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Change is hard. Advances in game design and neuroscience can make it easy. Millennium of evolution gives us an amazing system for acquiring behavior good and bad. The rush of positive emotions such as dopamine (reward), endorphin (euphoria), and oxytocin (trust) do daily battle with bad boys such as cortisol (stress). The activities we engage in for these daily battles tune our behavior. The challenge is that the cognitive rational self that sets our goals is not the same brain system that deals out the chemicals that make us feel good. Serious game designers and Gamifciation experts ignore this battle at their peril. Specially designed games can hack your brain to turn vicious cycles into virtus ones to help you lose weight, get smarter, and even fight climate change.
Nicole Lazzaro is the founder and president of XEODesign Inc. and has been named one of the most influential women in the gaming industry by Fast Company, Forbes and Gamasutra. Nicole's work on user experience and emotion spans over two decades and has worked with some big names such as EA, Ubisoft, D.I.C.E., and The White House. Her research is also some of the most well known, especially her paper - Why We Play Games, which is foundational research for gamification. Follow Nicole on Twitter at @NicoleLazzaro