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Using Attachment Anxiety in Emotional Design & Marketing

How companies use social pain, to stop customers from leaving

By Brian Cugelman, PhD with editorial production from Debra Weinryb

When it comes to emotional design, people typically talk about positive emotions and user experiences, like how products can make people feel happy. But what they rarely discuss is using emotional design to evoke negative emotions, like stress, anxiety, and even pain.

This is a pop-up that’s triggered on Get Response ( based on tracking mouse patterns that indicate users are about to abandon the page. Their joke message plays off attachment anxiety. 


Emotional Design Psychology & Human-Computer Relationships


If I could put together a list of the top scientists who’ve contributed most to the study of online behavior change, my first pick would be to nominate the late Professor Clifford Nass.

The reason for this is simple. Professor Nass pursued one of the most counter-intuitive research tracks, trying to understand why people interact with technology in ways that are similar to how they interact with other people.

Professor Nass studied how people took offense to rude computers, collaborated with BJ Fogg to research how flattery shaped user emotions, and studied how user feelings towards software changed when their personalities were matched or mismatched, such as introverted users on an extroverted app.


By | 18 October 2016|User experience (UX), Digital marketing, Research|

Wondering about the science behind our micro infographics?

Lots of people have asked about the research behind our micro inforgraphics. Here are the citations behind our 2015 materials.

Jiwa, M., S. Millett, et al. (2012). “Impact of the Presence of Medical Equipment in Images on Viewer’s Perceptions of the Trustworthiness of an Individual On-Screen.” Journal of Medical Internet Research 14(4).


Psychological Backfiring: How Psychology Can Damage your Websites, Apps, and Digital Marketing

In the last few years, UX design professionals, digital marketers, and conversion optimization ninjas have increasingly started using psychology to design intuitive websites, engaging apps and higher converting marketing campaigns.

There’s no shortage of evidence that a good understanding of interactive psychology can can transform your formerly unknown app into a trusted and addictive product.

However, there’s one elephant in the room that nobody likes to talk about.

banksy-elephant in the room v2

Tai, Banksy’s “elephant in the room”. Photograph: Damian Dovarganes/AP