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Needs & Motivations

Needs & Motivations

Money Omission

“Money kills motivation in a social setting”

You want to motivate your customer to buy. Does it help to give a monetary reward? Of course, but… sure not always!

An important aspect of motivation is rooted in the huge difference between so-called monetary markets versus social markets. In a monetary market monetary rewards determine our motivations and behaviour, whereas in a social market we are ruled by social rewards (which are way more intrinsic than the extrinsic monetary rewards).

So is Money Omission a true persuasion technique? Probably not, but I do hope to prevent some greedy marketers to make the

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Response Efficacy

“We are more likely to perform an action when we belief the recommended action leads to the desired outcome”
Response efficacy concerns our belief that a certain action will actually be effective. It is closely related, yet really different from self-efficacy. Where self-efficacy is about how competent we feel we are in displaying the behavior (can we do it?), response efficacy is about whether we think our actions will lead to the desired result (when I do it, will it be effective?).

So we’re often motivated to fulfill certain needs and desires. But we’re reluctant to act upon them when we’re unsure whether our actions will actually be effective.

Response efficacy

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Yerkes-Dodson effect

“With more incentive, our performance increases, but only to a certain extent”
When we are promised a higher incentive for a better performance, we want to perform better. At low incentive levels this increased motivation pays off. We do perform better. However, at some point increasing the incentive and thereby motivation even further, starts to backfire: we perform (a lot) worse.

This Yerkes-Dodson Effect applies to mental tasks. Tasks involving cognitive effort, resulting in an inverse U graph: first performance increases with rising incentives, but only until it reaches an optimum, and then starts decreasing steeply as incentives rise further.

This effect

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Cognitive dissonance

“When we do something that is not in line with our beliefs, we change our beliefs”
When there’s a mismatch between our beliefs and behavior we experience what Leon Festinger calls a ‘cognitive dissonance’. And we have a strong motivational drive to reduce this dissonance.

We can’t change the displayed behavior anymore, but we can change our beliefs and cognitions. In order to reduce dissonance we simply alter our beliefs, which we actually do a lot. There are 3 ways to do so:

We lower the importance of the dissonant elements,
we add new consonant beliefs to create a consistent belief system, or

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Belongingness & Conformity

“We prefer to behave in approval with our social groups”
Belongingness is our innate need to form and maintain strong, stable interpersonal relationships. More than we are often consciously aware, we want to be part of a peer group, community and society.

Once we feel we belong to a group, we will conform to, and internalize, the groups values and norms. In general, we conform to both injunctive norms of our groups (implied approved behavior by the group), and to descriptive norms (common behavior among group members). We may even behave adversely to groups that we do not want to be


“We prefer situations that we have control over”
Autonomy is our innate and universal need to be causal agents of our own lives. Our perception of our autonomy influences our behavior. A high level of perceived autonomy comes with feelings of certainty, reduced stress and a high level of ‘intrinsic motivation’. This increases the likelihood of persistent behavior. On the other hand, taking away our autonomy (e.g. by introducing external rewards and deadlines), undermines our intrinsic motivation as we grow less interested in it.

Situations that give autonomy as opposed to taking it away also have a similar link to motivation.

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“We are more likely to perform actions when we believe in our own competence”
Self-efficacy is a person’s belief in his/her own competence. According to Albert Bandura – who defined self-efficacy theory – this personalized belief in our ability to succeed affects our behavior. The more competent we think we are (a high level of perceived self-efficacy), the greater our intrinsic motivation to act is.

There are at least 3 types of information that enhance our self-efficacy online:

Our own behavior: when we are successful, we become convinced that we will be successful again.
The behavior of others: when we see others being

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