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So far Brian Cugelman has created 31 blog entries.

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. 


By | 2017-03-18T16:30:38+00:00 9 January 2017|Categories: Behavioral science, Persuasive design, User experience (UX)|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Using Attachment Anxiety in Emotional Design & Marketing

Emotional Design Psychology & Human-Computer Relationships

Science shows that people interact with technology similar to how they interact with other people, but there's never been a great explanation for why this is. There's now good evidence that the neurochemical oxytocin impacts more than our relationships with other people, and that it may also unlock our understanding of how we form emotional relationships with brands and technology. In this opinion piece, Brian Cugelman, PhD discusses the intersection of emotional design, digital psychology and the biological-basis for why we interact with computers like other people.

By | 2016-10-27T23:52:11+00:00 18 October 2016|Categories: User experience (UX), Digital marketing, Research|Comments Off on Emotional Design Psychology & Human-Computer Relationships

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).


By | 2016-10-27T23:52:11+00:00 29 July 2016|Categories: Educational updates, Behavioral science, Persuasive design|Tags: |Comments Off on Wondering about the science behind our micro infographics?

Seeking an Academic Partner for a Data Science and Psychology Project (in Toronto)


AlterSpark ( is seeking a Toronto-based academic partner to collaborate with an industry-academic project, that combines psychology, neuroscience and data science.

Over the last few years, AlterSpark has carried out a range of studies aimed at better understanding and predicting people’s psychological disposition based on how they use and communicate in digital media. The purpose of this research is to develop a set of assessment instruments, technologies and algorithms that can support a range of applications, in marketing, human resources, mental health, and other applied fields. […]

By | 2016-10-27T23:52:11+00:00 24 March 2016|Categories: Behavioral science, Announcements|0 Comments

Announcing our 2016 Q1-2 Scholarship Winners

square_digital-psychology-workshop_materials_book_3We are excited to announce our latest round of winners of the AlterSpark’s scholarship program that provides complementary digital psychology training access to graduate students and members of social purpose organizations who use technology to build a better world.

This has been our largest scholarship program to date! We were impressed by both the caliber of the entrants and the wide variety of ways in which they’re using technology for social applications.

By | 2017-01-10T10:11:31+00:00 23 March 2016|Categories: Educational updates, Announcements|0 Comments

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Enjoy Dr. Cugelman's latest articles, on digital psychology for design, UX & marketing.