Four Relational Motivations
Four Relational Motivations
Why variable rewards work
As humans, and animals, we react differently to certain patterns of rewards. Behaviorism has studies these patterns and have come to the conclusion that variable reward schedules and contingencies motivate us more than fixed schedules and contingencies.
To keep our attention, products must have a degree of novelty. Without variability, users figure out the patterns and tire of the experience.
Some products are built to be infinitely variable. These products involve rewards users find novel for long periods of time. For example, few things are more fascinating to people than other people; we always want to know more. Whether communicating with loved-ones or keeping up with celebrity gossip, we love the infinite possibilities endemic to the human experience.
The infinite scroll is interaction design’s answer to our penchant for endlessly searching for novelty.
Nothing holds our attention better than the unknown. The things that captivate, engross, and entertain us, all have an element of surprise. Our brains can’t get enough of trying to predict what’s next and our dopamine system kicks into high-gear when we’re waiting to know if our team will make the field goal, how the dice will land, or how the movie plot ends. Like a loose slot machine, the infinite scroll gives users fast access to variable rewards.
Interestingly, our brain isn’t wired to seek pleasure alone. In fact, much of our motivation comes from alleviating the pain of desire. Dopamine levels spike when we’re just about to find reward and plummet after we receive it. To get us to do just about anything, evolution uses this chemical cascade to induce anticipation, motivation, and finally pain alleviation. Somehow we call this endless merry-go-round “fun.”
Few other methods for displaying information produce the curiosity to see what’s next like the infinite scroll.
If you’re thinking people don’t like to make changes to their behaviors, just watch a teenage girl get her first cell phone.
— BJ Fogg
Twitter is basically just you having a conversation with yourself hoping that someone else will join in.
brains pay attention to what brains care about, not necessarily what the conscious mind cares about.
Q: What does the brain find interesting?
Surprise, novelty, the unexpected
Fun, playfulness, humor
Our field is moving slowly but steadily into the world of behavioral psychology. We’ve started to realize that it’s not just about designing good-looking products with usable interfaces, but about a deeper level of involvement.
a new approach: behavioral heuristics, where “asking users questions about how and why they behaved in certain ways with technology [leads] to answers which [are] resolvable into something like rules.”
The aim, really, is ultimately to provide a way of helping designers choose the most appropriate methods for influencing user behaviour in particular contexts, for particular people.
Roughly two thirds of social media users say that staying in touch with current friends and family members is a major reason they use these sites, while half say that connecting with old friends they’ve lost touch with is a major reason behind their use of these technologies.
Other factors play a much smaller role—14% of users say that connecting around a shared hobby or interest is a major reason they use social media, and 9% say that making new friends is equally important. Reading comments by public figures and finding potential romantic partners are cited as major factors by just 5% and 3% of social media users, respectively.
The MAO Model
a tool to structure user research for behavior change
- Pushing action forward (or back)
- Affording and constraining actions
- Finding the right/critical moments
Motivation, in summary
Knowledge: Build awareness, form mental models
Attitudes, Emotions: Connect to emotions & values
Motivations: Appeal to & satisfy needs
Fears: Acknowledge & defuse fears
Social Norms: Use or shift contexts
Ability, in summary
Goal-setting: Support visioning, goals, planning
Mindfulness, Will: Train the rider’s strength
Self-efficacy: Model, afford successes, forgive failures
Skill, Usability: Train, improve usability & resources
Habit: Repetition until ready-to-hand/automatic
Social Support: Providing social support
Opportunity, in summary
Time: Find rhythms & timings
Space: Find spaces for action
Cues: Create wanted, remove unwanted
Re-minders: Give the rider a chance
Usability removes friction from an experience. Motivation increases the user’s desire to go through the experience.
The overall course goal is to help each participant become a world-class expert on the psychology of Facebook, as it relates to motivation and persuasion. We will achieve this by (1) studying focused topics each week, (2) creating a book with peer-reviewed content, and (3) sharing with people outside of Stanford.
The takeaway message for designers is to map out the behavior chains you need — the user flow you want to happen. (You will likely have more than one.) Then figure out how to get people to do the first behavior in a chain. If people don’t naturally take the next step in the chain, then figure out how to get the next step to happen.