Horizon CDT Research Highlights

Research Highlights

Gamification for Environmental Behaviour Change

  Nimisha Parashar (2023 cohort)

Human activities continue to contribute towards rise in greenhouse gas emissions and cause climate change. People’s lifestyles and consumption patterns are among the many activities that are causing rapid changes in the environment, affecting climate and weather across the globe (IPCC, 2023). This climate crisis sets the context for the current research and the aim of this work is to promote sustainable behaviour and contribute to providing a solution to this issue. Digital interventions, by offering novel ways of interaction, have a potential to support and accelerate a sustainable lifestyle (Wang & Yao, 2020), offering ways of combating the abovementioned challenge. An example of this type of interaction is the use of Gamification, or game design elements in non-game contexts, to target behaviours such as consumption, energy efficiency, and other lifestyle related activities that can be changed with a significant impact on climate change (Morganti et al., 2017). Proving as a useful line of research, Gamification is also a tool that is explored in this research.

A natural area of application for this line of research emerges in the form of Environmental Citizen Science or crowdsourcing platforms, wherein a large body of volunteers undertake tasks to further the data collection or data annotation tasks of a project (Kreitmair & Magnus, 2019). 

Promoting change in this context is a complex issue and lacks theoretical consensus in literature, while theories of individual behaviour change exits, others argue that saving of the environment or sustainability is a collective goal and individuals in isolation are unlikely to perceive it as a threat, and so the focus should be on collective behaviour change (Fritsche et al., 2018). The theoretical direction of the current research is unclear at the moment, but the overall aim of environmental behaviour change is intact. 

Therefore, with the use of Gamification there is potential for environmental behaviour change to be brought about, with citizen science projects being an area of application. With this aim in mind, the following research questions emerge:  

  1. Can Citizen Science participation (or crowdsourcing) lead to environmental behaviour change? 
  2. How can Gamification be used to promote environmental behaviour change by citizen science (or crowdsourcing participation? 

This author is supported by the Horizon Centre for Doctoral Training at the University of Nottingham (UKRI Grant No. EP/S023305/1).