This is a hyperlinked version of the references section of the Evil By Design book. I’ve provided it here to make it easier for readers of the physical book to find the referenced items. There’s a bibliography too.

Introduction | Pride | Sloth | Gluttony | Envy | Anger | Lust | Greed | Summary


Tom Sawyer quote: Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1884) via Project Gutenberg


Saint Augustine quote: “Humilitas homines sanctis angelis similes facit, et superbia ex angelis demones facit.” as quoted in Manipulus Florum (c. 1306), edited by Thomas Hibernicus

Cognitive dissonance

Leon Festinger proposed the theory of cognitive dissonance after he studied the aftermath of Dorothy Martin’s Dec 21 1954 end of the world prediction. Yes, these predictions seem to happen with alarming frequency: Leon Festinger. A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. (1957) Row, Peterson.

Harold Camping quote from, retrieved January 2012

Ig Nobel prize winners, by yearWinners of the Ig® Nobel Prize Improbable Research ( retrieved November 2012

Repeat positive messages

Milgram’s sky experiment (group size): Stanley Milgram, Leonard Bickman, Lawrence Berkowitz Note on the drawing power of crowds of different size. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 13(2), Oct 1969, 79-82.

Testimonials suggestions come from my unpublished research into trust conducted at Microsoft Corp.

13% purchased without using internet, number of bad reviews to deter shoppers: When was the last time you made a purchase without researching online first? Lightspeed Research ( April 11, 2011, retrieved December 2012.

FTC guidelines: FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. (Oct 2009)

Personal messages hit home

Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia appeal statsFundraising 2011 Wikimedia meta-wiki ( retrieved November 2012

Facebook Sponsored Stories graphic:  Sponsored Stories in Marketplace (PDF) FaceBook for Business site ( retrieved November 2012

Gain public commitment to a decision

Failing resolutions: John C. Norcross and Dominic J. Vangarelli. The resolution solution: Longitudinal examination of New Year’s change attempts. Journal of Substance Abuse 1.2 (1989): 127-134.

Change opinions by emphasizing similarities

Colbert seen as serious by Repubicans: Heather L. LaMarre, , Kristen D. Landreville, Michael A. Beam The Irony of Satire: Political Ideology and the Motivation to See What You Want to See in The Colbert Report. The International Journal of Press/Politics 14.2 (2009): 212-231

Colbert’s “Problem with Republicans” quote is from an interview at the John F Kennedy Forum, Kennedy School of Government, Institute of Politics, Harvard University, 12/1/06.

Colbert photo: Joel Jefferies via Comedy Central press site

Forer’s study: Bertram. R. Forer The Fallacy of Personal Validation: a Classroom Demonstration of Gullibility. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 44 (1949): 118-121

Use images of certification/endorsement security images: Do Security Icons Really Increase Conversions? A/B Test Results from May 03, 2006

B.J. Fogg’s elements of Web site credibility: B.J. Fogg Persuasive Technology. Morgan Kaufmann, 2003 p. 130

Sites displaying certification are less trustworthy: Benjamin Edelman. Adverse selection in online trust certifications. Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Electronic Commerce. ACM, 2009.

McAfee 12% claim: McAfee SECURE Service page,, retrieved November 2012.

Help people complete a set

Codecademy coding challenge: stats retrieved February 2012

Ian Bogost quote and screen image: Ian Bogost. Cow Clicker, The Making of Obsession. ( July 21 2012, retrieved November 2012

Zynga 12% of Facebook’s 2011 revenue: Facebook S1 (Initial Public Offering) filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, February 1 2012

Desire for order

Light switches: AWARE project. Swedish ICT Interactive Institute ( via Dan Lockton. Exploiting the desire for order. ( June 13 2008, retrieved November 2012

Toplinked quote retrieved from the site November 2008. TopLinked subsequently closed their Top 50 list because they claimed “almost all the people at the top of the list had reached the maximum number of LinkedIn connections.” Maybe it’s actually because only 4 of the top 10 were actually TopLinked members (the list was last updated 23 April 2009, when only the top 8 had 30k+ links).

LinkedIn’s philosophy: Patrick Crane. A guide to building the right connections ( November 9, 2008, Retrieved November 2012

Manipulating pride to change beliefs

Need for closure associated with dogmatism, need for order, conservatism: Donna M. Webster and Arie W. Kruglanski. Individual differences in need for cognitive closure. Journal of personality and social psychology 67.6 (1994): 1049.


Desire lines lead people through a process in the way we prefer

Greatest outcome for least work: George Kingsley Zipf. Human behavior and the principle of least effort. (1949): Addison-Wesley

Desire lines used for redesign of public spaces: Elizabeth Barlow Rogers. Rebuilding Central Park: A Management and Restoration Plan (1987) The MIT Press and Christopher Alexander, Murray Silverstein, Shlomo Angel, Sara Ishikawa and Denny Abrams The Oregon Experiment (1975) Oxford University Press

Path of least resistance

F-pattern for reading pages: Jakob Nielsen and Kara Pernice. Eyetracking Web Usability. (2010) New Riders, Berkeley, CA

Fallow areas: The fallow area concept comes from what is called the Gutenberg Diagram, devised by Edmund Arnold. Learn more in Colin Wheildon’s (2005) book Type & Layout: Are You Communicating or Just Making Pretty Shapes. The Worsley Press 978-1875750221

