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A game of persuasion: Investigating factors influencing player responses towards the presentation of a persuasive game

Groen, Marloes (2022) A game of persuasion: Investigating factors influencing player responses towards the presentation of a persuasive game.

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Abstract:Objective: Persuasive games, or games intending to reinforce or change players’ attitudes, are notable tools for promoting social change, yet need to be played to be effective. Nevertheless, the current body of knowledge lacks insight into what motivates players to select and play a persuasive game and is inconsistent about the importance of presenting such games as fun and having no persuasive intentions. This novel study aims to fill this gap by investigating the effects of framing and source of recommendation on player responses, and their precedents, towards the presentation of a persuasive game. Method. A 2 (entertainment frame: hedonic versus eudaimonic) x2 (persuasive intent frame: obfuscated versus explicit) x2 (source of recommendation: system- versus consumer-generated) between-subject online experiment was conducted among 310 participants. One week later, a short follow-up questionnaire measured self-reported play behaviour among 287 of them. Results. No effects were found for entertainment framing as a stand-alone factor. An explicit persuasive intent frame led to higher perceived obtrusiveness, which in turn led to an increase in interest to play, a more positive attitude towards the persuasive game and a greater chance that the persuasive game is selected over an entertainment game. A consumer-generated recommendation had a more positive effect on intention to play than a system-generated recommendation had, and this effect was mediated by source credibility. Conclusion. This study offers insight into how persuasive games can be presented to increase the chance of selection- and playing behaviour, so persuasive games can indeed become a notable tool for promoting social change outside of laboratory settings. Contradicting the commonly held perspective in the field, it concludes that concealing a persuasive game’s intention by solely focusing on fun or by using obfuscating techniques is not necessary.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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