100 books for creating a knowledge base for behavioural science, psychology & product design.
I'm highlighting a memorable, thought-provoking passage from each book. Scroll down to check if your favourite book is included.
Keywords: Behavioural Economics, Behavioral Science, UX Design, UI UX, Product Design, Psychology, Critical Thinking, Gamification
#1. 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People
Think about the pattern of behavior you’re looking for, and then adjust the schedule of rewards to fit that schedule. Use a variable ratio schedule for the maximum behavior repetition.
#2. 101 UX Principles
Through the use of user testing, A/B testing and analytics research, it should be possible to identify common user journeys and optimize the defaults for the vast majority of users.
#3. Acting With Power
Instability within hierarchies activates deep-seated fears and insecurities that make us cling to old habits and trigger knee-jerk impulses at precisely the time when we need to consider options and try something new.
#4. Actionable Gamification
Gamification is a combination of Game Design, Game Dynamics, Motivational Psychology, Behavioral Economics, UX/UI, Neurobiology, Technology Platforms, and Business Systems that drive an ROI.
#5. Algorithms to Live By
Math says you should keep looking noncommittally until you’ve seen 61% of applicants, and then only leap if someone in the remaining 39% of the pool proves to be the best yet.
#6. Articulating Design Decisions
Our decisions are based on getting the user to act, which is the ultimate purpose of any website or app.
#7. At the Interface of Transactional Analysis, Psychoanalysis, and Body Psychotherapy
Emotion orchestrates the action of multiple response systems so that they act in a unified way in the service of solving problems. This view of emotion as an organizer stands in stark contrast to the oft-expressed view of emotion as a disorganizer or disrupter.
#8. Behavioural Economics Guide 2020
Behavioral sciences and design are old friends, although this long-standing relationship is going to change significantly in the years to come, yielding benefits to behavioral and social scientists, economists and designers.
#9. Being Logical
To be in a state of uncertainty concerning the truth is neither a pleasant nor a desirable state to be in, and we should always be striving to get out of such states as soon as possible.
When it comes to making urgent purchase decisions, research has shown that the mere saliency of a product’s appearance—its noticeability, arising from the combination of high-contrast visual features such as contours, edges, and color contrast—dramatically increases the likelihood of it being selected.
Several minor behavioral commitments and small reinforcements can produce behavioral outcomes that we would otherwise refuse to perform if we are asked all at once.
Exhaustion happens when we get stuck in an emotion.
#13. Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Instability within hierarchies activates deep-seated fears and insecurities that make us cling to old habits and trigger knee-jerk impulses at precisely the time when we need to consider options and try something new.
#14. Communicating the UX Vision
Design means change. Change means risk. And risk makes people worry about their paychecks.
For some reason, presumably of evolutionary benefit, people feel loss far more powerfully than they feel gain.
#16. Control - a history of behavioural psychology
The “cognitive revolution” is usually treated as a paradigm shift.
#17. Decoding Decisions
A better understanding of the cognitive biases that underpin decision-making can help to create a compelling proposition that appeals to shoppers at an instinctive level.
#18. Design for How People Think
While we may like to think we can be like Spock from Star Trek and make decisions completely logically, it has been well documented that a myriad of emotions affect both our experience and our thinking.
#19. Design for the Mind
Conformity is extremely powerful in that it can prevent people from engaging in behaviors perceived to be against the norm, and it can promote individuals engaging in certain behaviors without much (or any) additional effort.
#20. Designing for Behaviour Change
The first time that users try out your application, they immediately judge it based on their prior experiences and associations. You don’t have time to convince them logically; the judgment is made in an instant.
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#21. Designing Products for Evolving Digital Users
Design is always a conversation. It is never a monologue, even when it is a sole endeavour. There is always an exchange of ideas that happens as part of the process, even if those are ideas generated within your own mind.
#22. Designing Social Interfaces
When you are designing experiences for people, or designing frameworks within which people will create their own experiences, there is always an ethical dimension.
#23. Designing with the Mind in Mind
The designer’s goal is to devise a conceptual model that is task focused, as simple as possible, and as consistent as possible.
#24. Designing Data Visualizations
Efficiency matters, because if you’re wasting a viewer’s time or energy, they’re going to move on.
