Gameplay as a source of intrinsic motivation in a randomized controlled trial of auditory training

Hoare, Derek J.; Van Labeke, Nicolas; McCormack, Abby; Sereda, Magdalena; Smith, Sandra; Al Taher, Hala; Kowalkowski, Victoria L.; Sharples, Mike and Hall, Deborah A. (2014). Gameplay as a source of intrinsic motivation in a randomized controlled trial of auditory training. PLoS ONE, 9(9), article no. e107430.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0107430

URL: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.137...

Abstract

Background: Previous studies of frequency discrimination training (FDT) for tinnitus used repetitive task-based training programmes relying on extrinsic factors to motivate participation. Studies reported limited improvement in tinnitus symptoms.

Purpose: To evaluate FDT exploiting intrinsic motivations by integrating training with computer-gameplay.

Methods: Sixty participants were randomly assigned to train on a conventional taskbased training, or one of two interactive game-based training platforms over six weeks. Outcomes included assessment of motivation, tinnitus handicap, and performance on tests of attention.

Results: Participants reported greater intrinsic motivation to train on the interactive game-based platforms, yet compliance of all three groups was similar (~70%) and changes in self-reported tinnitus severity were not significant. There was no difference between groups in terms of change in tinnitus severity or performance on measures of attention.

Conclusion: FDT can be integrated within an intrinsically motivating game. Whilst this may improve participant experience, in this instance it did not translate to additional compliance or therapeutic benefit.

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