Category Archives: Motivation

The Motivational Mojo of MapMyRun’s Year in Review

The Motivational Mojo of MapMyRun's Year in ReviewContinuing the thread of year-end wrap-ups that press the levers of motivation (see my post on TripAdvisor here, and Blue Apron here), I wanted to share the year in review that I found the most inspirational of all, from MapMyRun.  I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with MapMyRun; it was the first program I ever used to log my running data, and they don’t make it easy to export, so even though I’ve come to like other running programs better, I stick with MapMyRun for data’s sake. Yes, I am neurotic. Continue reading The Motivational Mojo of MapMyRun’s Year in Review

Cooking with Competence: Blue Apron’s Year in Review

Cooking with Competence-Blue Apron's Year in ReviewAt the end of the year, a number of different programs and services I use sent me “year in review” type overviews, similar to the one from TripAdvisor I wrote about earlier this week. In terms of motivating ongoing interaction with the program or service, they vary in efficacy. One that did a pretty good job at reinforcing a sense of competence came from Blue Apron, the weekly cooking subscription service. Continue reading Cooking with Competence: Blue Apron’s Year in Review

Case Study Update: TripAdvisor’s Ongoing Competence and Relatedness Support

Case Study Update-Previously I wrote about the awesome job TripAdvisor does in designing a motivational experience for its users. In particular, I claimed that TripAdvisor is outstanding at fostering a sense of competence. They provide tons of feedback about how many reviews you’ve written, how they break out into categories, who’s reading and liking them, and how you can achieve increasingly greater tiers of reviewer glory on their platform. A TripAdvisor reviewer always knows what he or she has accomplished and how to do the next bit more. Continue reading Case Study Update: TripAdvisor’s Ongoing Competence and Relatedness Support

Self-Determination Theory for Leaders and Managers

Self-Determination TheoryAlthough I’ve usually thought about motivation in terms of changing health behaviors, and often with a technology angle, the principles of motivation are actually well-applied in many different contexts. Take managing or leading people for an example: Motivation at work has the same ingredients as motivation for health, although the way those ingredients is manifested may look different. Continue reading Self-Determination Theory for Leaders and Managers

Teachers’ Motivation, Semester-End Excuses: A Plea to College Students

Teachers' Motivation, Students' Excuses-With the end of the year and final exams approaching, many students are scrambling to find ways to either boost their grades or postpone their deadlines. That means that all over the world, teachers are suddenly fielding a thick flurry of emails containing variations on a theme. If you are the grandparent of a college student, you should be very fearful for your health and indeed your life around the time of final exams. Science has shown grandmothers are a whopping 19 times more likely to die before their grandchild’s final exams (when proof of death is the grandchild’s say-so). Continue reading Teachers’ Motivation, Semester-End Excuses: A Plea to College Students

” Goldilocksing” on Choice: How Much Is the Right Amount?

-Goldilocksing- On ChoiceSelf-determination theory, at a high level, would predict that giving people choice is a good thing. Giving people the opportunity to choose seems like it would be a great way to support a sense of autonomy. But research also shows that too much choice makes people unhappy. They may struggle to choose, feel less satisfied with their eventual choice, or even opt out of the choice entirely (Iyengar, 2010). And that’s not even getting into issues of individual preferences around choices. Continue reading ” Goldilocksing” on Choice: How Much Is the Right Amount?

Treat Yo’ Self: How To Use Rewards to Effectively Promote New Habits

Treat Yo' SelfMost of us are familiar with the idea of a self-reward. If you want to lose weight, you might decide to give yourself a new pair of shoes when you hit a milestone. Maybe you only watch your favorite tv show after you finish doing your least favorite work task. Or, to borrow a provocative example from Kathleen Milkman, maybe you only eat your most favorite hamburger when spending time with your least favorite person (for those of you with cranky relatives). If you do use self-rewards, psychology can help make them more effective for you. Continue reading Treat Yo’ Self: How To Use Rewards to Effectively Promote New Habits

The So-Far Wasted Potential of Big Data

The So-Far Wasted Potential of Big DataBig data has been a very hot topic in both technology and behavior science for some time now. People quickly grasp the possibilities big data opens. Theoretically, we can combine all sorts of rich information about individuals, from their shopping habits to their web browsing to their health records to their traffic violations, and use it to engage them in a product, sell them a service, or guide them to better health (I had to add at least one truly prosocial use there).  Continue reading The So-Far Wasted Potential of Big Data

Case Study: Duolingo’s Seductive New Look

Case Study-As far as online experiences that embed motivational design principles, Duolingo is the best I’ve seen. This free gamified language learning tool incorporates all three of the fundamental needs described by self-determination theory in a natural, engaging way. Although someone obviously thought very carefully about how to design the Duolingo program to maximize motivation, the experience feels very organic to the user (unlike some solutions that tack gamified elements on without a logical purpose). Continue reading Case Study: Duolingo’s Seductive New Look

A Self-Determination Theory Perspective on the Boston 2024 Olympics Bid

amybucherphd.comIn January of 2015, the US Olympic Committee chose the city of Boston as their candidate to host the 2024 Olympics. This selection meant that the USOC would put together a campaign to win the right to host the 2024 Winter Games, granted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Unfortunately, the committee that petitioned the USOC for the bid and created the initial hosting plans did not consult the citizens of Boston. As residents became aware of the specifics of the bid and what it might mean for the city, approval ratings for the Olympics dropped in the city. Eventually, after the mayor of Boston stated that he could not commit to the contract as written before further investigation*, the USOC decided to drop Boston as its candidate. Continue reading A Self-Determination Theory Perspective on the Boston 2024 Olympics Bid