Mike Dean quote: Stephanie Clifford The High Cost of a ‘Free Credit Report.’ ( August 4, 2008, retrieved December 2012

Credit CARD act of 2009, Title II, Section 205 Prevention of deceptive marketing of credit reports

Advertising statistics: Tony Mecia. ‘Free’ credit report sites switch to offering ‘free’ scores. ( April 5 2010, retrieved December 2012

Reduced options and smart defaults

Toothpaste statistics: Ellen Byron. Whitens, Brightens and Confuses. ( February 23, 2011, retrieved December 2012

Confuse number of options with importance: Aner Sela and Jonah Berger. Decision Quicksand: When Trivial Choices Suck Us In. Journal of Consumer Research Vol 39, August 2012

Fewer options

Choice paralyzes us: Barry Schwartz (2004) The Paradox of Choice – Why More Is Less. Harper Perennial

Choice can be demotivating: Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper. When Choice is Demotivating: Can One Desire Too Much of a Good Thing? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 79 (2000): 995–1006

Present compatible choices: Jonah Berger, Michaela Draganska and Itamar Simonson. The Influence Of Product Variety On Brand Perception And Choice Marketing Science 26.4 (2007): 460–472

Recommendation engines: Xavier Amatriain and Justin Basilico. Netflix Recommendations: Beyond the 5 stars (Part 1). ( April 6 2012, retrieved December 2012.

Pre-pick your preferred option

Priming:Wikipedia provides a great introduction to priming effects.

Make options hard to find or understand

PC Pitstop EULA: Larry Magid. It Pays To Read License Agreements. ( Undated. Retrieved December 2012.

NebuAd: Representative Ed Markey. Key Lawmakers Question Local Provider Over Use of NebuAd Software Without Directly Notifying Customers. ( July 15 2008. Retrieved December 2012.

Embarq’s two responses:  Letter from David W. Zesiger, SVP Regulatory Policy & External Affairs, Embarq, July 21 2008 and letter from Tom Gerke, President and CEO, Embarq, July 23 2008 to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Facebook privacy: Mark Zuckerberg interview with Michael Arrington at the 2010 ‘Crunchie’ awards, San Francisco.

Privacy setting statistics: Mary Madden, Aaron Smith Reputation Management and Social Media. Pew Internet and American Life Project (2010)  

Negative options: don’t not sign up!

E-mail opt-in rates: Steven Bellman, Eric J. Johnson, and Gerald L. Lohse. On site: to opt-in or opt-out?: it depends on the question. Communications of the ACM 44.2 (2001): 25-27

FTC report: Negative Options: A Report by the staff of the FTC’s Division of Enforcement. Federal Trade Commission (Jan 2009)

Class Action Lawsuit: Complaint document, Martha Cornett v. Direct Brands Inc. and Bookspan, United States District Court, Southern District of California. Filed Aug 4, 2011.

Scholastic’s $710,000 fineChildren’s Book Publisher to Pay $710,000 to Settle Charges it Violated Commission’s Negative Option and Telemarketing Sales Rule. Federal Trade Commission ( June 21, 2005. Retrieved December 2012.

Discount clubs: Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee report on Aggressive Sales Tactics on the Internet and Their Impact on American Consumers ( Nov 17, 2009. Retrieved December 2012

Second report: Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee Supplemental Report on Aggressive Sales Tactics on the Internet. ( May 19, 2010. Retrieved December 2012

List of discount club partner sites: Ben Popken. 88 Big Sites Earning Millions From Webloyalty Scam. The Consumerist ( November 18, 2009. Retrieved December 2012.

Can you be bothered?

401k contribution: Brigitte C. Madrian and Dennis F. Shea. The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior. Quarterly Journal of Economics 116.4 (2001): 1149–1187

Multiple decisions: Jonathan Levav, Mark Heitmann, Andreas Herrmann, and Sheena S. Iyengar. Order in product customization decisions: Evidence from field experiments. Journal of Political Economy 118.2 (2010): 274-299.


Thomas Aquinas quote: Joseph Rickaby St. Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas. A Translation of the Principal Portions of the Second part of the Summa Theologica, with Notes. London: Burns and Oates (1892).

Deserving our rewards

Presence of heathy options: Keith Wilcox, Beth Vallen, Lauren G. Block and Gavan J. Fitzsimons Vicarious Goal Fulfillment: How the Mere Presence of a Healthy Option Leads to a Very Unhealthy Decision. Journal of Consumer Research 36 (2009): 380-393

Portion size increase: The new (Ab)Normal. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( Undated. Retrieved December 2012

Gluttony pants:

Women’s clothing sizes: Daily Chart: Size Inflation. Why a size 10 is really a size 14. The Economist Online ( April 4 2012, retrieved December 2012

Men’s clothing sizes: Abram Sauer. Are your pants lying to you? An investigation. Esquire ( September 7, 2010, retrieved December 2012

Make customers work for a reward

Canadian Tire money used to buy mower: Jasmine Franklin Man saves Canadian Tire money for 15 years, buys mower. Toronto Sun ( July 13, 2011. Retrieved March 2013.

Corin Raymond: Don’t Spend It Honey! Corin Raymond’s Live Album Fundraiser (

Seth Priebatsch coupon value: Seth Priebatsch. How ‘Game Mechanics’ Can Help Your Startup. Huffington Post ( March 11, 2010, retrieved December 2012

Consider a small reward rather than a big one

Mechanical Turk is addictive: personalbugmenot. Is turking addictive? Turker Nation forum ( October 7, 2012, retrieved December 2012

Earnings analysis: Compiled from information supplied by forum contributors at and Obviously, one way to verify the majority of this information would be to run a HIT that requires Turkers to paste their earnings record into the results.

Cognitive dissonance between effort and return: Leon Festinger and James Carlsmith Cognitive consequences of forced compliance. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 58.2 (1959): 203-210

Hide the math

Stats from 166,000 Swoopo auctions (he doesn’t hide the math!): Ned Augenblick. Consumer and producer behavior in the market for penny auctions: A theoretical and empirical analysis. Unpublished manuscript. (2009).

List of penny auction sites: Charnita Fance. Best Online Penny Auction Sites Reviewed And Compared. To Muse ( Undated. Retrieved December 2012. (likely an SEO-optimizing spam review, so not linking directly – go to

Irrational escalation of commitment: Barry M. Staw Knee-deep in the Big Muddy: A Study of Escalating Commitment to a Chosen Course of Action. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance 16(1) (1976): 27-44

Show the problems

Machiavelli quote: Niccolo Machiavelli (1532) The Prince (via Project Gutenberg)

Trustworthiness study: Graham Dietz & Nicole Gillespie (2011) Building and Restoring Organisational Trust. London: Institute of Business Ethics and Graham Dietz & Nicole Gillespie (2012) The Recovery of Trust: Case studies of organisational failures and trust repair. London: Institute of Business Ethics

Cost per customer2012 Data Protection & Breach Readiness Guide Online Trust Alliance (

Blumenthal letter to Sony: Senator Richard Blumenthal. Blumenthal Demands Answers from Sony over Playstation Data Breach. ( April 26, 2011. Retrieved December 2012.

Sony’s admittance of a breach: Patrick Seybold. Update on PlayStation Network and Qrocity. PlayStation Blog ( April 26 2011, retrieved December 2012.

University of Michigan Health System statistics: Full Disclosure of Medical Errors Reduces Malpractice Claims and Claim Costs for Health System. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Innovation Exchange (part of the US Government Department of Health and Human Services) ( June 23 2010, retrieved December 2012

Lexington KY VA Medical Center statistics: Proactive Reporting, Investigation, Disclosure, and Remedying of Medical Errors Leads to Similar or Lower Than Average Malpractice Claims Costs. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Innovation Exchange ( June 23, 2010, retrieved December 2012

Escalating commitment

80% of donations used for marketing: Millions in Future Donations to Vets Charity Will Pay Debt Owed to Vendors. American Institute of Philanthropy ( August 2010, retrieved December 2012


Fill in a survey: Nicolas Guéguen Foot-in-the-door technique and computer mediated communication. Computers in Human Behavior 18.1 (2002): 11-15


Guilt versus reciprocal concession: I use the term “ guilt” as a layman’s synonym for “reciprocal concession”, but there is a thread of discussion in the literature that clearly distinguishes guilt from reciprocal concessions. See, for example, Daniel O’Keefe and Marianne Figgé. A Guilt-Based Explanation of the Door-in-the-Face Influence Strategy Human Communication Research 24.1 (1997): 64–81

Door-in-the-face described: Robert B Cialdini, Joyce E. Vincent, Stephen K. Lewis, Jose Catalan, Diane Wheeler, and Betty Lee Darby. Reciprocal concessions procedure for inducing compliance: The door-in-the-face technique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 31.2 (1975): 206-215

Second request must be a smaller version of the first one: John C. Mowen and Robert B. Cialdini On Implementing the Door-in-the-Face Compliance Technique in a Business Context. Journal of Marketing Research 17.2 (1980): 253-258

Door-in-the-face in virtual worlds: Paul W. Eastwick and Wendy L. Gardner. Is it a game? Evidence for social influence in the virtual world. Social Influence 4.1 (2009): 18-32

Present hard decisions only after investment

90210 zip code: Chris Nodder. Gaining User Trust: Research and a Secret User Experience Magazine 11.4 (2012): 10-13

Scarcity and loss aversion as motivators

Dollar bill experiment: Baba Shiv, George Loewenstein, Antoine Bechara, Hanna Damasio, and Antonio R. Damasio. Investment behavior and the negative side of emotion. Psychological Science 16.6 (2005): 435-439. It’s possible to “lose” (earn less than $20 after 20 rounds) only 13% of the time if you always gamble.

