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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. 


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

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

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


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