User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 453–498

Modeling the efficacy of persuasive strategies for different gamer types in serious games for health


DOI: 10.1007/s11257-014-9149-8

Cite this article as:
Orji, R., Vassileva, J. & Mandryk, R.L. User Model User-Adap Inter (2014) 24: 453. doi:10.1007/s11257-014-9149-8


Persuasive games for health are designed to alter human behavior or attitude using various Persuasive Technology (PT) strategies. Recent years have witnessed an increasing number of such games, which treat players as a monolithic group by adopting a one-size-fits-all design approach. Studies of gameplay motivation have shown that this is a bad approach because a motivational approach that works for one individual may actually demotivate behavior in others. In an attempt to resolve this weakness, we conducted a large-scale study on 1,108 gamers to examine the persuasiveness of ten PT strategies that are commonly employed in persuasive game design, and the receptiveness of seven gamer personalities (gamer types identified by BrianHex) to the ten PT strategies. We developed models showing the receptiveness of the gamer types to the PT strategies and created persuasive profiles, which are lists of strategies that can be employed to motivate behavior for each gamer type. We then explored the differences between the models and, based on the results, proposed two approaches for data-driven persuasive game design. The first is the one-size-fits-all approach that will motivate a majority of gamers, while not demotivating any player. The second is the personalized approach that will best persuade a particular type of gamer. We also compiled a list of the best and the worst strategies for each gamer type. Finally, to bridge the gap between game design and PT researchers, we map common game mechanics to the persuasive system design strategies.


Tailored persuasion Persuasive technology Persuasive game  Gamer types Persuasive strategies Health Player typology Serious games  Personalized persuasion Healthy eating BrainHex 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rita Orji
    • 1
  • Julita Vassileva
    • 1
  • Regan L. Mandryk
    • 1
  1. 1.Computer Science DepartmentUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada