Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings

UX Psychology – far more than just research and cognitive biases!

As a UX Researcher, and someone who is thoroughly interested in why people behave the way they do, I am always looking for more information in this area.

So when I came across the UX Psychology meet up I signed up right away.

This week’s event was looking at how there is so much more to UX psychology than just research or cognitive biases.

Verena Seibert-Giller was our speaker and took us through five common behaviours that we can see in ourselves and in others.

She started off by telling us that how we behave can change over the course of the day due to things like hunger and how tired we are. This means we are not as stable as we would like to think we are and we are likely to react in different ways to the same situation based on something as simple as if we have had lunch or not.

She then talked us through some interpersonal variabilities. You might recognise some of these…

Filtering - where you think about buying a certain brand of car and suddenly that’s the only sort of car you seem to see.

Priming - how the words we use can make people think in a certain way. We have to be careful how we introduce tasks when doing usability testing.

Perception - how we really focus on the thing right in front of us, rather to the side. It affects how people view webpages.

Mental Models - how people think things work, very interesting when looking at new products and services as people will try to make them fit an existing model.

Cathedral effect - higher ceilings help people to be more creative and open minded.

Glucose and high performers - unsurprisingly people who think a lot use a lot of glucose.

Posture - affects how we respond to things. Curled up over our phones puts us in a defense posture, while standing tall gives us confidence.

As Verena said there are many more of these traits and behaviours but not enough time to go through them all.

She then talked about how we need to be aware of these things when talking to stakeholders and conducting research.

And the biggest myth she busted was that even when we are aware of biases none of us are without bias.

She also reminded us that although it might seem logical to us that we all would think the same, we really do not, which is why doing research is so valuable.

It was a really interesting session which I am glad I joined and I can not wait to join them again for their next session in January.

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