Current Psychology

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 33–39 | Cite as

The Mario Brothers are Unfair: A study on Sense of Progression in Computer Gameplay

  • L. Y. LoEmail author
  • S. W. Li
  • M. Lin


This study investigated how a sense of progression, rather than a precise calculation of the goal distance, is important in making the decision to invest additional resources in an ongoing task. One hundred participants were recruited to play a computer game in which the goal stage of the game was not provided and the game character could be killed by different death traps that were located in unexpected areas. The results indicate that more participants continued playing the game when they believed that they could make progress in the gameplay. When they did not experience a sense of progression, they chose to quit no matter how much time they had already spent playing the game. The results of this study further suggest that in fixed conditions, a sense of progression is built through the gradual improvement that can be anticipated in the gameplay. However, no sense of progression could be established in random conditions under which improvement through experience was impossible.


Sense of progression Goal Continuation 


Compliance with Ethical Standards


This study was not supported by any funding.

Conflict of Interest

There is no conflict of interest among all the involved authors of this manuscript. All author declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Counselling and PsychologyHong Kong Shue Yan UniversityNorth PointHong Kong

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