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Effects of Gamification on Cognitive Load

Information on the Thesis

Type of Final Thesis: Bachelor, Master
Supervisor: Simon Warsinsky
Research Group: Critical Information Infrastructures

Archive Number: 4.804
Status of Thesis: Open
Date of start: 2021-09-05

Further Information


Gamification (i.e. the use of game elements in non-game contexts) is increasingly becoming a trend in various contexts such as education or healthcare, where it is praised for its ability to increase motivation and engagement of individuals by affording positive experiences usually found in games. Because of its motivating effects, gamification is also frequently applied to cognitive tasks (e.g., image annotation, psychological tasks), as such tasks are usually boring, effortful and unengaging to individuals. In the context of cognitive tasks, it is important to consider the cognitive load that individuals are exposed to. According to cognitive load theory (CLT), cognitive load is an important predictor of task performance, and is inter alia dependent on the mental effort that individuals have to exert to complete a task (i.e. the amount of controlled cognitive processing in which an individual is engaged at any point in time). However, it remains unclear whether and if so, how adding gamification elements to cognitive tasks affects individuals’ cognitive load.


Possible Topics include, but are not limited to:

- Provide an overview of gamification elements in cognitive tasks and their effects on cognitive load

- Design and (preliminary) evaluation of an experimental setup to test gamification element’s effects on cognitive load


- Literature Review

- Experiment Design

Introductory Literature:

Hamari, J., Koivisto, J., & Sarsa, H. (2014). Does gamification work?--a literature review of empirical studies on gamification. In 2014 47th Hawaii international conference on system sciences (pp. 3025-3034).

Lumsden, J., Skinner, A., Woods, A. T., Lawrence, N. S., & Munafò, M. (2016). The effects of gamelike features and test location on cognitive test performance and participant enjoyment. PeerJ, 4, e2184

Turan, Z., Avinc, Z., Kara, K., & Goktas, Y. (2016). Gamification and education: Achievements, cognitive loads, and views of students. International journal of emerging technologies in learning, 11(7).

Sweller, John, Jeroen JG Van Merrienboer, and Fred Paas. "Cognitive architecture and instructional design." Educational psychology review 10.3 (1998): 251-296.

Sweller, John, Jeroen JG van Merriënboer, and Fred Paas. "Cognitive architecture and instructional design: 20 - years later." Educational Psychology Review 31.2 (2019): 261-292.