Loss twice as “powerful” as gain: Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk. Econometrica: Journal of the Econometric Society 47 (1979): 263-291

Tom Sawyer Effect

Tom Sawyer quotes: Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1884)

Instill doubt to prevent cancellations

Statistics on BSE and CJD: Wikipedia, retrieved December 2012

Nearly 50 billion burgers/year in the USA: Ellen Rolfes. The Hidden Costs of Hamburgers. PBS Newshour “The Rundown” blog ( August 2, 2012, retrieved December 2012

Impatience leads to compliance

People become more conservative under time pressure: Mark Hwang. Decision making under time pressure: A model for information systems research. Information & Management 27 (1994): 197-203

Self-control: Gluttony’s nemesis

Self-regulation failure: Roy F. Baumeister and Todd F. Heatherton. Self-Regulation Failure: An Overview. Psychological Inquiry 7.1 (1996): 1-15

Spring Break becoming tamer: Lizette Alvarez. Spring Break Gets Tamer as World Watches Online. New York Times ( March 16, 2012, retrieved December 2012



Emily Dickinson quote from XLII. Time’s Lesson, in Mabel Loomis Todd and T. W. Higginson (Eds.) Poems by Emily Dickinson, Second Series (1891)

Anger’s effects on decision making: Jennifer S. Lerner, Larissa Z. Tiedens. Portrait of the angry decision maker: How appraisal tendencies shape anger’s influence on cognition. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making 19.2 (2006): 115-137

Use humor to prevent anger, but not to deflect it

Smiling puts people in a better mood: Many people can’t move their eyelid-eyebrow muscle (orbicularis oculi, pars lateralis) voluntarily, so that little test may not have worked for you. Robert W. Levenson, Paul Ekman, and Wallace V. Friesen. Voluntary facial action generates emotion‐specific autonomic nervous system activity. Psychophysiology 27.4 (1990): 363-384

Use whimsical rather than hostile humor: Robert A. Baron and Deborah R. Richardson. Human aggression. (2004) Springer.

Tumbeasts image: © Matthew Inman, The Oatmeal ( CC BY 3.0

Avoid overt anger with a slippery slope

Netflix reversion: Stu Woo. Under Fire, Netflix Rewinds DVD Plan. The Wall Street Journal ( October 11, 2011, retrieved January 2013

Netflix usage details: Global Internet Phenomena Report: Fall 2011. Sandvine ( December 2012, retrieved January 2013

Qwickster quote: Jason Gilbert. Qwickster Goes Qwickly: A Look Back At A Netflix Mistake. Huffington Post ( 10 October 2011, retrieved January 2013

Boiled frog anecdote is false: Boiled Beef. 12 January 2009, retrieved January 2013

Facebook layout comic: © Matthew Inman, The Oatmeal (

Use metaphysical arguments to beat opponents

Intelligent design: Strictly, intelligent design is seen by its proponents as a form of “evidence-based scientific theory” but it does require the acceptance of certain supernatural explanations (“theistic science”) that are not necessarily testable using regular scientific methods. In other words, it resorts to metaphysical explanations.

Scientific Impotence: Geoffrey D Munro The Scientific Impotence Excuse: Discounting Belief-Threatening Scientific Abstracts. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 40 (2010): 579–600

Pratkanis’ techniques: Anthony R. Pratkanis. How to Sell a Pseudoscience. Skeptical Inquirer T9 (1995)

Tim Cook quote: Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet conference February 12, 2013. The quote is about 28 minutes in to the streaming audio conversation but there are no transport controls.

BBC Superbrands documentary: Alex Riley and Adam Boome. Superbrands’ success fuelled by sex, religion and gossip BBC ( May 16, 2011

Kirsten Bell’s observations: Francie Diep. Why Apple Is the New Religion. TechNewsDaily ( Oct 23 2012

Apple as religion: Pui-Yan Lam May the Force of the Operating System be with You: Macintosh Devotion as Implicit Religion. Sociology of Religion 62:2 (2001): 243-262

Every iKeynote ever comic: © Ray, Raf, and Will

Embracing anger

An example of the coverage of Mary Bale’s cat trashing from two UK tabloid newspapers: Andrew Parker. It’s a fur cop. The Sun ( January 12, 2011, retrieved January 2013 and Claire Ellicott. What’s all the fuss? It’s just a cat, says woman seen on CCTV shoving tabby in wheelie bin. The Mail Online ( August 25 2010, retrieved January 2013

4-chan description: Nick Douglas. What The Hell Are 4chan, ED, Something Awful, And /b/? January 18, 2008, retrieved January 2013

Use anonymity to encourage repressed behaviors

Stanford prison experiment: A good introduction is available on the Stanford Prison Experiment site at

Deindividuation: Philip Zimbardo The human choice: Individuation, reason and order vs. deindividuation, impulse and chaos. In W. J Arnold and D Levine (Eds.), Nebraska Symposium on Motivation 17 (1969): 237-307

Online disinhibition: John Suler. The Online Disinhibition Effect. CyberPsychology & Behavior 7.3 (2004): 321–326

Disqus data on pseudonymity: Daniel Ha. Pseudonyms. Disqus blog ( January 10, 2012, retrieved January 2013. There are some potential sampling issues here – people may choose to stay anonymous just because it’s simpler than signing up/in rather than because they have any particular desire to mask their commentary. People who choose pseudonyms may also be generally more tech savvy/entertaining anyway, and so more likely to garner positive reviews and more responses.

