King acknowledges that candy's positive associations help make the game more fun and relaxing. But Candy Crush keeps us coming back in several ways. Share via Email In Candy Crush, you lose more often than you win, and you never know when the next triumph will come. These accomplishments are experienced as mini rewards in our brains , releasing the neurochemical dopamine and tapping into the same neuro-circuitry involved in addiction, reinforcing our actions.
Also, despite what you may think — and what the developers of the game claim — Candy Crush is essentially a game of luck, your success dependent on the array of colours you have randomly been given rather than your swiping skills. These accomplishments are experienced as mini rewards in our brains , releasing the neurochemical dopamine and tapping into the same neuro-circuitry involved in addiction, reinforcing our actions. Rather than discouraging us from playing, this actually makes the game even more enticing than if we won easily. Researchers from Harvard and the University of British Columbia have demonstrated this effect, called hedonic adaptation , in a study using real-life candy bars. Candy Crush effectively puts you into "time out" after five losses. Finally, it is no coincidence that the game is played with pieces of candy. Initially, the game allows us to win and pass levels with ease, giving a strong sense of satisfaction. And by not letting you play, the game actually becomes even more rewarding when you are let back into Candyland. Steve Sharman, a PhD student in psychology at the University of Cambridge researching gambling addiction, explains that the impression that we are in control of a game is key to its addictive nature and is vital when playing a slot machine, for example. Share via Email In Candy Crush, you lose more often than you win, and you never know when the next triumph will come. So it seems the deprivation makes the reward that much sweeter in the end. After one week, the participants were brought back into the lab and given a piece of chocolate to savour. Despite its reputation as a pleasure chemical, dopamine also plays a crucial role in learning, cementing our behaviours and training us to continue performing them. King acknowledges that candy's positive associations help make the game more fun and relaxing. It believes that Candy Crush is predicated on players reaching a certain level of skill and ability, and that you have to be strategic in how you move the candies around. But Candy Crush keeps us coming back in several ways. The premise of Candy Crush is basic enough for a preschooler — just match three candies of the same colour. Those who had been deprived rated the chocolate as significantly more pleasurable than those who had been able to eat it freely. So what is it about this game that makes it so addictive? Participants were divided into two groups: As we play, the game gets harder, the wins and those bursts of dopamine becoming more intermittent. This means that the reward schedule becomes unexpected: Another feature of the game that strongly affects how we respond is the limit on how much we can play at any given time. This means you can never be completely satiated when playing and always leaves you wanting more. As Sharman points out, food is often used in gambling games think of the infamous fruit machine , tying our happy associations and the pleasure we derive from eating into the game.
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