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The Quantified Welp: Measuring an Activity Makes Us Enjoy It Less @ The Atlantic.

“There’s a major stream of research in psychology that looks at how providing external rewards can undermine the inherent fun or enjoyment of doing something,” Etkin told me. “The classic example: If you have kids—kids like to color, they’re coloring—if you give them an award for coloring, that makes them enjoy coloring less and makes them want to color less in the future.”

But she cautioned that if someone was doing an activity for a specific reason, having access to the data could actually make them more likely to do it.  

“The reason why you’re engaging in the activity matters a lot. If it’s something that’s really goal-directed—I’m walking to lose weight, I’m walking because I want to be healthier—if walking serves some goal that I have, then measurement doesn’t make it feel less enjoyable. In fact, it can have some benefits for enjoyment,” she told me.

Read more.

Quantified self measures a lot, but for some that might eventually require adding more motivators besides just the measurement. Fitness in itself has a lot of benefits, measuring “steps” for the sake of steps is tough to get excited about, this is where AI could come in, responsive playlist, auto-unlocking of content and the tamagotchi-ization of goals, activity = feeding the goal-creature.