Russell Hoffman from NY (thanks Russell!) sent this web link to the AP Psych listserv. This article describes an apparently successful program in Sweden that encourages drivers to slow down. A traffic camera takes picture of speeders AND folks driving at or under the speed limit, and these pictures enter the safe drivers into a lottery for prizes. The article introduces a word that's new to me: "Gamification: the process of using game thinking and game mechanics to engage users and solve problems"
The traffic "gamification" example described above seems benign and pro-social (to me), but it reminds me of a video that disturbed me. Jesse Schell's TED talk describing a future in which many of our behaviors could be "gamified" in the style of Facebook "Farmville" style games. I'm not sure why it disturbed me so much. I'd love to hear your reaction in the comments field if you have time and feel moved to write.
posted by Rob McEntarffer