Monday, March 21, 2011

The Psychology of Farmville Addiction: Why it’s so hard to quit



http://farmvillesuperstars.blogspot.com/2011/05/farmville-addiction-test.htmlIf there were rehab for Farmville, would I go? Probably Not.  The fact is, like so many thousands and possibly millions of people around the world, I don’t want to quit.  Nevertheless, sometimes I find myself thinking of all that I could achieve “for real,” if I used my time doing something constructive.

Thinking of Quitting Farmville?
Thinking of quitting Farmville and actually kicking the Farmville habit are two different things.  For those who have contemplated or attempted quitting in the past, you know exactly how hard it can be.  Though I have never had a physical addiction, I imagine quitting Farmville to be akin to quitting smoking or drinking.  In fact it may be worse. 

Why we try to Quit Farmville and fail:
Whether you have tried cutting back or tried going cold turkey, if you are reading this article, the chances are that you have failed.  Some of the tactics people try that do not work:
·      Making an announcement that you will be quitting Farmville
·      Removing Farmville from your news feed
·      Removing the Farmville application all together
·      Unfriending Farmville neighbors

Some people may try to cut back on Farmville, however, Farmville is always coming out with something new and exciting that tends to draw people back in.  My friends and family members who have tried making an announcing on Facebook that they were going to quit Farmville were confronted by a horde of their Farmville neighbors begging them not to leave them and to continue playing.  Some try blocking Farmville from newsfeed only to spend twice as much time visiting each of their neighbor’s walls to get their posts.  Likewise, some people may try to remove Farmville from their apps but this can easily be re-added.  Some of the more desperate approaches such as unfriending all that play Farmville and deleting one’s facebook account may still be ineffective since new facebook accounts are easy to open and new friends can be added. 

Understanding why you don’t we want to quit
The key to quitting is understanding why we don’t want to quit.  So if all of these attempts to quit Farmville do not work, the question is why and what is the answer. In order to take actual steps toward quitting Farmville, we must first understand what draws us to the game and what social and psychological needs the game fulfills.  I have broken these needs down into four different categories;
·      Social Interaction
·      Feedback Endorphins
·      Goal Achievement
·      Showcasing Recognition

Social Interaction
One of the biggest draws to Farmville is that it is a social game.  Our neighbors need us and appreciate us.  When we post something new and exciting, they adore us.  If your farm is awesome, your neighbors may tell you about it.  The problem this draw creates when it comes to quitting is that quitting Farmville means loosing the social interaction along with your Farmville player identity (whether it be a big shot player or a good neighbor, everyone has a player identity).

Feedback Endorphins
Another strong draw to the game is the high gained from gaining feedback.  Posting special or needed items such as foal or trees may be followed by a barrage of “likes” and comments from your neighbors.  Receiving this feedback releases endorphins in the brain and gives the player a high.  Studies have shown the same phenomena happening in individuals addicted to texting.  They thrive on receiving replies to their texts and get an endorphin high. 

Goal Achievement
Farmville offers a unique opportunity for players to feel that they setting goals and achieving them.  Some of the goals players can work toward are leveling up, crop master, tree master, rewards and building structures. 

Showcasing Recognition
Farmville players have a unique opportunity to create an artistic and functional landscape that is viewable by their Farmville neighbors.  Players spend a good deal of time decorating and beautifying their farms for their neighbors to see.  Players may also gain recognition from their stock of rare animals and trees since these items can be shared through breeding or growing trees.

-----The Solution: Removal and Replacement-----

The secret to quitting is removing all of the psychological draws to the game and replacing them with real-life equivalents.  

Social Interaction: The most important aspect to remove is social interaction.  Removing social interaction from Farmville will cause you to become less interest in playing.  Social interaction can be removed by disallowing posts to your wall through Facebook privacy settings and by removing Farmville neighbors through the Farmville application.  To replace the need for social interaction, try finding another form of on-line or real life social interaction that is constructive.  This does not mean to find another game since you may get hooked on that game as well.  Get involved in an activity that will fill the void of losing your Farmville identity.

Feedback Endorphins: Remove social feedback from gifting.  If you are serious about quitting and have a social interaction substitute in mind, you must remove the endorphin high gained from playing Farmville.  In order to do this, temporarily change your Facebook privacy settings so that no one can comment or like your posts.  Continue playing as you always do, but the loss of feedback will eventually make the game less appealing since the endorphin high from feedback will be gone.  Your neighbors may try other ways to reach out to you and thank you for your help, but these methods can be blocked as well. Temporarily disallowing posts to you wall, removing neighbors and removing the ability for people to send you messages will all help to cut out social interaction and feedback which will cut off the flow of endorphins to your brain.  To replace the endorphin high gained from feedback, try finding another on-line or real-life activity that is constructive and which can also give positive feedback. 

Goal Achievement: I do not know that progress can be removed from one’s farm unless you are willing to delete it.  However, I warn against this, since you will be tempted to begin a new farm.  Though your progress may not be removable without causing considerable psychological withdrawals, the need for goal achievement can be replaced.  Find an activity that can be easily tracked in increments.  Give yourself stars or small rewards for completing different levels the goal  you set.  Make your own goals and start pursuing them immediately; even while you ween yourself off of Farmville.  Who knows, you may feel guilt for spending time on your farm that could be spent on your real goal.

Showcasing Recognition: Showcasing recognition is another psychological need which is fulfilled by Farmville that may be difficult to remove.  Very few people can delete their beautiful buildings and decorations from their farms, but if you are able to, this is a good start.  However, if this type of sabotage is too painful try skip it and try replacing this need with real-life showcasing instead.  You may not have guests in your home often enough to show off your interior decorating, but you can always beautify your front yard, your vehicle or yourself.  Instead of spending money on farmcash, buy something cute to wear or something cute for your kids.  Try embellish your flowerbeds or fixing up your vehicle.  People will notice and you are likely to receive plenty of complements. 

Though every Farmville addict has different needs that may draw them to Farmville, social interaction, feedback endorphins, goal achievement, and showcasing recognition are the most prevalent drawls and therefore removing and replacing them can be the best ways to kick the habit.  However, as much as we may talk about quitting Farmville, actually quitting comes down to one all important element.  The first step in sabotaging and replacing your farming life is deciding that you really “want” to quit.  As for me, I’m still working on that step. :)

You may also be interested in

Farmville Addiction: Is Farmville Rotting Your Brain?  

The Farmville Addiction Test 

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for great information you write it very clean. I am very lucky to get this tips from you


    Quit Drinking on your own

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you. I'm glad I could help.

    ReplyDelete