#25. Designing the Invisible
When we communicate, body language conveys the most meaning (55%), followed by tone of voice (38%) and finally the words themselves (7%).
#26. Designing with Data
The human mind is very good at creating artificial groupings based on relative position and shape.
#27. Digital Health and the Gamification of Life
The sophisticated architecture of the games allows us to feel a part of something bigger than us.
#28. Engaged- Designing for Behavior Change
Behavior change design is the application of psychological methods and research to the development of products, services, or experiences.
#29. Exotic Preferences- Behavioral Economics and Human
All economics involves psychology. Bayes’ rule, the rational expectations assumption and the theory of revealed preference are all psychological assumptions about how people form expectations and what motivates them. The question for economics is not whether to include or exclude psychology, but rather what type of psychology to include.
#30. Fixing Bad UX Designs
90% of users confirmed that they stopped using an app because of poor performance, and 86% of them deleted or uninstalled an app because they found problems with its functionality or design.
#31. Gamification By Design
Game designers leave nothing to chance. The entire experience of a player is in some way contrived, or at least optimized, to maximize the odds of success. Although it might seem serendipitous, it almost never is.
Gamification is not new. Game mechanics and design have been used to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals throughout recorded history. Gamification is about rethinking motivation in a world where we are more often connected digitally than physically. It is about building motivation into a digitally engaged world. And we are just getting started in this journey.
#33. Gut Feelings
There are two ways to understand the nature of gut feelings. One is derived from logical principles and assumes that intuition solves a complex problem with a complex strategy. The other involves psychological principles, which bet on simplicity and take advantage of our evolved brain.
#34. How Designers Think
Our understanding of design problems and the information needed to solve them depends to a certain extent upon our ideas for solving them.
#35. How To Analyze People
When you manipulate, you lie, deceive and try to hide what’s really going on. When you persuade, you’re able, to be honest and upfront about what you’re trying to do, because you have no reason to hide if it isn’t done for personal gain.
#36. How to Win Every Argument
Recognition that reason and emotion have separate spheres of influence is as old as Plato's division of the soul. David Hume put it succinctly, telling us that passion moves us to act, whereas reason directs the course of those actions. Emotion, in other words, motivates us to do things, but reason enables us to calc- ulate what to do.
#37. How We Decide
We humans could contemplate our emotions and use words to dissect the world, parsing reality into neat chains of causation. We could accumulate knowledge and logically ana lyze problems. We could tell elaborate lies and make plans for the future. Sometimes, we could even follow our plans.
#38. Human Agency and Behavioral Economics
Whenever people think that the motivations of the choice architect are illicit, they will disapprove of the nudge, whether it involves education or not.
#39. Interviewing Users
You should position yourself in your organization so that interviewing customers is an integral part of how you work. If this wasn’t part of your arrangement upon being hired, you need to evolve your brand with your managers and colleagues. If you can’t do that, consider your future in that organization.
#40. Introducing Game Theory
Human rationality is limited by the tractability of the decision problem (how easy it is to manage), the cognitive limitations of our minds, the time available in which to make the decision, and how important the decision is to us.
#41. Introducing Logic
Gödel’s incompleteness theorem means that there cannot be a program using a finite number of steps to check any program to see whether it will reach a conclusion or halt. This has become known as the “halting problem”. Such a program would be equivalent to a system in which you could consistently compute all numbers, and that is an impossibility.
#42. Introducing Psychology
Psychology as a discipline could benefit from recombining with some of the philosophy that it was earlier so careful to distance itself from. As well as the “techniques” of philosophy (e.g. logical reasoning, identifying arguments and fallacies), Psychologists could learn much from the Big Issues – the definition of consciousness, the mind-body debate, the role of faith in thinking, free-will vs. determinism, and ethics.
#43. Introducing Statistics
The first statistical quality control test for industry was devised by the statistician and chemist William Sealy Gosset, a master brewer at Guinness in the early years of the 20th century. Since Gosset was bound by his appointment not to publish under his own name (perhaps because Guinness didn’t want rival breweries to know that they were training some of their scientific staff in statistical theory), he adopted the pseudonym “Student”.
