What is a compulsion loop?

While product managing a mobile game recently, I’ve been thinking about core loops and compulsion loops. I haven’t been very satisfied with the quality of the theoretical explanations I’ve seen.

Compulsion loop. What is it. Two parts:

  • The compulsion part is due to the fact that the response is a part of a habit arc: some context cue triggers response from the subject, which leads to a reward. When the subject experiences the context cue, the response occurs automatically.
  • And the loop part is due to the fact that where one habit arc ends, another one begins, and the chain of arcs wraps around on itself. So it’s like this: Signal A, Response A, Reward A + Signal B, Response B, Reward B + Signal C… etc.


Leave a Reply