People often ask me what they need to read in order to work in Behavioral Product Strategy. My answer? There is no curriculum of everything you should know.
I’ve found the following useful:
- Behavioral economics helps me to understand how people make decisions and judgments around concepts of value
- The study of individual differences and personality helps me to understand users better, how to interpret that information better, and how to translate that into behavior change
- The study of the psychology of self-regulation helps me to understand how people set, strive for, and achieve (or fail to achieve) their User Goals. This is useful in messaging, in Gamification, in Behavioral Product Strategy, and more. In the linked twitter thread, I mentioned some papers that were particularly interesting to me.
I often get asked what to read about the psychology of goal setting. While of course there is no curriculum of everything you should know about behavioral science to practice it https://t.co/r3ePolrN8W, these are some of the things that I find interesting. https://t.co/v3or6Oy7Md— Robert Haisfield (@RobertHaisfield) July 14, 2020
- The study of information behavior tells me how people interact with and search for information. This has been useful for me in thinking about onboarding and information architecture/navigation.
- The study of game design shows me a million and one ways that real designers have attempted to influence people’s behavior through a digital design. The thing to remember is that Game designers have been designing for digital behavior change for longer than just about anyone.
Other practitioners have found the following useful (though I’ve barely stuck my toes in):
- The psychology of emotions
- Evolutionary psychology
- Cultural psychology
People are incredibly complex, so it would be impossible to say “this is all you need to know about people.”
I would even struggle to say “you need to at least know this.” The point is that you need to understand the nuance of how/when/why it works in order to use a finding, which you're not going to find in a list of heuristics and biases. The study of people is so broad in nature and there’s so much that can be useful within it to the people who are able to apply conceptual knowledge, that you might as well just follow curiosity unconditionally. It’ll be more enjoyable.
Even if there were a curriculum, then If I read what everybody else is reading, then I’ll think like everybody else.