Habit Summit Europe

2 mei 2014, 11:30

De psychologie van gewoontes en automatische gedrag

Afgelopen woensdag 30 april was het dan zover: de eerste europese editie van de Habit Summit. Na succesvolle events in de VS (Stanford University) leek het Arjan Haring een goed idee om dit concept naar Nederland te halen. Hij zoch contact met Nir Eyal, verzamelde een club co-organizers om zich heen en wist een set interessante sprekers in de line-up te krijgen. Het resultaat: een dag vol psychologie, marketing, apps, persuasive technologie en netwerken. Zeer geslaagd, als je het mij vraagt. In deze blogpost vertel ik kort wat de diverse sprekers aan onderwerpen de revue lieten passeren en waar mogelijk wat key insights die je zelf in je werk kunt gebruiken.

De Habit Summit Europe werd geopend door de bestseller auteur Nir Eyal, een ervaren spreker en consultant op het gebied van psychologie van habits en beïnvloeding. Hij benadrukt dat hij heeft ervaren dat er een grote community 'habit professionals' is in Nederland, iets om trots op te zijn. Na zijn opening introduceert hij de eerste spreker.

Ben Gardner PhD: What are Healthy Habits anyway?

Actions that have come to be autoamatically triggered by situational cues


Cue-dependent (stimulus-response)

Automatic (no intention required, without awareness, little/no effort)

Onderscheid tussen habits en repeated behavior. Repeated behavior is bewuste keuze

Dus: als iemand steeds bewuste keuze maakt is kans op gedragsafname groter zodra motivatie verdwijnt. Daarom is habit krachtiger

Duurt geen 21 dagen voordat habit gevormd wordt. Weinig tot geen wetenschappelijk bewijs.

Lally, van Jaarsveld, Potts & Wardle (2010): 96 proefpersonen deden nieuw gedrag elke dag. Wandelen na ontbijt. Daarna 'hoe autoamtisch voelde het gedrag aan? De leercurve laat zien dat de eerste repetities de sterkste leercurve vormen. Gemiddelde 66 dagen, maar in echt 18-254 dagen. 66 dagen is dus onzin. Simpelere acties worden sneller gewoonte.

Indien intrinsieke beloning dan is de habit sterker

? Zelfrapportage schaal

Habit zorgen ervoor dat alternatieve opties minder in overweging worden genomen. Ook worden alternatieven minder snel geidentificeerd als alternatief. “People who watch TV to relax are less inclined to see taking a bath as a way to relax”

Mensen denken bij een sterke gewoonte gewoon minder na voordat we het doen.

Habits hebben 2 effecten op gedrag:

1. Habits bepalen frequentie van gedrag

2. Habits overrulen bewuste intenties (Gardner, 2009: 105 car users. Intentie vs Behavior grafiek laat zien dat mensen met zwakke habit meer gedrag laten zien als de intentie toeneemt. Mensen met sterke habit blijven gedrag vertonen, ook al is de bewuste intentie minder hoog

Definitie Ben Gardner: A process by which a stimulus automatically generates an impulse towards action, based on learned stimulus-response behavior.

10:35 – 10:55 Maurits Kaptein PhD

The Math Behind Habits

Mathematical reasonal on how to attack bad habits

Predict habitual behavior

World is in a certain state. You can take an action within that state which gererates a reward. This is reenforcement learning.

Time is also factor. State s is a factor of time.

In each point in time we can perform an action a, but limited by the state of the world.

Reward r at certain time is a number.

Goal is to take actions to maximize rewards on the long run.

Motivation is expected reward.

Assumption: state of the world is not relevant.

Assumption: actions only consist of a1 and a2. a1=behavior a2=something else

How to maximize reward over these 2 possible actions

Problem: we have to trade off reward that we get from habit and other behavior. Habit has certain reward, other behavior had uncertain reward. Only way to find out is trying.

Explotation and exploration trade-off: exploit knowledge that you have or do something new

Pi is policy. How you, as actor, decide on the actions that you take. For instance: smoke all the time, flip a coint etc. This is a policy. There is an optimal strategy/policy.

Well-known class of policies: greedy policy. This is exploitation strategy. a1

Get rid of habits: simply choose a2.

Predict habitual behavior

Social Proof: state of the world presented to you

? So state of world IS relevant

Behavior is function of backgrond, demographics etc (Xi) OR function of previous behavior (Y10)

Number of observation Y1, Y2 …. Y10

Average error for X(demographics etc) is standard, for Y error diminisheds after 1st behavior observation. Knowing how you responded last time theen knowing age, gender, personality etc.

