What Makes Apps Addictive?

BJ Fogg, a professor at Stanford has created many millionaires and some billionaires. He taught the world how to make addictive apps. He was one of the first persons in the world to study the impact of machines on human behaviour and is considered the father of a new field of psychology called 'behaviourism'. He proved that human behaviour can be influenced by using rewards and incentives (yes, that's right- we humans are sort of like guinea pigs).

Technology companies use lessons from behaviourism to create addictive apps/games so that users keep coming back.The notifications, likes, and shares on social media are small incentives that end up addicting users who crave social approval. Likes on social media are like food pellets for a mouse in an experiment, in which the mouse keeps repeating a given task hoping to get its prize. People have been debating about the ethical boundaries of behaviourism for decades but no one has been able to decide its limits. Do you approve of using behaviourism as a tool to make apps addictive? Think about it.

Curious product managers and designers who want to learn more about behaviourism and captology, can take a look at BJ Fogg's research.

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