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Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do Hardcover – December, 2002

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews


It is rare for books to define a new discipline or fundamentally change how we think about technology and our jobs. This book does all of this. You MUST read this book, whether to grow your business or to teach your children how to overcome manipulation.
--Jakob Nielsen, Principal, Nielsen Norman Group

Today's technology is used to change attitudes and behavior. This powerful, yet easy-to-read book addresses the issues critically, with insight, and in depth. B.J. Fogg has created an important new discipline, one that is of vital importance to everyone.
--Donald A. Norman, Northwestern University, Co-founder, The Nielsen Norman Group

Any medium has the potential to do great good or harm. Learn how to use design to intervene and make our interaction with technology more humane. A must read for those who are serious about designing the future.
--Clement Mok, Designer and CEO of CMCD --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

Defines an emerging field that studies the overlap of computers and persuasion --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Sagebrush Education Resources (December 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0613915828
  • ISBN-13: 978-0613915823
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Stan Kachnowski on August 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
Dr. Fogg makes several critical points that are essential to improving the US healthcare system, particularly in the area of preventative disease:
* Computers offer an advantage over traditional persuasive media because they are interactive.
* As a tool, computers can be persuasive by making target behavior easier to do.
* Leading a user through a process aids in persuasion.
* Persuasive technologies often perform calculations or measurements that motivate.
* As a medium, a computer will be persuasive if it allows users to explore cause-and-effect relationships.
* Computing technologies that help people rehearse a behavior can be persuasive.
* Persuasive technologies can provide users with vicarious experiences that motivate them to change their behavior.
* By rewarding people with positive feedback, computers act as persuaders.
* Persuasive technologies often model a target behavior or attitude.
* Computers that create a relationship with the user and provide social support are effective persuaders.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By "mersenne001" on January 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
Although much has been made of the secondary effects of technology--such as how "Email makes everyone a writer"--Fogg's book is the first that I am aware of to explicitly look at how computers themselves can be used as agents to change how people behave and think. As such, Fogg breaks a lot of new ground, giving a theoretical framework and practical advice for understanding how computers and the world-wide web work as persuasive media. Fogg wisely defines computers broadly: essentially, any interactive technology is a computing device, from the common desktop computer to a heart-rate monitor that gives feedback and analysis to the wearer.
Of particular note: Chapter 7 deals with what makes a web-site believable, and should be required reading for any web designer or content developer who wants surfers to change an action or belief based on their site, whether that action is as simple as returning to that site again and again or as complicated as stopping smoking. This chapter alone will be worth having the entire book on your shelf.
Another insight Fogg makes that struck me is how computers differ from traditional media in their ability to persuade: computers can adapt (within their programming of course) the message, its frequency and many other variables based on the response of the user. Television and print can't do that. This ability gives computers great power to persuade, closer in some ways to a human adapting a speech based on crowd response. Of course, computers have many advantages as persuasive agents that humans do not, such as the ability to provide anonymity and simulation of events. Persuasive Technology is filled with similar insights.
This is a very accessible book. Easy to skim when it deals with something less relevant to you. (Fogg's background in information design shows to great benefit.)
All in all worth the read.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Cate Riegner on January 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
It's 2003 and the initial excitement, innovation and greed that fueled the technology boom of the late 90s have all but disappeared. Yet left in their tracks are the tangible building blocks of an industry destined to continue changing commerce, education and social activism in profound and irreversible ways.
For a fresh perspective on the forces shaping next-phase software and Web development, look no further than "Persuasive Technology" by Dr. B.J. Fogg, director of the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University. Surely, academic research may fail to generate the enthusiasm of erstwhile launch parties and public offerings, but Dr. Fogg's work offers a purposeful key to helping us understand, and thereby design, more effective and sustainable (read: revenue-generating) interactive technologies.
Proposing a new analytical model called "captology", short for "computers as persuasive technologies", Dr. Fogg is the first to address the increasingly important role of computers in actuating attitudinal and behavioral change - in other words, the ability to persuade users to take a particular action: to buy more, play more, lose weight, quit smoking, register to win, etc. For technology researchers accustom to the tenets of Usability - essentially the evaluation of functionality and "likability" - captology goes a significant step further, addressing the extent to which an interactive device (be it a website or mobile phone) succeeds in changing users' attitudes and behaviors. The importance of this research is unquestionable, if you can imagine (or personally relate to) an online marketer anxious to sell more goods, or a smoker who turns to a motivational website to help him/her quit.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Janice Thomas on April 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
Persuasive Technology is a must read for any technology or public health professional attempting to build a framework for using technology to influence behavior change, particularly for someone attempting to build one for the first time.

B.J. Fogg shares his experience in an easy to understand writing style that is both interesting and practical. He demonstrates the potential for using persuasive technologies while also providing a framework that helps bring order to this vast and rapidly changing subject area.

An experienced telecommunications product development professional and MPH candidate, I have recently been researching the options and considerations for applying technology to Public Health; this book provided immediate context and perspective on the environment, undoubtedly saving me much time and effort.

Given my bias as a product development professional, an unexpected but pleasant surprise was the series of principles defined throughout and substantiated by specific research or commercial examples (also summarized in the appendix for easy reference). By synthesizing his conclusions through these principles, Fogg shares his experience in a practical manner that makes it easy to integrate his insights into the development process, to help profile strategies, screen concepts, and stimulate ideas. I expect most of these principles will hold true, regardless how technology and applications evolve.

Hopefully we will see more on the subject from BJ Fogg and his Persuasive Technology lab; more observations on the use of mobile applications would be of particular interest to this reader.
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