Cooties, Conversion, Brain Reboots, and Habits – Roger’s Picks
Here are the most intriguing and useful articles I’ve found in the last week, plus a summary of my own new content. Enjoy!
We know from Daniel Kahneman’s work that our brains will take mental shortcuts whenever possible, including when we make important decisions. Margarita Tartakovsky (@Mtartakovsky) shares 4 Questions to Ask Yourself to Make Good Decisions to help kick your brain into a more logical and informed decision process.
The way we organize our work and our day is probably far from optimum. McGill psychologist Daniel Levitin (@danlevitin), writing at the NYTimes, explains how our “daydreaming” mode of thinking is essential for creativity and problem-solving but is turned off by attentional interruptions from email, social media, etc. Levitin tells you how to Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain.
Can an apparently innocuous app manipulate you into letting the world know you are using it? The wildly popular Kardashian Game does just that, as Nir Eyal (@nireyal) explains in The Sneaky Trick Behind the Explosive Growth of the Kardashian Game. After you read this, you’ll be taking a second look at the apps and software you use, looking for booby traps that make you click, share, etc.
Habits are a powerful controller of human behavior, in part because they are automatic. Once a habit is formed, we engage in that behavior with little or no conscious awareness. Rick Nauert of Psych Central (@PsychCentral) explains how habits form and how they can be changed in Examining the Force of Habits, Seen and Unseen.
Despite the periodic assertions that “SEO is dead,” search engine optimization remains an important part of driving organic traffic to websites. But can you overdo it? Kissmetrics (@KISSmetrics) says that you can indeed do too much, and explains how not to get carried away in How to Avoid Over-Optimizing Your Website.
We have to agree with the title of the latest Mitch Joel (@mitchjoel) podcast: Marketers Don’t Really Understand Consumer Behavior. In this episode, Mitch talks with Tom Asacker (@TomAsacker) about the psychology that most marketers ignore. Not breaking news to Neuromarketing readers, but Mitch’s conversations always produce interesting insights.
Everybody hates forms, but every website has one or more of the annoying features. For many websites, the form is the gateway to conversion and the culmination of the entire marketing effort. Sherice Jacob (@sherice), in a Crazy Egg (@CrazyEgg) article, provides some counter-intuitive data on the topic in What You Thought You Knew About Forms May Be Wrong, Study Says.
Here’s the second habit-related find of the week. (Are habit links becoming a habit?) Neuroscientist and foodie (or should I say foodist?) Darya Rose (@summertomato) explores food-related behaviors in When Is a Habit Not a Habit? Food habits are certainly some of the trickiest with their direct path into our reward system, but Darya offers simple ways to control our behavior.
There are plenty of obvious reasons to blog. It adds fresh content to your website. It offers visitors a reason to return and subscribe. It demonstrates the writer’s expertise. But Mark Schaefer (@markwschaefer) digs deeper when he gives you Five unexpected benefits of blogging. I’d add a sixth: I’ve always felt a little psychic boost (dopamine?) when I complete a good (in my opinion) post and hit “publish.” Other bloggers I’ve spoken to feel that, too. Great for turning blogging into a habit!
Readers here totally get the idea that non-conscious factors control a lot of human behavior, but Joel Weinberger has both devoted his academic career to the topic as well as built a business around it. Catch the latest Brainfluence Podcast, Ep #19 – Probing the Subconscious with Joel Weinberger to get Joel’s insights. You can also listen via iTunes or read the transcript on the show notes page.
One of the more bizarre aspects of consumer behavior is product contagion – the ability of one product to touch another and “magically” transfer its properties to another. It works with people, too. Read about new research on the effect of touch and how to reverse it in The Cootie Effect: Touch, Contagion, and Magical Thinking.
We’ve been fortunate to have some great guest authors lately, and the newest contribution is a strong one indeed. The Neuroscience of Conversion Optimization, written by Nick Kolenda (@NickKolenda), takes a brain-oriented look at factors that can improve bottom-line results from your website.
Feel free to add your own great find in a comment!