EFF’s response to the Nymwars: Jillian C. York. A Case for Pseudonyms. Electronic Frontier Foundation ( July 19, 2011, retrieved January 2013

Real-time chats are more balanced: Antonios Garas, David Garcia, Marcin Skowron, Frank Schweitzer Emotional persistence in online chatting communities. Scientific Reports 2.402 (2012)

Situational norms: Tom Postmes, Russell Spears Deindividuation and antinormative behavior: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, Vol 123.3 (1998): 238-259

Give people permission

Milgram’s experiment: Stanley Milgram. Behavioral Study of Obedience. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 67.4 (1963): 371–8.

Milgram quotes: Stanley Milgram. Obedience to Authority; An Experimental View. (1974) Harpercollins. (p6)

Not a one-off event: the study still gives consistent results: Thomas Blass. The Milgram paradigm after 35 years: Some things we now know about obedience to authority. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 29.5 (1999): 955–978.

Moral disengagement: Albert Bandura Moral disengagement in the perpetration of inhumanities. Personality and Social Psychology Review. [Special Issue on Evil and Violence], 3 (1999): 193-209.

Scare people (if you have the solution)

Roy H. Williams quote: Roy H. Williams. Why We Buy. The MondayMorningMemo ( December 4, 2006, retrieved January 2013

Fabric conditioner: For a full breakdown of the ingredients of fabric conditioner, see Patrick Di Justo’s article What’s Inside – Downy Coats Briefs With Horse Fat Wired Magazine 16.2 (November 2008)

Take preventive action: Anthony Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson Age of Propaganda: The everyday use and abuse of persuasion. (2001) Holt

Difficulty with complexity: Gordon Hodson, Michael Busseri Bright Minds and Dark Attitudes: Lower Cognitive Ability Predicts Greater Prejudice Through Right-Wing Ideology and Low Intergroup Contact. Psychological Science 23.2 (2012): 187-195

TASER sales figures: 255,000 private sales. TASER to Release Fourth Quarter 2012 Earnings on February 21, 2013. TASER International, February 13, 2013, retrieved February 2013.

TASER business statistics: TASER 2011 annual report

Using anger safely in your products

Sturgeon’s Law

Anger’s effects on decision making: Jennifer S. Lerner, Larissa Z. Tiedens. Portrait of the angry decision maker: How appraisal tendencies shape anger’s influence on cognition. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making 19.2 (2006): 115-137.


Benign envy: Mark D Alicke and Ethan Zell Social Comparison and Envy. in Richard Smith (Ed.) Envy: Theory and Research. Oxford University Press (2008)

Evolutionary background to envy: Antonio Cabrales The causes and economic consequences of envy. Series – Journal Of The Spanish Economic Association 1.4 (2010): 371-386

Destructive envy: Susan Fiske Envy Up, Scorn Down. (2011) Russel Sage

Create desirability to produce envy

Publicity quote: John Berger Ways of Seeing. New York: Penguin (1972) p. 131

iPhone muggings: Keith Wagstaff. Muggers Demand iPhone, Turn Down Android. Time Tech ( December 15, 2011. Retrieved February 2013.

Bloomberg’s comments: Michael M. Grynbaum. Crime Is Up and Bloomberg Blames iPhone Thieves. New York Times City Room ( December 28 2012. Retrieved February 2013.

Create something aspirational

Upwardly Mobile magazine: Upwardly Mobile, the magazine of mobile, manufactured and modular home living is online at

Scorn: Susan Fiske Envy Up, Scorn Down. (2011) Russel Sage

Nokia vertu:

Make people feel ownership before they’ve bought

Don Norman quote: Donald Norman Emotional design: why we love (or hate) everyday things. Basic Books, 2005 p.139


Spore Creature Creator:

Spore sales figures: Second quarter FY09 from Electronic Arts’ investor relations site

Spore top-10 game: NPD Group / Retail Tracking Service

38% efficiency: Will Wright made this quote at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in July 2008

Create status differences to drive behavior

Bruce Schneier: E-Mail After the Rapture. ( June 2, 2008. Retrieved February 2013.

Mark Heard, the owner of, has left badly spelled comments on several forums around the web, including one on Schneier’s site.

Eternal Earth-bound Pets:

Bart Centre quote: Mike Di Paola. Caring for Pets Left Behind by the Rapture. Bloomberg Businessweek ( February 11, 2010. Retrieved February 2013.

Emphasize achievement as a form of status

Two clipped: Joseph C Nunes and Xavier Dreze. The endowed progress effect: How artificial advancement increases effort. Journal of Consumer Research 32.4 (2006): 504-512

Large numbers of points: Rajesh Bagchi and Xingbo Li Illusionary Progress in Loyalty Programs: Magnitudes, Reward-Distances, and Step-Size Ambiguity. Journal of Consumer Research 37 (2011): 888-901

Achievement unlocked comic: © Derek Lieu Jan 18 2011.

Encourage payment as an alternative to achievement

WOW subscriber numbers: Adam Holisky. World of Warcraft subscriber numbers dip 100,000 to 10.2 million. WOW Insider ( February 9, 2012. Retrieved February 2013

World Bank report: Vili Lehdonvirta and Mirko Ernkvist Converting the Virtual Economy into Development Potential: Knowledge Map of the Virtual Economy. Washington, DC; infoDev / World Bank, 2011

Blizzard’s philosophy on out-of-game gold trading and power leveling: The Consequences of Buying Gold. ( Retrieved February 2013.

