26 March 2012

Desire engines

Be the first to share

Nir Eyal’s third Techcrunch article on behavioural engineering, delves into the topic of “desire engines”.

“Desire engines go beyond reinforcing behavior; they create habits, spurring users to act on their own, without the need for expensive external stimuli like advertising. Desire engines are at the heart of many of today’s most habit-forming technologies. Social media, online games, and even good ol’ email utilize desire engines to compel us to use them.

At the heart of the desire engine is a powerful cognitive quirk described by B.F. Skinner in the 1950s, called a variable schedule of rewards. Skinner observed that lab mice responded most voraciously to random rewards. The mice would press a lever and sometimes they’d get a small treat, other times a large treat, and other times nothing at all. Unlike the mice that received the same treat every time, the mice that received variable rewards seemed to press the lever compulsively.

Humans, like the mice in Skinner’s box, crave predictability and struggle to find patterns, even when none exist. Variability is the brain’s cognitive nemesis and our minds make deduction of cause and effect a priority over other functions like self-control and moderation.”

Read article

Be the first to share
28 April 2017
Global study: Leading companies bet on customer experience
A new report from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services reveals that customer experience is vital for business success, and establishes social media as the foundation for customer experience. The survey, which includes 600+ leaders from the …
22 April 2017
An anthropologist in the boardroom
"It is often tempting to think that the 21st-century world is so closely integrated and digitised that the issue of culture is becoming irrelevant," writes Gillian Tett in the Financial Times. "But behind the scenes, …
13 April 2017
How Silicon Valley is (ab)using behavioral science and nudging
In an extensive review of The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds, the book by Michael Lewis on the psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, Tamsin Shaw provides a deeper criticism of the …
8 April 2017
Jeremy Myerson on how social challenges can catalyse design-led innovation in industry
In this recent talk at the RCA in London, writer and academic Jeremy Myerson explores how social challenges can catalyse design-led innovation in industry. Rather than seeing such issues as ageing populations, growing healthcare needs …
6 April 2017
Interview with Prof. Bill Beeman on the ways ethnography can improve business
A fertile relationship is growing between anthropology and business. Marketers are finding that anthropologists gather very useful knowledge by studying consumers in their natural habitat using the ethnographic techniques of observation and interviewing. A leader in …
5 April 2017
[Book chapter] Behavioral economics and health
Behavioral Economics and Health Judd B. Kessler and C. Yiwei Zhang Oxford Textbook of Public Health 2014 Behavioral Economics combines the insights of Economics and Psychology to identify how individuals deviate from the standard assumptions of economic theory and …
31 March 2017
PewResearch on the future of free speech, trolls, anonymity and fake news online
To illuminate current attitudes about the potential impacts of online social interaction over the next decade, Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center conducted a large-scale canvassing of technology experts, scholars, corporate …
2 March 2017
Business as Unusual: Latest issue of Touchpoint, the service design journal
“Business as Unusual” was the theme of the ninth annual Service Design Global Conference held in Amsterdam and in its play on words, it recognises that service design is more and more becoming an established …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

31 March 2017
Experientia guide to Milan Design Week 2017

It’s that time of year again – Milan’s don’t-miss event for the design community is here. If you’re looking to get inspired at Milan Design Week, then check out our top picks for the latest edition, from Experientia’s designers, strategists and partners. Milan might be best known for its busy streets, traditional cafés and world […]

12 January 2017
Experientia’s CITYOPT project awarded prestigious French award for its sustainable development design

Following the 2016 Smart Innovation Award at “FIMBACTE Trophées du Cadre de vie”, the CITYOPT project has once again been recognized, this time in the prestigious French design competition: “Observeur du Design 2017”, in the Service Design category. In June 2016, CITYOPT won the first stage of the Observeur du Design. Now the project has […]

1 December 2016
More on upcoming conference on design & sustainable innovation for smart cities

Last month Putting People First announced the upcoming conference on design & sustainable innovation for smart cities in Nice France. Meanwhile we are pleased to announce the full event agenda (see below). This event will feature professionals from leading research institutes and industry gathering to present key initiatives which combine Energy Efficiency and Service Design […]

29 October 2016
Upcoming conference on design & sustainable innovation for smart cities

Invitation to the International Conference on Design & Sustainable Innovation for SmartCities Nice (France) 8 December 2016 On the 8th December 2016, the CITYOPT project will host an international conference on Design and sustainable innovation for SmartCities, at the Centre Universitaire Méditerranéen, France. An open invitation to attend is offered to people and organisations who […]

28 October 2016
Experientia’s President, Michele Visciòla, panel judge for MacArthur Foundation’s “100&Change” competition

The 100&Change is an international competition and a landmark opportunity for thinkers and designers to tackle critical challenges affecting the world. Michele Visciòla will be one of the panel of expert judges who will select which project is worthy of the $100 million grant. 100&Change is the MacArthur Foundation competition – launched this year for […]

5 September 2016
Great engine, but the fuel seems poor. Discussing insight development in corporate marketing

The September issue of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) contains a lengthy essay, entitled Building an Insights Engine, on how Unilever has created the organizational capabilities to “transform data into insights about consumers’ motivations and to turn those insights into strategy.” The article was written by Frank van den Driest and Keith Weed of a […]

See all articles