Sounds like Octalysis

Sounds like Octalysis


Does Octalysis really have a sound of its own?

Well, not really, since the 8 Core Drives cover a wide variety of fields by implementing different types of motivators and engagement tools in several application areas, therefore we could rather think of MANY sounds associated to Octalysis.

Our job is to create memorable experiences that people can relate to (which is also our passion!). By doing so we also create high value for our clients (ROI).


Our process covers the entirety of the players journey with a service, product or brand. That journey goes from Discovery to Endgame and is filled with emotions like surprise and delight (Core Drive 7: Unpredictability and Curiosity), fear (Core Drive 8: Loss and Avoidance), optimism and hope (Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning and Calling) and many more.

On the other hand, music is also known to appeal to those human emotions and to amplify/diminish them based on certain parameters.

This becomes evident when we watch a (good) movie that scares us or makes us feel excited to the point of dramatically increasing our heartbeats or making us cry.

That effect besides having a lot to do with outstanding performances of the actors/actresses involved in the scene and a very well crafted script, has also a lot to do with the music/sounds used for that scene.

If we didn’t convince you with the previous example, let us take a look at concerts, which is the purest form of expression coming out of music.

People in concerts demonstrate a wide variety of emotions, based on how passionate they are about the artists and also on the nature of the music itself.














To wrap this part up, let me say that we strongly think that both Octalysis and music are connected through emotions, music is one of the elements of what we call “Sensation”, just like vision, smell, touch etc.

We also call “Sensation” the Hidden Core Drive 9. We use the term “hidden” as it by itself it does not create motivation, but rather deepens it.


Exploring human emotions

There are several frameworks that explain human emotions. For this particular case we will briefly explain the one proposed by Robert Plutchik — Wheel of Emotions . Which by coincidence also has an octagon shape.

The wheel of emotions sets a base of 8 “core” emotions distributed in different “leafs”, every leaf has a varying intensity starting from mild, going into basic and finally landing on intense (serenity→joy →ecstasy).


The wheel has an octagon shape because every core emotion has an opposite one right across it.

You’ll see that the opposite of “joy” is “sadness”, the opposite of “fear” is “anger”, and so on…

The combination between core emotions (leafs) leads to more complex ones. “Dyads” are groups that classify those combinations.

Here you can see a table that classifies the different dyads according to their combined core emotions:

There’s no need to go much further to recognize the main functionality of this framework. It classifies emotions and tracks them into more basic ones.

We as Gamification and Octalysis experts know how to use the 8 different Core Drives to recreate these emotions. We do it in any online/offline experience and therefore we motivate and engage our players.

However, to combine the best of both worlds we also need to know how music works around human emotions.



Music parameters that influence human emotions

Previously we talked about certain music parameters that if met, could lead to amplify/diminish human emotions. Those parameters seem to be Timbre, Rhythm, Harmony, Melody (still in consideration) and Texture.


The timbre is what gives its “identity” to each instrument. That identity determines how we perceive its sound and how listening to it alters the emotions perceived on every note.

Studies have shown that some instruments tend to recreate more positive emotions.


“The emotions Happy, Joyful, Heroic, and Comic were strongly correlated with one another, and the violin, trumpet, and clarinet best evoked these emotions”.

However, negative emotions also have an association with other instruments because of their timbre:


“Sad and Depressed were also strongly correlated and were best evoked by the horn and flute”.


(Study: “The Correspondence of Music Emotion and Timbre in Sustained Musical Instrument Sounds”. By Bin Wu, Andrew Horner and Chung Lee).


Already intrigued? We have more posts coming with an in-depth guide on how to alter the intensity of your players’ emotions.


Use Octalysis To Create Memorable Experiences

The Octalysis Group loves helping companies think about how to better engage their employees. The people working for you matter and they will make your business thrive if you motivate them correctly.

we can help you design unforgettable experiences for your employees.

Contact us for a FREE consultation now



Violin and Sheet Music by Gavin Whitner

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