A new study by University of British Columbia (UBC) researchers shows how a simple online game they developed held long-lasting effects on how gamers can accurately sort waste. The game, called Sort It Out was developed to help people sort waste properly with less mistakes.
“The Sort It Out Game was developed by UBC students and is based on applied sustainability research projects conducted by the SEEDS Sustainability Program and Department of Psychology.”
(Credit: UBC Sustainability)
Participants of the study received immediate feedback on their abilities of sorting waste. However, on the second round of the game, when feedback was no longer available--players were successful at improving their sorting choices with an average accuracy from 69 per cent to 84 per cent.
The improvement of results were still achieved even when a week has passed by. These findings suggest that immediate feedback helps people learn and improve task performance.
The research study also included university students living on campus by monitoring their waste bins. The results, published in the Journal of Environmental Management, showed a slight reduction in contamination and an increase in compost weight.
"This immediate feedback increases recycling and composting accuracy over the longer term, both in the lab and in the field," says senior author and assistant professor, Jiaying Zhao, of UBC's department of psychology. "One of the big questions in psychology is how long do these effects last? Our biggest takeaways are the fact that immediate feedback works, and the effects last over time.