Cory Doctorow quote: Lisa Poisso. 15 Minutes of Fame: Cory Doctorow on gold farming, part 2. WOW Insider ( August 4, 2010. Retrieved February 2013.

Offer of payment: Dan Ariely. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions. HarperCollins, 2008.

Let people feel important

Mary Kay Ash quote: Mary Kay Ash. The Mary Kay Way: Timeless Principles from America’s Greatest Woman Entrepreneur. Wiley, 2008 p. 21

Dale Carnegie: Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People has been in print since 1936. The 1981 revised edition is published by Simon & Schuster.

15 Minutes of Fame: Warhol actually said “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” (1968), which has since been paraphrased to “fifteen minutes of fame.” in Ralph Keyes. The quote verifier: who said what, where, and when. Macmillan (2006) p. 288

Famous for fifteen people: Nick Currie (Momus) POP STARS? NEIN DANKE! In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen people… I Momus ( 1991. Retrieved February 2013.

Zappos photos:

Threadless quotes: The Threadless Story: How an Internet T-Shirt Company went XXL. Motherboard ( September 9 2010. Retrieved February 2013.

Threadless statistics: William C. Taylor. The Company as Community: Threadless Puts Everyone in Charge. Fast Company ( January 6, 2011. Retrieved February 2013.


Creating lust: using emotion to control behavior

Dating science not so scientific: Aimee E. King, Deena Austin-Oden, and Jeffrey M. Lohr. Browsing for love in all the wrong places: Does research show that Internet matchmaking is more successful than traditional dating. Skeptic 15 (2009): 48-55.

Unachievable expectations: Eli J Finkel, Paul W. Eastwick, Benjamin R. Karney, Harry T. Reis, and Susan Sprecher. Online Dating A Critical Analysis From the Perspective of Psychological Science. Psychological Science in the Public Interest 13.1 (2012): 3-66.

Say “I love you.”

Flattery: Elaine Chan and Jaideep Sengupta. Insincere flattery actually works: A dual attitudes perspective. Journal of Marketing Research 47.1 (2010): 122-133.

Computers can deliver the flattery: B.J. Fogg and Clifford Nass Silicon sycophants: the effects of computers that flatter. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 46.5 (1997): 551-561.

Be the second most [beautiful/expensive/liked]

Aronson’s original pratfall effect work: Elliot Aronson, Ben Willerman, and Joanne Floyd. The effect of a pratfall on increasing interpersonal attractiveness. Psychonomic Science, 4 (1966): 227-228.

Subsequent refinements: Robert Helmreich, Elliot Aronson, and James LeFan. To err is humanizing sometimes: Effects of self-esteem, competence, and a pratfall on interpersonal attraction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 16.2 (1970): 259-264

How we rate and who we date: Kenneth C. Herbst, Lowell Gaertner, and Chester A. Insko. My head says yes but my heart says no: Cognitive and affective attraction as a function of similarity to the ideal self. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 84.6 (2003): 1206.

Dating meta-analysis: Alan Feingold. Matching for attractiveness in romantic partners and same-sex friends: A meta-analysis and theoretical critique. Psychological Bulletin 104.2 (1988): 226.

OkCupid stats on male reaction to beauty, described as game theory: Christian Rudder. The mathematics of beauty. OKTrends ( January 10, 2011. Retrieved March 2013.

Frame your message as a question

Dan Morales State Attorney General story: Sheila Kaplan. Tobacco Dole. Mother Jones ( May/June 1996. Retrieved March 2013.

Entire push-pollPublic Opinion Strategies Push Poll. Mother Jones ( May/June 1996. Retrieved March 2013.

Public Opinion Strategies quoteAbout Our Firm. Public Opinion Strategies ( Retrieved March 2013.

Asking suggestive questions of eyewitnesses: Elizabeth F. Loftus. The malleability of human memory. American Scientist 67 (1979): 312–320

Create an in-group

Supporting the school team: Robert B. Cialdini, Richard J. Borden, Avril Thorne, Marcus Walker, Stephen Freeman, & Lloyd Sloan. Basking in reflected glory: Three (football) field studies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 34 (1976): 366-375.

Trash talk: Robert B. Cialdini & Kenneth D. Richardson. Two indirect tactics of image management: Basking and blasting. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 39 (1980): 406-415.

Favor members of own group: Henri Tajfel. Experiments in intergroup discrimination. Scientific American 223.2 (1970): 96-102.

Maximize reward difference: Henri Tajfel, M.G. Billig, R.P. Bundy and Claude Flament. Social categorization and intergroup behaviour. European Journal of Social Psychology 1 (1971): 149-178.

Generalization and stereotyping: Marilynn B. Brewer In-Group Bias in the Minimal Intergroup Situation: A Cognitive-Motivational Analysis Psychological Bulletin 86.2 (1979): 307-324

Texas A&M claims trademark to the 12th Man term, which is used under license by the Seahawks.

Give something in order to get something

The norm of reciprocity: Alvin W. Gouldner. The norm of reciprocity: A preliminary statement. American sociological review (1960): 161-178.

Buying a coke: Dennis T. Regan. Effects of a favor and liking on compliance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 7 (1971): 627–639

Amount is proportional: Dean G. Pruitt. Reciprocity and credit building in a laboratory dyad. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 8.2p1 (1968): 143.

