Automatic thinking vs the reflexive system. That was one of the topics covered in last nights talk by psychology guru Lauren Kelly. Hosted by General Assembly at Huckletree, we learnt the basic principles of designing with the user’s cognitive functions in mind.

Lauren works at Dura, a psychology-first design studio who harness the way people think and creating solutions for those who have problems to solve.

So….decision making. We have two systems. One is automatic thinking which we do quickly and effectively and is normally reactive and immediate. The second is a reflexive system which is used in problem solved and involves ration and logic.

Here is an example.

Image result for pickpocket sign

We may think signs like these would create crime in the area to decrease…but this is wrong and here is why.

Our automatic thinking kicks in and we immediately check our wallets, phones and purses. This shows the thieves where our valuable are…not the smartest move.

IMG_8959.JPG‘To design we have to understand people. And psychology is the perfect tool.’

Humans automatically choose gain over loss – and that is something important to consider. A study showed that when people with lung cancer were given a treatment’s mortality rate, fewer chose this option than the people who were presented with the survival rate of the same treatment. It’s the glass half full / glass half empty scenario. Always think about how the user will perceive your information or product – what will they gain from it?

Uber is a great example of this. The surge charge often turns a lot of people off. Having to pay a fare and then extra money on top feels like two negatives. However, if Uber had created their standard charge as the current surge charge – then every other journey would be a saving – creating more gains than losses.

But of course, with changing the way people think, Lauren describes how she is always considering the ethics…”it’s really important. There’s a fine line between nudges and manipulation”

‘Attitude follows behaviour, as designers we need to aware of this when we are encouraging certain behaviors with design..’

Find out more about Dura here