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The "Psychology" Lesson is part of the full, Web UX Design for High Converting Websites course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

Paul explains how people make most decisions using two systems. System one is a faster, automatic, intuitive and emotional way of thinking. System two is more effortful and deliberate.


Transcript from the "Psychology" Lesson

>> So what we're going to cover in this session is I'm going to explain why psychology is so important to encouraging people to take action. We're going to look at doc patterns and what they are, exactly. Then we're going to look at warning dark patterns or a bad idea, okay?

And then we're going to look at four psychological principles that you can use without starting to get into dark patterns and those kinds of things. Because the problem with something like nudge is that it can begin to get a little bit manipulative if you're not too careful. So you need to think very carefully about the techniques and how you use them and when you use.

So, why talk about psychology? Why is this such an important subject when it comes to decision making and acting on websites? Well I'm sorry to break it to you but you are not as logical as you think you are. We like to all think of ourselves as Vulcans right that when we're presented with a decision we weigh the pros and cons and we make a logical decision over it.

Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth. Most of the decisions that we make are instinctive, intuitive decisions. And also we don't even structure the world around us in a logical way okay let me give you a very simple example right. Where did the tomatoes belong in a supermarket?

Right, if you are logical they belong in the fruits right, in the fruit aisle. And that's because tomatoes are fruits okay but we always put them in the salad aisle. Why did we do? That's not logical what we do it because our procedural knowledge are kind of the way that we think of using tomatoes is as part of a salad.

So therefore it should sit in the salad aisle. But actually that's not logical and we make lots of decisions all the time based around our mental model, how we see the world. And how we organize information within the world. And we'll get into that in a little bit more in a few minutes time.

But the first thing to know is that most of our decision making is emotional, right? So we have a primal brain. Now our primal brain is the oldest part of our brain. It's our brainstem. It's often called the lizard brain. And it's the the kind of survival instinct part of our brain.

And it handles things like aggression and fear the flight and fight response. And this is a critical part of our decision making process. So if you've ever been to a website that uses techniques like fear, right. Fear of missing out, fear of something going wrong that is really it's using psychological manipulation to encourage you to make a decision to act and it's playing off of that primal brain.

Equally if you go to a website and it plays off of scarcity right? So this is gonna run out soon again that's manipulating your primal brain that likes to hoard and keep things to itself. So these kinds of fundamental manipulative techniques are targeting your primal brain. But the primal brain presents some problems for those of us that want to encourage people to act ethically as well.

The primal brain, for example, likes to hoard things. So it doesn't like to give up stuff like paying money for something or it doesn't like to hand over personal information because it's afraid of what will happen. So our primal brain lives in this kind of constant state of looking for dangers and risks.

It's all of the time. It's the bit that kept us alive in the savannahs of Africa because it was looking for movement that might be some saber toothed tiger that was gonna rip us apart, right? So, we need to understand the primal brain and understand how to calm it, okay?

To enable us to encourage people to take action. So, there's one little bit of psychology you need to understand. So, remember the primal brain. We'll be coming back to that later. Another kind of part of psychology that's really important to decide is that we make the majority of our decisions subconsciously, right?

So it might be that you're sitting here watching this course at home, and you've just picked up from beside you a drink. You probably picked up your drink. You took a sip and you put it down again. Right now, you didn't think about that you didn't go, I'm thirsty.

I therefore need a drink, there is a drink beside me. I'm going to pick it up and I'm going to drink it, right? You didn't think that you did it entirely instinctively. And so many of our decisions are done like that. And it comes down to what is called system one and system two.

So, earlier I mentioned a book called thinking fast thinking slow, where he introduces this concept of system one and system. It's a really useful concept to understand. So system one, is the kinda fast automatic, intuitive emotional mode of thinking. So the majority of decisions like whether to take a drink is being made automatically by system one, all the time, right?

So for example, if I said to you, what's 2+2, right? You don't have to think about that, you just remember that the answer is 4, okay? It's intuitive quick unconscious reaction to that particular statement. So that's system one. And then there is system two. Now system two is our conscious brain.

It's the slower, more effortful, more deliberate part of our brain. So it's the part of our brain that we make conscious decisions with. But while system one is effortless, system two takes effort and it's limited, it gets tired and depleted very easily. And I can give you a real world example of this where you will have personally experienced this.

So those of you that have that have learned to drive at least when you first learned to drive, it was hard work, wasn't it? There was loads of things to think about. You have to, check your mirrors, you had to look at oncoming traffic, you had to steer.

If you were in Europe, you had to change gear. You had to deal with all these different pedals indicators, all the rest of it. It was overwhelming, right? And you'd have to do all of that was system to because it was a new thing and it was effortful.

And you'd be exhausted by the time you've finished a driving lesson. Now skip on a few years when you've been driving regularly especially if you've been doing a commute between home and work. Did you ever have those days where you'd get to work and go, how did I get here?

I've got no memory of the journey whatsoever. Well that's because system one has taken over that job. You've become so accustomed to do it that is become a subconscious thing. So we're gonna talk more about system one and two throughout this entire course. So just keep it in mind system one is your subconscious, effortless, easy and automatic thinking.

System two is your conscious mind and it takes a lot more effort. And related to that is another aspect of psychology that you need to be aware of, which is that we are inherently lazy thinkers, right. So this is evolution for you evolution believes in using the minimal amount of effort possible to achieve results.

Now, we've already said that system one requires a lot less effort than system two. So we, tend to favor that over system one because a sorry, we favor system one over system two, if that makes sense. So let me give you a real world example of where this can become a problem.

So, if I asked you what the chances are of your favorite football team going on to win the cup next year, right. Obviously I'm talking about English football, boat, American football, it doesn't really matter. So that's a complicated question to answer, isn't it? There were many different factors that would determine whether or not a team was successful as you buy the competition.

How well they were performing, whether he had injuries, there are many, many different things that could get in the way that make it hard to answer whether or not that that is likely to happen. Now you could, if you were completely logical and you were a system two thinker.

All the way you could go and do your research and you could look at the probabilities and work it all out. And make an informed answer to my question, chances are mind you're not going to do that you're not gonna do it because we are lazy thinkers. Instead, you're going to rely on system one to answer that question, right?

And system one is going to go with a gut reaction, a visceral reaction of whether they you think it's likely or not. And that will be based on your own bias towards your team. And also, towards what the current situation is. If there's currently one of your team members, that are injured, you might reduce the probability slightly.

If you've been doing really well in recent games, you might increase the probability slightly. But you'll give it a gut reaction rather than a really well considered response. You're just kind of guessing at it. And obviously you can see how this starts to apply to the decision making that we're making about whether to sign up to a product or not, or whether a product is good, right?

If you haven't heard of a product very much, your system one might conclude, well, it's not a very good product, right? So there are all kinds of different factors playing here, but the thing that I want you to take away is that we're inherently lazy. We like to not have to think, right.

There's a really famous book by an author called Steve Krug called don't make me think, right. Which is a book about usability testing and improving the usability of your website and if you've never read don't make me think I highly recommend getting yourself a copy. It's really short, really easy to read.

And you can probably read it in a single sitting. And the premise of the book is in the title don't make me think. So one of the best things that we can do is reduce the amount that people think on a website. We'll come back to that later as well.

So those are some of the kind of fundamental principles of psychology that I need you to kind of hold in your brain. The fact that we're in heresy lazy, the fact that we favor system one over system two and the difference between those two. And the fact that we're very influenced by our primal brain, the oldest part of our brain.

We need to be aware of these things as we go about designing a website and creating a value proposition for a product or a service and all of those kinds of things.

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