Make something free quote: SEC Form 10-Q 10/26/2012, p. 27 Marketing

e-commerce statistics: Andrew Lipsman. Free Shipping for the 2010 Holiday Season. ComScore Insights ( Nov 22, 2010 retrieved March 2013

Cheap to free: Dan Ariely. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions. HarperCollins, 2008.

Instagram: Bryan Bishop. Instagram’s new terms of service: from overreaction to retraction. The Verge ( December 20, 2012. Retrieved March 2013.

Chad’s garage comic: “Instagram” © Randall Munroe,

Sell the intangible value

Problems of perception: Rory Sutherland. Perspective is everything. TED talk,

Make a request in order to be seen more favorably

Benjamin Franklin quote: The autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (1906) Houghton Mifflin & Co. p. 107

Return the money you won: Jon Jecker and David Landy. Liking a person as a function of doing him a favour. Human Relations 22.4 (1969): 371-378

Lustful behavior

Third person effect: Richard M. Perloff. Third-person effect research 1983–1992: A review and synthesis. International Journal of Public Opinion Research 5.2 (1993): 167-184.

Sleeper effect: Anthony R Pratkanis, Anthony G. Greenwald, Michael R. Leippe, and Michael H. Baumgardner. In search of reliable persuasion effects: III. The sleeper effect is dead: Long live the sleeper effect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 54.2 (1988): 203

Materialistic customers: Marsha L. Richins. “When Wanting Is Better Than Having: Materialism, Transformation Expectations, and Product-Evoked Emotions in the Purchase Process.” Journal of Consumer Research. June 2013 (in press).



Trump quote: Donald Trump with Tony Schwartz. Trump: The Art of the Deal. New York:Ballantine Books, 1987.

Higher social classes are less ethical: Paul K. Piff, Daniel M. Stancato, Stéphane Côté, Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, Dacher Keltnera  Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior. PNAS 109.11 (2012): 4086-4091

Higher social classes are less compassionate: Paul K. Piff, Michael W. Kraus, Stéphane Côté, Bonnie Hayden Cheng, Dacher Keltner Having less, giving more: The influence of social class on prosocial behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 99.5 (2010): 771-784.

Higher social classes are more selfish: Jennifer E. Stellar, Vida M. Manzo, Michael W. Kraus, Dacher Keltner. Class and compassion: Socioeconomic factors predict responses to suffering. Emotion 12.3 (2012): 449-459

Learning from casinos

Monty Hall Problem:

Lottery sales and gambling income data: North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries. Lottery Sales and Profits. (

  • FY2010 numbers for USA = $58,816.60M sales, $17,877.07M profit
  • FY2010 numbers for Canada = $7,731.71M sales, $2,277.43M profit.
  • The US and Canadian dollar were pretty much at parity over that time, so we get a total of $66,548.31M sales, $20,154.50M profit for North America.

60% of adults report playing at least once per year: National Gambling Impact Study Commission staff-generated report on lotteries (1999)

72% of all gambling: The majority of gambling income comes from casinos (41%) and lotteries (31%). These figures don’t include tribal casinos. United States General Accounting Office report to the Honorable Frank R. Wolf: Impact of Gambling: Economic Effects More Measurable Than Social Effects (2000) GAO-GGD-00-78

North Carolina lottery repeat numbers: (in a lovely introspective journal article written in the first person) Leonard A. Stefanski. The North Carolina Lottery Coincidence. The American Statistician 62.2 (2008): 130–134

Bulgarian lottery repeat numbers: Carl Bialik. Lottery Math 101. The Numbers Guy ( September 22, 2009. Retrieved March 2013.

Israel National Lottery repeat numbers: Mark Weiss. Israel lottery draws same numbers as three weeks before. The Telegraph ( October 18, 2010. Retrieved March 2013.

Use a partial reinforcement schedule

Game design seen through an operant conditioning lens: John Hopson Behavioral Game Design. Gamasutra ( April 27, 2001. Retrieved January 2013.

Make it into a game

Volkswagen’s Fun Theory promotion:

Fold It: Protein folding game online at

DigitalKoot: The Finnish National Library DigitalKoot project page at

Google Image Labeler: Now offline.

Customers should “win” rather than “finishing” or “buying”

fMRI images:

Mauricio R. Delgado, Andrew Schotter, Erkut Y. Ozbay and Elizabeth A. Phelps Understanding Overbidding: Using the Neural Circuitry of Reward to Design Economic Auctions. Science 321.5897 (2008): 1849-1852

J.C. Penney: J.C. Penney revives “clearance” sales. CBS News ( July 26 2012. Retrieved December 2012.

Paco Underhill “sales are like heroin”: Anne D’Innocenzio. Discount, deal junkies hurting stores’ profits. USA Today ( September 2, 2012. Retrieved September 2012.

TechCrunch analysis of Groupon: Rocky Agrawal. Why Groupon Is Poised For Collapse. TechCrunch ( June 13, 2011. Retrieved September 2012.

Fast company report: Do Groupon And LivingSocial Do More Harm Than Good? Fast Company ( March 19, 2012. Retrieved September 2012.

Further inflate people’s feelings of skill and mastery

Bertrand Russel quote: Bertrand Russel. New Hopes for a Changing World. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1951.

