Game analytics and player psychology: creating reliable models of player motivation
Motivation can be loosely defined as a process of the brain and the mind, capable of driving and deeply shaping human behaviour. Motivational processes are embedded in many everyday life situations, exerting their effects via a wide range of incentive mechanisms and objects. Understanding this process in a videogame context, however, requires a more holistic approach considering not just the incentive properties of the game but also the player personal characteristics.
My project aims to create reliable cross-games models of player motivation taking into account the contribution of natural inter individual variability. This will be accomplished linking in-game behavioural data and psychological models via a hybrid approach, where findings from small scale experimental studies (hypothesis-driven) will guide the realization of large scale (data-driven) applications for predicting players' characteristics, future behaviour and motivation evolution.
Being able to model player motivation and predict the trajectories of its evolution could possibly lead to personalized and dynamic engagement strategies able to adapt accordingly to the player characteristics and in-game behaviour. Achieving a similar goal would be of pivotal importance in industrial and gamification contexts.
I obtained my bachelor degree in Psychological Science and my master degree in Clinical Psychology at Padova University (Italy). During my academic path I acquired knowledge in general psychology, cognitive psychology, psychophysiology, neuroscience and research methodology. After my master degree I spent a considerable amount of time as a research trainee, both abroad and in my country, always investigating the reward process and its effects in various contexts. During this period I worked on various projects across different fields ranging from psychophysiology, player research and game analytics. In my free time I enjoy practicing indoor climbing and travelling, I like figurative art in general and more specifically I’m a huge cinema and graphic-novel enthusiast.
Supervisors: prof. Anders Drachen, Dr. Sam Devli
Home institution: York
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