The scientific foundation of gamification: an introduction to neuroscience

The scientific foundation of gamification: an introduction to neuroscience

The rise of neuroscience has enabled the recruitment landscape to redefine its scientific approaches to candidate assessments and replace ancient models with more accurate, contemporary, and fair ones. That being said – neuroscience is the main foundation of gamification. This blog will serve as a beginner’s guide to what neuroscience entails and how it serves as the scientific foundation of gamification!

What is neuroscience?

Neuroscience is the study of the inner workings of our nervous system. It focuses on the brain and its impact on behaviour and cognitive functions. The brain is arguably the most complex organ we as humans have and consists of approximately 86 billion nerve cells. The field of neuroscience aims to understand human cognition from nerve cells to behaviour.

The different branches of neuroscience

Just as complex as the human brain is, so is neuroscience – it consists of many different branches. However, in this blog I will focus on explaining behavioural and cognitive neuroscience, since they serve as the scientific foundation of gamification. Let me briefly explain those to you before we dive into how neuroscience serves as the scientific foundation to gamification. 

Behavioural neuroscience

This specific branch of neuroscience studies the interplay between the brain, behaviour and the environment. Essentially, it’s all about our individual responses to external stimuli and why we behave a certain way in certain situations. Behavioural neuroscience allows us to assess, understand and predict human behavior. 

Cognitive neuroscience

On the other hand, cognitive neuroscience aims to understand the nature of cognition from a neural point of view. To put it in more simple terms – cognitive neuroscience studies the neural basis of cognitive processes.

Neuroscience as the scientific foundation of gamification

Neuroscientific games are, as the term already suggests, based on neuroscientific research. Gamified assessments are built on predictive algorithms that are based on the two branches of neuroscience I introduced above – cognitive and behavioural neuroscience. These predictive algorithms analyze gathered data, identify patterns and produce automated reports. 

I would like to emphasize that not everything that is gamified is automatically good and will provide the most reliable insights. And like most things, gamification has its pros and cons. The most important thing to consider is that games are only reliable if they are backed up by extensive neuroscientific research and validated as novel scientific instruments. That is why we work closely together with psychologists and researchers from the University of Twente to ensure that the games we use are valid indicators of the traits they measure. But what is it exactly that neuroscientific games measure? Continue reading on and find out!

This is what neuroscientific games measure

Recently there has been an increasing desire and demand for measuring & assessing soft skills of candidates at the beginning of the hiring pipeline. 

Our neuroscientific games measure cognitive abilities and behavioural traits, these measurements indicate both someone’s competencies, as well as behaviours and responses to certain situations that may occur in the workplace. Why are these insights more reliable than insights gained from resumes or motivational letters? Because General Cognitive Ability (GCA) is the #1 most important trait determinant of job performance and the best predictor of job-related learning. Check out the blog we wrote about the impact of (gamified) assessments on future job performance predictions if you’re curious to find out more! An example of cognitive ability is problem solving skills. The games we offer measure and facilitate measurement of soft skills like problem solving, and thus, the measurements gathered through these games provide better predictions for future job performance.

In sharp contrast to traditional assessment methods, like resumes, that are purely focused on someone’s past experiences, gamified assessments allow you to look beyond what’s hidden in plain sight. So, beyond what is written on someone’s resume or in their motivational letter. And over time, gamified assessments have become a successful method in helping us change the way we see people for the better. They allow us to take a peek inside the cognitive processes of people, revealing individual behavioural aspects, and giving us valuable insights into someone’s potential and talents.

Three benefits of using gamification in recruitment

So, now you might be left wondering – what are the benefits of using gamification in recruitment other than gaining insights about candidate soft skills? Let’s dive into the three advantages of using neuroscientific assessments in recruitment.

Benefit 1. Removes bias from the recruitment process

As you probably know, something like bias is inherent to human nature, yet when bias occurs in a hiring setting they cause unfair screening of candidates, increasing mishire rate and shrinking the talent pool. Neuroscientific assessments are data-driven, meaning there is far less room for unconscious bias to creep in. Plus, if assessments are used at the very beginning of the hiring funnel you get the right first impression about each candidate in a bias-free way. Take a look at the blog we wrote about the three types of hiring bias that cause unfair candidate screening processes to learn how to eliminate them.

Benefit 2. Improves hiring quality and reduces mishire rate

By collecting all the insights about candidates at the very first stages of the recruitment process, you will be able to filter out and select candidates who are best suited for the open position. This will not only help you improve your overall hiring quality, but also reduce the mishire rate and make the recruitment process more efficient. No more need to spend endless hours scanning through resumes and motivational letters that provide you with no insights about the candidate potential and soft skills. Instead, receive a data-backed and objective report seconds after each candidate completes the application procedure and make hiring decisions that will take your company to the moon.

Benefit 3. Helps enlarge and diversify the talent pool

Gamification not only allows you to gain all the insights about candidates in an unbiased, data-backed and objective manner, it also helps to increase and diversify your talent pool. Once you begin digging deeper into the soft skills, paying more attention to the potential and ambitions of candidates – exactly at this moment, your talent pool will start increasingly expanding and consist of diverse, skilled candidates that are ready to help you take your business to the next level!

To conclude

I hope this answered some of your questions on how the scientific aspect of gamification and shed some light on what role neuroscience plays when it comes to ensuring the validity & reliability of the games!

Are you interested in learning more about other benefits of using gamified assessments in your recruitment process? Don’t hesitate and get in touch with us!

Cheers, Anete


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