Aleks Stojanovic

ex-MD Razorfish

Persoonlijke reis van Aleks: na diagnose diabete 'reboot': healthy food, sport etc.

Maar: hambuger is heerlijk! Consciousness is short-sighted

I need help to see the negative sides of bad behavior. Enter gamification.

Rewars have to increase, you have to reward every compliant behavior. This has no chance to apply to the masses. Cost would explode. So gamification is a lame duck

Next thought: threatification

We hate punishment. But you have to prove ability and willingnes to punish

Aleks gave access to QS accounts to trainer. Every time I don't comply I have tot pay 100EU.

Sensor, process, outcome

?What if threat disappears? How long will habit last?

11:00 – 11:20 Boris Surya

Behavioral Retail: How shelves make us forget about ourselves

11:50 – 12:10 Nathalie Nahai

Dopamine Loops

About the habits that you don't want, eg Addictions

“A friend of min at Austin University, Texas”

“We are all humans here”

“How many are lying”


1. Turn on your phone at 11AM

2. Practice mindfulness

3. Designate phone–freed zones

4. Banish phones at meiltimes

5. Use an alarm clock to

Variable rewards are very powerful: slot machines, Facebook etc. They create domamine loops

Dopamine causes pleasure seeking behavior.

5 triggers:

1. Wanting -> Liking. Action might lead to reward (opioid system).

2. Anticipation. Brain shows more activity when thinking about reward

3. Unpredictable reward

4. Cues. THings that tell us that a reward is coming. For instance phone ringing

5. Small is unsatisfying. Stimulated most strongly when the reward is so small that it doesn't fully satisfy e.g. 140 characters


1. Turn off push notifications

2. Uninstall social networks

3.Uninstall your e-mail

4. Disable Safari / Chrome

Key takeways:

1. Be conscious. What situations trigger?

2. Choose. Turn off distractions

3. Set some rules. Create habtis breakers. Hier gaat ze heel snel aan voorbij

Persuasion and manipulation: Intent

13:40 – 14:00 Thijs de Valk

The Psychology behind Conversion


Focused attention is around 8 seconds

Make sure you stand out

Perceptial incongruence: you see something you don't expect to see

Voorbeeld Bacardi & Cola met glas dat 90 graden gedraaid is

Social Proof

Reduce doubt by looking at others

Filmpje over halo effect onderzoek naar lengte van mensen en schatting van inkomen (New York))

Koppeling tussen social proof en halo effect is twijfelachtig.

14:05 – 14:25 Nicolae Naumof

Thinking with Your Mind and with Your Body

Ultimate habits

Oefening arm – gezicht – nek spieren

People who flexed arm went for small reward now, who extend for larg reward later.

Shopping cart vs basket. People who used baskets bought more short-term gratifiers like candy.

Sitting on type of chair influences how you think. In cars: trafic regulations are violated more by peole who drive in big cars. Big car creates more driving space, perception of more power.

Anti-smoking vs pro-quitting in smoking campaigns

I quit campaign with sign of vote/promise VIDEO

Clicking a buy button: clicking on mouse is actually pushing away. Has nog been research yet. Alternative: drag product in basket. Expect: decrease in unfinalized purchases and more satisfaction after buying.

14:30 – 14:55 Renato Valdes Olmos

A Human touch to exercising

Paul Veugen

We want to make moving more fun

Most consumers don't care about collecting data about their lives

Exercise is wonderful medicine, reduces all kinds of symptoms. (RSA animation)

30 minutes every day: #daily30

Runkeeper etc. keeps stats on ALREADY present behavior.

We focus on those of us who don't run/cycle etc yet


?Push notification after your reach 30 mins. What about when only 20 minutes?

Empty circle is very persuasive, especially when visible for 7 days

Tracking will become a comodoty.

No point in big data if you don't know what you're looking for.

?Feedback for good behavior?

15:00 – 15:20 Matthias Lasche

Transformational Technology: Pleasurable Troublemakers

Designing for change is designing for happiness

– We don't know what makes us happy

– We have an idea of could make us happy

Lots op strategies for behavior change

They have implicit assumptions

For instance: speed camera lotery implies winning money makes people happy, is the change persistant (what if the lotery ends?)

