

Credit: University of Waterloo

Rita Orji at the University of Waterloo in Canada is designing interactive persuasive computer games customized to the player's motivational style.

Orji notes these behavioral change systems can be individualized for persons who favor collaboration and cooperation over competition.

"Interactive systems can provide an opportunity for people to see how they are doing relative to others like them," Orji says. "Seeing how you're doing relative to others in your peer group--especially those who are more physically active or eat more healthily than you--can motivate you to exercise more or to eat fewer calories."

Orji also notes interactive systems can be tailored to factors such as gender, age, and culture.

She also notes the importance of weighing the technological platform for supporting persuasive game systems. For example, smartphones are often pervasive in lower-income countries, so it is sensible to focus on designing effective mobile interfaces and applications, instead of apps designed for larger screens.

From University of Waterloo
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