#44. Invisible Influence
‘Snob effects’ describe cases in which an individual’s demand for goods or services is negatively correlated with market demand. The more other people who own or use something, the less interested new people are in buying or using it.
#45. Laws of Human Nature
The first step toward becoming rational is to understand our fundamental irrationality. There are two factors that should render this more palatable to our egos: nobody is exempt from the irresistible effect of emotions on the mind, not even the wisest among us; and to some extent irrationality is a function of the structure of our brains and is wired into our very nature by the way we process emotions.
#46. Laws of UX
A key responsibility we have as designers is to ensure the interfaces we create augment human capabilities and experiences, and don’t distract from or deter them.
#47. Logic Made Easy
Negation is a fundamental con- cept in reasoning, a concept so basic to our everyday thinking that no known language is without its negative terms.
#48. Making sense of data
Bias can be introduced in situations where only those responding to the questionnaire are included in the survey since this group may not represent an unbiased random sample. The questionnaire should contain no leading questions, that is, questions that favor a particular response.
#49. Mapping Experiences
Value is a much richer, more dynamic concept than cost involving human behavior and emotions. Value is a perceived benefit.
#50. Methods in Behavioral Research
Determining cause and explaining behavior are particularly closely related because it is difficult ever to know the true cause or all the causes of any behavior.
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#51. Mindful Design
What good, responsible design gives us is the luxury of cognitive headroom. By operating efficiently and simplifying complex tasks, an uncluttered interface puts
itself in the best position to be impactful when necessary.
Emotional triggers are related to the trauma of some sort. The trauma leaves marks on you that leave you reacting strongly to things that resemble or remind you of the traumatic event. For example, someone who was abused may be triggered by hearing something his or her abuser would frequently say, or someone with PTSD from war may be triggered by cars backfiring. Learning to understand what emotional triggers are is the first step toward learning how to correct them.
#53. Observing the user experience
Card sorting is primarily an organizational or naming technique, but you can also use it to understand how people prioritize features.
#54. Out of my skull
Boredom is the feeling we get when we want to engage our mental capacity but fail to do so, leaving our mind unoccupied. It’s well known that we feel our emotions, but we don’t often stop to consider that we also feel our thinking.
If you talk to these extraordinary people, you find that they all understand this at one level or another. They may be unfamiliar with the concept of cognitive adaptability, but they seldom buy into the idea that they have reached the peak of their fields because they were the lucky winners of some genetic lottery. They know what is required to develop the extraordinary skills that they possess because they have experienced it firsthand.
#56. Principles of UX
The icing we want to add to our interfaces are things that make us smile and think, ‘hey they’ve gone that extra mile to make this design really cool’. It helps build a connection with our audience.
Setting expectations is based on a psychological technique known as priming. When you prime your audience, you guide their attention and focus.
#58. Psychology for Designers
The biggest problem is that it pigeon-holes people into binary choices. Either extrovert or introvert. Thinking or feeling. Human behaviour is not that black or white. I'm introvert in the morning when I've just woken up and extrovert just after three cups of coffee.
#59. Putting the Humanities PhD to Work
Impact has a great deal to do with connection. As an emerging scholar, you learn how to draw connec- tions among people, movements, ideas, and more.
Once you understand this basic “law of the universe,” there are three simple steps to getting whatever you want: first, think about it—focus on the positive and not the negative. The second step is to believe in what you want and have faith that it will soon be yours. The third step is to receive the idea of having what you want, feeling as you will once you get it.
#61. Remote Research
Many people are still skeptical about remote research because it’s new. Some people believe you can’t get good results without seeing users’ faces.
Why we do things that hurt us remains one of the greatest mysteries of the human mind. It seems so contradictory; most of our actions are motivated by things that give us pleasure, pride, love, a sense of mastery. It’s called the pleasure principle, and it explains a great deal of human behavior. Why, then, do we sometimes do things that can be predicted to make us feel bad or get in the way of what we want?
#63. Science Fictions
Trying to correct for bias in science by injecting an equal and opposite dose of bias only compounds the problem, and potentially invites a vicious cycle of ever-increasing division between different ideological camps.
#64. Scientific Writing
Writing a good scientific article is as much an exercise in clear and focused thinking as it is in clear and accurate writing.
