I don't know about you, but my Facebook feed is full of sponsored content promising to double my email subscription list, attract 10-times more website visitors, and convert 50% more users. Claims like these are motivating, and can pull people in to take a closer look. However, what really counts, is the ability of the person who makes these claims, to offer you a viable path to those outcomes.
There’s a simple reason why you need to understand how emotions work, and it's this: emotions drive people’s decisions, not rational thinking. So if you want to understand how to build more persuasive tech, you’d better invest some time to learn how emotions work.
Emotions are so hard to study, many scientists ignore themPeople are often surprised when I tell them that scientists don’t fully understand how emotions shape behavior. They’re even more surprised when I tell them that many behavioral scientists don’t even bother trying to understand emotion because they're difficult to measure, and it's much easier to study the external factors that shape behavior.
A few years back, Dr. Stibe (http://cp.media.mit.edu/agnis-stibe/) invited me to present my research on emotions to the MIT Media Lab, while we also kicked off our study on persuasive backfiring (http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/108479). But what I didn’t expect, was to be sooooo seduced by the Lab itself. MIT is the ultimate playground for geeks. The Media Lab is the only school I know, where you join a culture overflowing with books, technology, and junk food, all within an environment where classes are optional, the number of brilliant people is shocking, and the only thing that matters, is that you build something groundbreaking.
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.
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.
Tai, Banksy’s “elephant in the room”. Photograph: Damian Dovarganes/AP