The motivations of adolescents who are addicted to online games: a cognitive perspective (2007)

Adolescence. 2007 Spring;42(165):179-97.

Wan CS1, Chiou WB.


This research explored, from the perspective of cognitive theory, the psychological motivations of Taiwanese adolescents who are addicted to online games. Study 1 focused on the differential motivations between the addicts and nonaddicts. The findings revealed that the addicts exhibited higher intrinsic than extrinsic motivation, whereas the nonaddicts showed an opposite relationship. The intrinsic motivation of the addicts was also higher than the nonaddicts. The results imply that intrinsic motivation plays a crucial role in gaming addiction. Study 2 was conducted to examine whether four factors that moderate the detrimental effect of extrinsic motivators on intrinsic motivation would function as predicted. Results indicated that extrinsic rewards would undermine intrinsic motivation when they were high expectancy, high relevance, tangible, and noncontingent. Thus, players’ intrinsic motivation would be higher when extrinsic rewards were low expectancy, low relevance, intangible, and contingent. This article provides insights into the differential motivations of the addicted players and how to employ intrinsic motivators to affect their intrinsic motivation.