We need a different approach: pleasurable troublemakers

Example: 50-50 cake. High and low calerie half. It implicits choice

With each piece you take it get healthier

Troublemakers are situated. The are part of a story

They offer alternatives in line with ideal self

The change script: neither make it easier or harder

They nudge people into meaning-making

They put failing into the design. The have understanding for difficulties in continuing the behavior. Accomodating for failure.

Voorbeeld: Keymoment

You can cheat the system, but you can't cheat yourself

Voorbeeld: ReMind (goed voor ADD/autisme?)

>> I'm NOT going to start with a personal story

15:25 – 15:45 Bram Alkema

Brains were made for stories

Bram tells a fantastic story about animals in a forest who learn about running a shop based on consumer insight and habit formation

15:50 – 16:10 Alexander Klopping

Changing the way people consume the news

“itunes for journalism”

We were able to convince publishers to start using this business model

We're first one in the world that has all publishers in NL on board

First: it's easy to pay

When you follow a link on twitter, you've spent money right away

Second: all articles are in same style/font etc as original

Third: differentiate by horizontal scrolling

Fourth:: Money back guarantee

Fifth: invite famous people by telling other famous people are also coming. Have important people spread out beta codes

?itunes or netflix?

?Kannibalism of subscriptions?

16:15 – 16:45 Nir Eyal

Why Habits Matter

Behavior done with no or little conscious thought

Habilts are built upon, like layers of a pearl (baby steps)

Triggers: external & internal

External: the information on what to do is within the trigger itself

Internal: the information on what to do next is formed through an association in the user's memory (people, emotions, routines)

Negative emotions are powerful internal triggers. People with signs of clinical depression check e-mail more.

It's about knowing your user's 'itch'



“The energy for action” – Edward Deci



Seeking Pleasure

Avoiding Pain

Seek hope

Avoid fear

Seek acceptance

Avoid rejection




Physical effect

Brain cycles

Social deviance

Non-routine: the more I do something, the easier it becomes (increased ability)


There's a way to supercharge stress of desire. Through variability.

3 types:

Tribe (social rewards): empathatic joy, social validation, status etc

Hunt (search for resources): money, information

Self (search for self-achievement): intrinsic motivators (competency & mastery, control etc)

Warning: match variable reward with what they came to do. Don't use as free pass. Scratch the itch


Work the user does for a future reward

Investments load the next trigger. Anticipation of future reward like whatsapp message -> waiting for reply message

Investements store value, improving the product with use. The more music i put in iTunes, the more valuable it becomes for me. The more data I collect using QS, the more it works for me. Followers. Reputation

Morality of manipulation

Manipulation vs coersion

Mischa Coster MA MSc
Psycholoog - Chief Psychology Officer, gedragsstrateeg, adviseur, spreker. bij Grey Matters & Guideology

Ψ Mediapsycholoog ⌆ Perspectivist ⌬ Dopamaniac Mischa is mediapsycholoog en Chief Psychology Officer bij Grey Matters, een onderzoeks- en adviesbureau dat organisaties helpt inzichten uit de psychologie in de praktijk toe te passen. Ook is hij founding partner en gedragsstrateeg bij Guideology, een adviesbureau dat zicht richt op het begeleiden van klantgedrag in de financiële sector. Mischa gelooft dat psychologie de smeerolie is voor organisaties, zowel op gebied van marketing als ook sales, HR, MD, recruitment, innovatie, security en finance. Hij heeft voor dit gfsedachtegoed de titel ‘Chief Psychology Officer’ bedacht, een rol waar inmiddels meerdere organisaties invulling aan hebben gegeven. Naast psychologie consultant (voor klanten zoals T-Mobile, Capgemini, bol.com, Rotterdam The Hague Airport, Agis, KNMG, NIMA, VvAA, Oracle, Univé, EU council, belastingdienst en diverse ministeries), is Mischa een graag geziene keynote spreker op zowel (internationale) congressen als incompany events. Ook wordt hij regelmatig als gedragsexpert op radio en televisie gevraagd voor actualiteitenprogramma’s als EditieNL, Eén Vandaag, en Radar. In zijn vrije tijd is Mischa gastdocent aan de UU, UvA, HvA, VU, UT, HHS, RU, Nyenrode en UM. Ook is hij bestuurslid van de sectie Sociale en Economische Psychologie van het Nederlands Instituut van Psychologen. Hij is Psycholoog NIP en Certified GAABS Member.


Marketingfacts. Elke dag vers. Mis niks!