The Science of Our Games = Nobel-Worthy!

Richard Thaler Wins Nobel Prize in Economics
The research that underpins our games, from the field of behavioral economics, was awarded a Nobel Prize last week.

When people describe our games, they use words like "fun," "social," and "motivating." One thing you don't hear often is "science-based." So you might be surprised to know that our games are all based on the science of what makes people behave the way we do, also known as behavioral economics. One of the most influential researchers in this field is Richard Thaler. If that name looks familiar, it's probably because he was recently awarded the Nobel Prize in economics, for the very research that has been foundational to all of our games.

Thaler's research focused on a simple but revelatory notion: humans are not entirely rational, and the irrationality of human behavior must be factored into any predictions. Among his many findings was the way in which people respond to financial incentives and disincentives. What he found may seem counterintuitive, but his studies and the success of our players are a testament to its truth: he found that people's disinclination to lose something (also known as loss aversion) is far more powerful than their desire to get something. That's why betting money on yourself can make you finally lose weight, while the promise of $30 if you hit the same weight loss goal probably won't motivate you much. It's also why we don't offer any free games - because without that loss aversion, the psychological magic that keeps you motivated is gone.

We're so grateful to Professor Thaler for his research and everything it has contributed to helping people build better habits. Congratulations, Professor Thaler!

You can read more about his research and the prize here.

Make it WayBetter

Have you ever read a study or article that helped you make a meaningful change in your life? What was it?