Monday, 14 January 2013

Thinking Fast and Slow

When we talk about giving gamblers feedback on their game play we believe it's imperative to give the players easy to use and understand tools and choices, or ‘calls to action’, especially to players showing signs of risk in their gaming. Bet Buddy’s Advisor player tools have been designed with the principles of helping players to make informed choices. When we built our player-facing software we were strongly influenced by the principles in the pioneering work on decision making by Dr. Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel prize winning scientist. In his latest book Thinking Fast and Slow, Kahneman frames every day decision making in the context of two cognitive systems working in the brain: System 1 operates automatically and quickly with little or no effort and no sense of voluntary control; System 2 allocates attention to the effortful mental activities that demand it, including complex computations. This thinking is consistent with previous blogs we have written on Nudge principles and Informed Player Choice.

There is significant research evidence in the fields of decision making to suggest that cognitive biases play an important role in every day decision making, and that specifically in the context of gaming, cognitive biases can play an important part in the development of problem gambling behaviours (see for example Jacobsen,Knudsen, Krogh, Pallesen, and Molde, 2007). Given the limitations of human cognitive processes, and the risks associated with gaming, we believe that we need to design player protection tools so that they are appealing to all players and widely used and adopted. In the context of Kahneman’s work on systems 1 and 2, some of the characteristics of both systems are outlined below:

Given these cognitive limitations in the human mind, Bet Buddy has designed responsible gaming tools that allow players to analyze and think about their gambling behaviors using intuitive and graphical features in Advisor. This allows players to assess their gambling using a number of contextual and easy to understand frameworks that help players overcome the limitations of systems 1 and 2. The human mind has many limitations when it comes to making decisions, both instinctive and thoughtful decisions, and traditional forms of player feedback in gaming such as standard player account screens were never designed with these limitations in mind. Progressive gaming operators who are focused on building long-term customer relationships now have the chance to be much more creative in how they take behavioral insights and use these insights to help players think about their game play and make better decisions.