The Sneaky Psychology Of Advertising

I have issues with the dark side of applied psychology in design. I’ve written and spoken about it at length.

I have one rule: design to make people’s lives better. I expand on this in the book and offer an approach to help everyone set their own boundaries when it comes to design and ethics.

From The Sneaky Psychology Of Advertising BuySellAds.com

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Going from free to paid is unforgivable

There’s a message in here for internet businesses.

During World War II the Red Cross gave free coffee and donuts to US soldiers.

Then in 1942 they started charging for the donuts. It created bad feeling that has lasted 70 years despite offering backing down and offering the donuts for free.

The Cost Of Free Doughnuts: 70 Years Of Regret from NPR radio.

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If you’ve read the book you know I’ve been interested in the science of body language for many years.

This video documentary (1.5 hours so make your self an nice cup of tea) gives a good overview of the psychology behind body language.

Body language is a good place to start when trying to apply psychology to life. It’s good practice for us designers to try this stuff in the real world before try it with our designs.

Secrets of Body Language on YouTube)

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Nothing Personal: The questionable Myers-Briggs test

I’ve always had issue with Myers Briggs and this article from the Guardian rightly critiques the test.

There is very little science behind MB. In fact it was developed by two non experts, the Guardian describes them as ‘Housewives’. It doesn’t strand up to scientific rigour. That,in mind makes it dangerous.

The biggest and most profound problem with Myers Briggs is the basic premise we are one thing or another. There is no grey between the black and white.


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If you meet me in a professional setting I might come across as extrovert, in a social situation I can be an introvert.

I have a degree in Neuroscience, I’m a thinker, yet in my job within UX I have to empathise, I would be terrible at my job if I didn’t feel.

I’ve had to take the Myers Brigss test before as part of a job interview. I didn’t get the job because of the “contradictions” present within the flawed test.

All the Myers Briggs test does is foster labels and labelling. Yes it can help individuals come to terms with themselves but to be used within an organisation is at best mistaken and it’s worst can label a person something they are not.

Myers Briggs is flawed, let’s stop encouraging it’s use.

Nothing Personal: The questionable Myers-Briggs test

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Certainly the future for design. Maybe without the crazy head gear.

(via The film that reacts to your emotions)

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Digital Human: the psychology of digital

A great radio programme from Radio 4.

“Aleks Krotoski charts how digital culture is moulding modern living. Each week join technology journalist Aleks Krotoski as she goes beyond the latest gadget or web innovation to understand what sort of world we’re creating with our ‘always on’ lives.”

Digital Human: the psychology of digital

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Hacking the brain

Some great psychology and design tips from the super-smart @RichardShepherd

Hacking the brain

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Why Americans Are the Weirdest People in the World

Henrich had thought he would be adding a small branch to an established tree of knowledge. It turned out he was sawing at the very trunk.

At the heart of most of that research was the implicit assumption that the results revealed evolved psychological traits common to all humans, never mind that the test subjects were nearly always from the industrialized West. Henrich realized that if the Machiguenga results stood up, and if similar differences could be measured across other populations, this assumption of universality would have to be challenged.

Fascinating read.
Why Americans Are the Weirdest People in the World

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Is This How Memory Works? : A nice guide from Neuroskeptic

Far easier to get your head around than a text book…

Is This How Memory Works? : A nice guide from Neuroskeptic

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Designing for Behavioral Change in Health

Designing applications to encourage a certain kind of behavior (especially with regards to health) is a rapidly emerging subfield of interaction design. Best practices are constantly evolving. With such a wide range of proven applications – from fitness monitoring wristbands to doctor-patient communication tools – the field is a great source of both inspiration as well as design strategies.

Great stuff. Some application of theory.
Designing for Behavioral Change in Health

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