User (Experience) Design and Autonomous Thinking

Nowadays persuasive tactics, motivational theories and analyses from behaviour research are being used to spread opinions, sell products or glue people to their screens. We experience these theories of influence in our everyday lives through (social) media, whose grip we can hardly escape, but also in public spaces (in supermarkets, restaurants or during leisure activities). I want to use these techniques in applications which empower transparency and have an explanatory, constructive effect on individuals and society. Why shouldn’t it be evident to use behaviour theories to encourage independent thinking, to inspire learning or to motivate people to realise their own initiatives?

Wouldn’t this be the only morally justifiable use for such knowledge?

Digitalisation and Gamification

“Games are fun.”

– Yes

… And no.

Games have unique abilities when it comes to exciting, animating and engaging people – on one hand. On the flipside, there are well known dangers like game addiction, isolation and loneliness.

With the rising gamification of our digital systems, we are also conducting more research into the influence and manipulation of individuals through interactive experiences. Virtual reality is at our doorstep and with an expected increase of technology and digital tools in our everyday lives, games and gamifications are also likely to move into our homes. An improvement! If they are the “right” applications: Tools which foster human development instead of simply putting us into a bubble of entertainment and comfort.