If you’ve been following our podcast like you should be, you’ll recognize the name Nicole Lazzaro. Even if you aren’t, there’s still a pretty good chance you’ve heard of her. She’s kind of a big deal.
I met with Nicole at Gamification.co’s Gsummit conference during my live coverage, where she was a featured speaker.
Since our last conversation, Nicole and her team at XEODesign have served over 1 billion gamers. Billion, with a “b.” During her talk, she discussed how she’s managed to accomplish that, focusing on the Science of Fun. She challenged the audience to come up with just three simple ways to make themselves happier using this information.
It doesn’t take magic, just a little science.
There are four major chemicals in the brain that influence our happiness (DOSE):
As Nicole explains, each plays a different role in happiness.
Dopamine is what we normally think of as the happiness drug. However, if you listened to our last conversation with Nicole, you know that’s a big misconception. Again, she explains that dopamine is actually involved more with anticipation than the actual “happiness” feeling. She describes it as a striving emotion.
You may be less familiar with oxytocin, unless you’ve heard of the cuddle hormone—they’re the same thing. Oxytocin is released through closeness with another person. However, it doesn’t have to be cuddling (your coworkers might not appreciate that). It can also be triggered through social bonding, like eye contact and attentiveness. This helps strengthen existing bonds and relationships.
Number three is serotonin, which is widely understood to control your greater mood. If you’re in a good mood, you’ve got serotonin to thank. And if you’re in a bad mood, you’ve got serotonin to blame. Interestingly, Nicole explains, 80 percent of serotonin exists in the gut, and is governed by your state of hunger. Get a little grumpy when you skip lunch? Here’s why.
Less prominent are endorphins, the last dose of the DOSE hormones. They’ve responsible for masking pain or discomfort, which explains they’re association with the “fight or flight” mechanic. When it comes to designing happiness, endorphins help you “power through.” Nicole, for example, is an avid runner. Endorphins allow her to push farther and harder as she works towards distance goals.
By finding a way to activate each of these emotions, Nicole says, you incorporate a little more happiness into your day, which in turn increases productivity.
Designing desirable brain states allows you to get more done.
The same principles can be incorporated into encouraging user loyalty. As Nicole discussed more thoroughly in our last conversation, as did Andrea Kuszewski & Nir Eyal in our conversation with them, designing UX elements with neuroscience in mind keeps consumers coming back.
Nicole’s ultimate goal? Change the world through positive thinking. By gaming yourself into happiness, there’s a ripple effect—like increased productivity, and increased loyalty. If you’re interested in hearing more in-depth how that can be achieved, check out our earlier conversations with Nicole, or her website, 4k2f.com.
- There are four primary chemicals in the brain that effect happiness: Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins
- Each one is activated in a different way
- By designing daily experiences that activate these chemicals, you can increase your happiness, productivity and customer loyalty
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Listen to more episodes of the TechnologyAdvice podcast on SoundCloud and iTunes, or follow us on Twitter, @Technology_Adv. If you are in the market for gamification software, we can help. Use our nifty Product Selection Tool to find the gamification software to best fit your needs.