#65. Seeing what others don’t
Coincidences are chance concurrences that should be ignored except that every so often they provide us with an early warning about a new pattern.
#66. Seeking Wisdom
Dopamine is involved in the brain's reward and motivation system, and in addiction. High levels of dopamine are believed to increase feelings of pleasure and relieve pain.
The decisions that we expect we will make based on our finely developed plans are often different from how we actually behave. We get sidetracked.
#68. Six Circles
A person’s memory is more likey to recoganise elements than recall them so designs need to reflect this fact - Recognition over recall.
#69. Start with Why
There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.
#70. Storytelling in Design
Emotional storytelling also creates positive associations with the brand in question by linking positive images with the objective behind your marketing campaign. And last, marketing that involves emotional storytelling appeals to emotions instead of reason and gives the user an experience.
#71. Streetlights and Shadows
In complex settings in which we have to take the context into account, we can’t codify all the work in a set of procedures. No matter how comprehensive the procedures, people probably will run into some- thing unexpected and will have to use their judgment.
Much information is irrelevant to our goals; we can often rely on others’ skill and expertise; acquiring knowledge takes time and effort; we might intrinsically value certain kinds of ignorance; and we operate in an environment in which the ability to make strategic commitments, socially signal, and satisfy other people’s direct preferences over our own epistemic states is often more important to us than simple cognitive gains.
#73. Talking to Strangers
Why are we so bad at detecting lies? You’d think we’d be good at it. Logic says that it would be very useful for human beings to know when they are being deceived. Evolution, over many millions of years, should have favored people with the ability to pick up the subtle signs of deception. But it hasn’t.
#74. The Art of Logic
Emotions and logic do not have to be enemies. Logic works perfectly in the abstract mathematical world, but life is more complicated than that. Life involves humans, and humans have emotions.
#75. The Behavioural Science Annual
People never evolved to work in offices and factories; these environments and hazards are brand new. So we invented solutions that work with our hardwired perception, risk taking and emotional judgement.
#76. The Courage to be Disliked
But if you change your lifestyle—the way of giving meaning to the world and yourself—then both your way of interacting with the world and your behavior will have to change as well. Do not forget this point: One will have to change. You, just as you are, have to choose your lifestyle. It might seem hard, but it is really quite simple.
#77. The Elephant in the Brain
We can’t always take animal behavior at face value—that’s the main lesson to draw from the preceding examples. The surface-level logic of a behavior often belies deeper, more complex motives. And this is true even in species whose lives are much simpler than our own.
#78. The Intelligence Trap
Many cognitive scientists divide our thinking into two categories: ‘system 1’, intuitive, automatic, ‘fast thinking’ that may be prey to unconscious biases; and ‘system 2’, ‘slow’, more analytical, deliberative thinking. According to this view – called dual-process theory – many of our irrational decisions come when we rely too heavily on system 1, allowing those biases to muddy our judgement.
#79. The Person and the Situation
Why are people so much influenced by the attitudes and behavior of other people, even of other people whom they do not know and who have no control over their lives? Some of the most interesting theoretical work of the social sciences has centered on answering this question.
#80. The Power of Experiment
Sometimes you don’t have a hypothesis. In these cases, experiments can still help with fact finding to help you get a sense of what might be missing from existing frameworks.
#81. The Shared World
Perspective-taking is the ability to work out, by a feat of imagination, how things are from viewpoints, and for minds, that are not your own. It is the ability to construe a triangle, the dotted lines with soft italic letters that connect your own position, the position of your fellow perceiver, and the object of your interest. Once construed, your imagination can move between the corners of the triangle, shifting between your own standpoint and that of the fellow perceiver and fellow being.
#82. The Squiggly Career
Using your values as a decision-making filter means you’re less likely to be distracted by what we call ‘shiny objects’ like salaries, job titles or a swanky office. These things might give you short-term satisfaction but can’t compete with the opportunity to live your values at work.
#83. The User Experience Team of One
Sketching is an activity that should be familiar to pretty much all of humanity. It’s when you sit down with pen and paper and allow yourself to start drawing out your ideas.
