Gamification, interdependence, and the moderating effect of personality on performance

  • Kam Star

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Because of their seemingly universal appeal, game elements such as points, goals and leaderboards, are increasingly being incorporated into non-entertainment situations with the aim of increasing user performance. This process is referred to as gamification. However, little empirical research exists on gamification’s effectiveness in enhancing performance, particularly with respect to moderating influence of user personality traits. Social gamification that involves more than one participant incorporates social interdependence, which takes form as negative interdependence (competitive in nature) or positive interdependence (cooperative in nature). Based on the hypothesis that the interdependence type underlying a gamification system would appeal to differing personality traits, this study reports a quasi-experiment involving a platform designed to manipulate participant interdependence structure among cooperation, competition, and neutrality, with the latter acting as the control condition. These three interdependence structures functioned as the experiment’s independent variable, with measures of participant performance as dependent variables, together with the participant personality traits assessed using the five factor model of personality acting as moderating variables. 294 undergraduate participants worked with the platform on a voluntary basis over an eight-week period, spending 38,180 minutes and performing 3,275 actions. At the conclusion of the experiment, the data collected were analysed using Kruskal-Wallis, ANOVAs, multilevel mixed method regression models, and a generalised estimating equation. The study’s results yield significant evidence that incorporating gamification in the experimental platform increases participant performance as measured by completed actions on the platform, and that participant personality traits moderated performance depending on interdependence structure. Significant results suggest that within the gamified platform, Extraversion positively moderates performance under competition and Openness positively moderates performance under cooperation.
    Date of Award2015
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorIan Dunwell (Supervisor) & Sebastian Deterding (Supervisor)


    • gamification
    • interdependence
    • cooperation
    • competition
    • personality
    • performance
    • game elements
    • five factor model
    • multilevel mixed analysis

    Cite this