As described in The Kurt Lewin Equation, people’s behavior is influenced by the relationship between who they are and the context of their situation. While the user is paying attention, the app controls a portion of the user’s digital context. As such, app design exerts significant influence over user behavior, whether you designed it intentionally with this purpose in mind or not.
The large majority of behavioral science research can effectively be summarized as “here’s how this environmental factor impacts people’s behavior.” Usually there will be existing research and behavioral theory that gives us better mental models through which to make product decisions.
The crux at the center of effective Behavioral Product Strategy is that you need to understand how behavior works in order to intentionally form interactions between your software and your users. You are always designing for behavior change, so being aware of your influence reduces risk and creates new opportunities.
Game designers have been designing for digital behavior change for longer than just about anyone, so they have some suggestions for how to handle this.