#84. The user’s Journey
Neuroscientists have shown that when you listen to or watch a story, it’s as if you are experiencing the story in real time. As action rises, your pulse might quicken or your palms get sweaty. Something startles you, and you jump. Stories are not just about looking or listening, they are about being.
#85. The Shallows
Our ways of thinking, perceiving, and acting, we now know, are not entirely determined by our genes. Nor are they entirely determined by our childhood experiences. We change them through the way we live.
#86. Theory of Fun
Experts have been telling us for a while now that we’re not really “conscious” in the way that we think we are; we do most things on autopilot. But autopilot only works when we have a reasonably accurate picture of the world around us.
#87. Think Again
Reason thereby affects actions, because actions are based on motivations and emotions, and those motivations and emotions are shaped by beliefs and reasons.
#88. Think like a UX Researcher
Knowing something in your head is different from believ- ing something in your gut. This means it may take a while before they change your own behavior.
#89. Think like Einstein
The Gambler’s Fallacy is more so a fundamental misunderstanding of statistics and probability. And again, just like confusing correlation with causation, it’s an incredibly easy trap to fall into because it just seems to make sense. But that’s because we are thinking based on feelings and emotions, not based on the cold hard logic and facts.
#90. Thinking in Bets
Our brains evolved to create certainty and order. We are uncomfortable with the idea that luck plays a significant role in our lives. We recognize the existence of luck, but we resist the idea that, despite our best efforts, things might not work out the way we want.
We make decisions based on a bounded rationality, not the unbounded rationality of the decision maker modeled after an omniscient god. But bounded rationality is also not of one kind. There is a group of economists, for example, who look at the bounds or constraints in the environment that affect how a decision is made. This study is called “optimization under constraints,” and many Nobel prizes have been awarded in this area. Using the concept of bounded rationality from this perspective, you realize that an organism has neither unlimited resources nor unlimited time. So one asks, given these constraints, what’s the optimal solution?
#92. Thinking Fast and Slow
There are two ideas to keep in mind about Bayesian reasoning and how we tend to mess it up. The first is that base rates matter, even in the presence of evidence about the case at hand. This is often not intuitively obvious. The second is that intuitive impressions of the diagnosticity of evidence are often exaggerated.
#93. Thinking Mathematically
Our personal propensities are not easy to change. Such change will only come about by carefully and calmly observing them and not by heavy self-criticism. With practice, more and more emotional snapshots will be taken, awareness of your states will increase, and then, when in a particular moment there is also sufficient awareness, change will take place.
The more you continually open yourself to the world, however, the further your boat will go and the more you can benefit from the people and opportunities around you. And if you’re truly fortunate, you can even enter ecstatic moments of peak experience—where you are really catching the wind.
#95. Universal Principles of Design
People strive to have consistency among their attitudes, thoughts, and beliefs. Cognitive dissonance is the state of mental discomfort that occurs when a person’s attitudes, thoughts, or beliefs (i.e., cognitions) conflict. If two cognitions agree with one another, there is consonance, and a state of comfort results. If two cognitions disagree with one another, there is dissonance, and a state of discomfort results.
Upstream thinking is a new feature of our brains. There are only two areas of concern that seem to reliably trigger our upstream instincts: our kids and our teeth.
#97. User Story Mapping
The minimum viable solution is the smallest solution release that successfully achieves its desired outcomes. It is also the smallest thing you could create or do to prove or dis‐ prove an assumption.
#98. UX Strategy
Doing the right research, talking to the right kinds of folks, asking them the right kinds of questions, and observing the right kinds of behavior that can be analyzed and appropriately inform strategy and delivery .
#99. Validating Product Ideas
Exploring how people solve a problem today helps you come up with a great idea tomorrow, since the best predictor of future behavior is current behavior.
#100. What’s your Problem
Feeling frustrated isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s a normal part of the process. At first it might be annoying that you no longer have a “simple” view of the problem—but generally, that’s balanced out by the benefits of not solving the wrong problem.
One book is enough to change the career & life course. With this vision, hope you find the one book that will give you direction. Also please share this post with your friends who might be interested in behavioural science books.
PS: The more I am reading, the more I realise that the less I know. Nevertheless, if you want to do a discussion about any particular book or topic, please reach out to me via my email firstname.lastname@example.org. This post is also listed on my personal website.