The scientists who make apps addictive

70 15 November, 2016


The scientists who make apps addictive

Sometimes you stumble upon a piece that is so eloquently written, that you end up reading it three times. Usually followed by the unstoppable urge to annoy everyone with a “you really really must read this” email. This is one of those pieces. And one of these emails for that matter. Ian Leslie of the Economist went from London to San Fransisco to attend a workshop by BF Fogg, the Godfather of Behavioural Design. There are a couple of reasons why I think this article is a must-read:

  • You’ll get the best executive summary on the most important and elegant theory on influence – ever. At SUE we’ve been using BJ Foggs model as one of the core models to come up with ideas to change behaviour. In this article Fogg talks about two core emotions: Annoyance (when motivation is too low) and Frustration (when ability is too low). To us this is a new and interesting idea that wasn’t included in his original paper.
  • I never knew that BJ Fogg never left the academic world. It’s interesting to read he did so, because he felt that his work on behavioural design opened up Pandora’s Box. Read about how he felt his theory was used for the purpose of manipulation by big corporations.
  • I never knew that the first industry that radically adopted BJ Fogg’s theory was the casino industry to design the slot machine experience in such a way that people stay in the “I’m on the verge of a big win”-experience. More about this in the article.
  • Nir Eyal, author of the book Hooked is basically BJ Foggs evil apprentice, who went to the dark side. He’s what Jung was to Freud.
  • This article explains how variable rewards are the real addiction boosters in the Behavioural Designer Toolbox.
Read the article now

Hope you enjoy reading it.


PS: BJ Foggs model on behavioural change is the center piece of “Persuasion”, the second masterclass in our Behavioural Design Academy™. Once you understand this model, you can basically come up with any idea you need to influence and change behaviour. Check out the program for our Behavioural Design Winter Course on December 9 and 10 at and claim your spot.

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