• The mind is divided between conscious
and automatic processes
• These processes are like a rider on the
back of an elephant
• The rider’s inability to steer the elephant
using force explains a lot about the
puzzles of our mental mind (especially the
difficulties with willpower)
• To learn how the train the elephant is the
key to self-improvement
The elephant & the
Cialdini’s 6 Principles of
We feel obliged to give
back of what we have
received from others
Make sure that what you give is
personalized and unexpected,
and you’ll likely get something in
● Party invitations
We want more of
things we can have
Tell people what they risk losing
if not considering your offer.
● Limited edition
● Special offers
We are more motivated of what we
might lose, than what we might win…
We tend to follow
The principle works well if
someone else tells how good
● Credible badges
● Linkedin endorsements
● Lab coats
We tend to be
consistent with what
we have earlier said or
If we have said or written
something publicly, we are likely
to stick with those opinions in
Stating something publicly,
makes you more committed to do
We tend to say yes to
people we like
In general, we like people who
are similar to us, gives us
compliments and cooperate with
us towards shared goals.
We tend to look at the
actions of others to
reach a decision
- Especially when uncertain!
6. Consensus / Social proof
How we get
What steers addictive-like
Are you addicted to any
app or service?
What do you think makes you addicted?
In the 1950’s, the psychologist B.F.
Skinner studied behaviour in response
to specific stimuli.
Lab animals were placed in specially
built boxes and taught to perform
actions, such as pressing a lever, in
response to light and sound signals.
Sometimes the animals got food as a
reward, en electrical shock, or nothing
The animals that got random rewards
continued to press the lever, even long
after the food stopped coming.
Operant conditioning chambers and
Just like the lab animals, we are
wired to endlessly search for our
We endlessly search for our next reward…
Variable rewards come in three types:
• Rewards of the tribe
We want to feel accepted, important,
attractive and included by others.
• Rewards of the hunt
We want to find food and supplies.
We also want good deals and
• Rewards of the self
We look for novel sensory
Emails give us all three reward types in
• The social obligation to reply (the
• The chance of a potential opportunity
• The feeling of taking control of the
notifications and keep unread
messages to zero (the self)
Random rewards make
• Start a behavior using triggers
Habit-forming tech starts with an external,
such as notifications. In the long run,
triggers can become internal. Consider
feeling bored and start checking instagram.
The feeling itself has become the internal
• Make the desired action easy and boost
This increases chances of users behaving
the way we want.
using The Hook Model
• Create desire through unpredictability
Dopamine levels surge when we expect a
reward. Add variability and the effect
• Let the user invest time to improve the
By for example encouraging users to like a
youtube video, the service becomes more
interesting the next time they go through the
hook. It also makes it more likely that they
do continue using the service.
Bluma Wulfovna Zeigarnik (1900-1988)
was a Soviet psychologist and
psychiatrist who discovered that people
easier remember unfinished tasks,
rather than completed ones.
We tend to feel at unease when we
leave things incomplete
The Zeigarnik Effect