Friday’s feminine angle on gamification: Brain wiring
Our knowledge about how our brains work and are wired is increasing as science develops further and further with research. I have been fascinated by neuroscience for a number of years, I have been actively following neuromarketing, neurofinance, neuroeconomics as well as completed studies in neurolinguistics to masters proficiency amongst other related fields. What we currently know about neurology and behaviour is relatively basic, yet it seems to hold a lot of clues as to why we do things a certain way. With gamification as a way to encourage behaviours it will pay off to keep following these behavioural research projects in neuroscience.
When it comes to gender difference, the way our neurology or brain wiring lights up during different activities is vastly different between men and women. We already looked at the example of competition in earlier posts under this theme. Communication is another major differentiator, for men only small part of the brain will light up during and for communication, for women the connectors have multiple channels and fire up different parts of the brain and to put it quite simply cover a lot more brain space. In the book “Why men don’t listen and women can’t read maps” by Barbara and Allan Pease, they give some real funny as well as cringeworthy examples, where you clearly recognise your own behaviours.
The premise of the book is that both gender’s brains are wired for survival. When man came to this planet the male tended to be in charge of hunting, which required very focus vision and spatial awareness but communication was mainly focused around the activity at hand and possibly minimal when agreed. For women the brain wiring is set to nurturing, so much more focus on making sure the whole tribe is living in harmony and communication played a significant role in making this happen. Whether you buy this pop-psychology explanation or not, brain wiring and communication differences between men and women have existed throughout the ages.
When we look at gaming and social media, the more games started to involve sharing and caring through social media to get ahead, the more ladies started to take part. More women than men communicate regularly on some of the networks such as Facebook, take the social network Pinterest and you find it is dominated by ladies primarily, yet very few games are playing this latter one yet.
When looking at gamification solutions, having a one-sided approach as opposed to holistic approach will in some way alienate female audiences and it is probably why a campaign often fails, but an over-arching gamification strategy with solid backing from an organisation has more likeliness to succeed. Secondly when it comes to communication especially when you are building in social sharing as part of your solution, a careful balance is good. Men will communicate when it comes with winning in mind, women will communicate if it is something they identify with and are willing to share with their community, but if it is purely for competition they may opt out.
Getting the communication aspect right in gamification will be a balancing act. For most solutions you will want to encourage a buzz, but if you can make the buzz related to intrinsic motivators such as identification with the cause or purpose for example, you have a higher chance of success to engage both genders. If you make the buzz reliant on competition, the result may be short lived and may alienate part of your audience.
What would you be willing to communicate when it comes to your organisation? or gamification solution?