Behavioral Psychology

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First, a cautionary tale on all the psychology research found on this wiki. Be cognizant of cultural bias.

Situational Psychology suggests that our environment plays a huge role in how we act. If that's the case, then creating the right environment plays a big role in getting people to collaborate.


Complexity and Focus

Rule of Seven suggests that our mind has limited capability to track complex topics. Shared Display allows us to overcome this deficiency.

We also have considerable potential for multitasking. See Attention Economy for more on this.

Technology has a way of enslaving rather than serving. Self-determination theory suggests three ways to shift our relationship with technology:

  • Autonomy. Choose your activities, don't let others choose for you. For example, set aside time to answer your emails.
  • Sense of competence. Assess honestly what activities are important to you. Are you really being productive if you spend two hours answering email?
  • Relatedness. Assess whether technology is connecting or disconnecting you to meaningful human relationships.

Rewarding Behavior

How Rewards Can Backfire and Reduce Motivation.

Carol Dweck's research on fixed versus growth-mindset is also relevant here.

The pyschology of incentives is important to understand for understanding how we can incent behavior through Collaborative Tools.

Judd Antin says that Mechanical Gratitude demotivates people who are already contributing content.

Elaboration Likelihood Model shows different people's vulnerabilities to persuasion.

Psychology of Change

"How Obama is Using the Science of Change" is a great piece on behavioral psychology and Behavioral Economics and how the Obama administration is applying it to help transform the U.S.

A good example of the Nudge phenomonen is a recent study showing that people were more likely to order fries if there was a salad option. It seems counter-intuitive.

This NPR article provides a nice introduction to the psychology of irrational behavior.

Can also be viewed as Framing. Motivating Learning.

One of the reasons change is so hard in individuals is that humans build habits so easily that get engraved in our brains.

Why Habits Are Hard to Change (And Printers Hard to Buy)

Why Change Is So Hard: Self-Control Is Exhaustible, from Dan Heath, who has a new book, Switch, about change.

See BJ Fogg's Behavior Grid.

Innovation and Creativity

Cognitive Psychology

Irrationality of Choice

How we make choices offers insights into how we can change. Research indicates that we are not as rational as we'd like to think. Situation plays a role, and there are other factors as well.

We tend not to be good at long-term thinking, which either causes us to postpone what we should be doing now, or act rashly when we're better off waiting. (This is especially apparent in how we handle money.) Guilt can induce moralistic, inconsistent behavior.

Fewer options are better than more.

Intuition and Decision-Making

Language and Worldview

"The obscure tools of language."


Self-Schema Theory explains that individuals have holes in their own self-awareness. Tools like Contextual Authority Tagging help build that self-awareness. There implications to Presence.


One of the critical tools that the brain employs is making assumptions about how the world works. This allows us to screen out noise, but it also sometimes gets us to perceive things that are not real (e.g. Optical Illusions).


Related Topics


  • PsyBlog is a tremendous resource for research on psychology.
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