Dunning & Kruger’s research into illusive superiority: Justin Kruger and David Dunning. Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 77.6 (1999): 1121.

A primer on the derivatives market: quote: Retrieved January 2013.

Buffet quote: Berkshire Hathaway Annual Report 2002, page 15.

Make rewards seem due to skill, not luck

Skinner’s superstitious pigeons: W.H. Morse and B. F. Skinner. A Second Type of Superstition in the Pigeon. The American Journal of Psychology 70.2 (1957): 308-311

Create a walled garden

YouTube search engine information: comScore Releases November 2008 U.S. Search Engine Rankings. comScore ( December 19, 2008. Retrieved January 2013. December 2008 was the first month in which YouTube overtook Yahoo!, with YouTube rising by 8% from the previous month to serve 2,791 MM queries and Yahoo! dropping 3% from the previous month to serve 2,620 MM queries.

Anchoring and arbitrary coherence

Arbitrary coherence: Dan Ariely. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions. HarperCollins, 2008.

Historical gas prices: Weekly Retail Gasoline and Diesel Prices. United States Energy Information Administration. Independent Statistics and Analysis reports average prices of $0.907/gallon on Monday February 22, 1999 and $4.114/gallon on Monday July 7 2008 for regular gasoline. U.K. gas prices from report £1.19/liter in July 2008. One US gallon is 3.785 liters. The USD/GBP exchange rate was ~1.5 so UK gas prices equate to $6.50/US gallon

TARDIS/Time Lord: If the references are unfamiliar, start here.

Own the anchor

Social Security numbers can create an arbitrary anchor: Itamar Simonson and Aimee Drolet. Anchoring Effects on Consumers’ Willingness-to-Pay and Willingness-to-Accept. Journal of Consumer Research 31.3 (2004): 681-690

Move from money to tokens

Senator Mark Pryor’s letter to the FTC: Mark Pryor. Prior to FTC: Protect Families from Deceptive Purchases Embedded in Kids’ Games. ( February 8, 2011. Retrieved March 2013.

FTC report: Mobile Apps for Kids: Current Privacy Disclosures are DisAPPointing. Federal Trade Commission Staff Report, February 2012

Apple’s class action settlement for “bait apps”: U.S. District Court Northern District of California San Jose Division. No. 11-CV-1758-EJD. March 1 2013.

Encourage breakage

Spend additional 40%: Kelli B. Grant. Why Amazon Wants Your Old CDs. SmartMoney ( April 11, 2012. Retrieved March 2013.

Best Buy $53 million income from unredeemed cards, $41bn total value of unredeemed cards from 2005-2011: Phil Izzo. Number of the Week: Billions in Gift Cards Go Unspent. Wall Street Journal ( December 24, 2011. Retrieved March 2013.

10-19% of gift cards are unredeemed: Gift cards: Opportunities and issues for retailers. Grant Thornton LLP, March 2011.

Expiration dates: Gift Card Report 2012. Scripsmart ( November 26, 2012.

Make something expensive

Consumers prefer cheaper wines in blind tastings: Robin Goldstein, Johan Almenberg, Anna Dreber, John W. Emerson, Alexis Herschkowitsch, and Jacob Katz (2008) Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better? Evidence from a Large Sample of Blind Tastings. Journal of Wine Economics. 3.1 (2008): 1–9

fMRI shows pleasantness increases with cost: Hilke Plassmann, John O’Doherty, Baba Shiv, and Antonio Rangel. Marketing actions can modulate neural representations of experienced pleasantness.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105.3 (2008): 1050–1054.

Paying cash leads to more indulgent purchases: Rajesh Bagchi and Lauren G. Block, Chocolate Cake Please! Why Do We Indulge More When it Feels More Expensive? Journal of Public Policy & Marketing 30.2 (2011): 294-306.

Show your second-best option first

Length of road lines: Dennis M. Shaffer, Andrew B. Maynor, Windy L. Roy The visual perception of lines on the road. Perception & Psychophysics 70.8 (2008): 1571-1580

Real Estate agents: Robert Cialdini. Influence: The psychology of persuasion. (2007) Collins Business p.14

Break coherence to justify prices

Metrication in the UK: The Great Metric Rip-Off. British Weights and Measures Association ( Retrieved March 2013.

Evil by Design

Should you feel bad about deception?

There’s no such thing as monsters: Liat Sayfan and Kristin Hansen Lagattuta. Scaring the Monster Away: What Children Know About Managing Fears of Real and Imaginary Creatures. Child Development 80 (2009): 1756–1774.

Monster Go Away spray

Bus Stop: Simone Thies. Kein Bus wird kommen. Der Westen February 14, 2008. Retrieved March 2013, and Harry de Quetteville. Wayward Alzheimer’s patients foiled by fake bus stop. The Telegraph. June 3, 2008. Retrieved March 2013.

Dove “real beauty” campaign video:  (agency: Oglivy, Toronto)

Should you feel bad using these principles?

Principles of Persuasive Technology Design: Daniel Berdichevsky and Erik Neuenschwander. “Toward an ethics of persuasive technology.” Communications of the ACM 42.5 (1999): 51-58.

Feel good that you are providing a service

Don Norman Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things. (2005) Basic Books