However, Rigby continued to explain that, for some people, failure provides additional information about how to succeed the next time. Gamers seem especially skilled at getting up, brushing themselves off, and trying a new tactic that leads to victory. Games, in turn, give players strong “informational feedback” that helps them find these path to success.

“At the same time, if we feel a challenge is not within our reach – if it is pushing us too hard – we will disengage,” says Rigby. “One way we see this in video games is in boss battles: In our data, across many different titles, after around the fourth ‘death,’ there is a massive spike in churn-out. Players hit the off button in greater numbers, and many won’t come back. Simply put, the psychological experience happening in the brain is something like this: ‘The challenge is not optimal for me. It is too much and it is causing anxiety. My need for mastery is only going to continue to be frustrated. See ya…’”