Why Fear is Contagious

Fear is contagious

Why do we wriggle with fear based on someone else’s assessment? Why do we care so much about so-called experts’ opinions on what to fear (and when and where to fear it)?

In discussion of newsworthy events , it is common to hear borrowed phrases. ‘Did you know the new president will have his hands on the nuclear codes?’ was a commonly held fear circulating the internet in the recent American presidential election. But why did so many people accept this fear? All former US presidents (post-development of nuclear arms) had or held this same power.

What experts were implicitly arguing was that the president-elect had a different sensibility that somehow made him more dangerous; he could take us a step closer than someone like JFK did to nuclear armageddon.

The North Korean buzz

Maybe you’ve followed the buzz about North Korea and its nuclear arms developments. It is common to hear fear in conversations that could lead to the end of civilization.

But, how many of you reading this have met the leaders of the countries in question?

If you fear Trump or North Korea it is probably because someone else fears them. If you do not have time to meet the president for yourself (or he has not invited you to dinner), you must rely on second-hand information about it him, either through a live-broadcast of his speeches, what people who have met him say about him, or through analysis from pundits, journalists, and political scientists. And If they say we should fear the man, then maybe they are right. After all, it is their job to cover these matters.

Here we see a reasonable effect of Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness.

Relationships

By the way, this also happens in cases of scientific fact. If a notable scientist has found through experimentation to have validated a theory, or if this same scientist is remarking on the work of peers, I will probably assume he or she has ‘checked’ the validity of their peers’ work (akin to peer /reviewed journals).

This claim is analogous to close relationships. If we trust people, we will like what they like, and fear what they fear. At minimum, we will take their statements of liking or fearing seriously, and be influenced by reciprocation or social norming.

Cognitive effort

Sometimes, it just takes too much effort to check ourselves. It is easier to agree with people we know, like, and respect. Most of all, it is easy to agree with people we trust.

With trust, we enter a sub-category of idea reciprocation in the space of Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning & Calling. It is easier to take on someone else’s idea who is on your team, or part of a group you affiliate with or feel connection toward.

Social norming

What have we to lose by fearing irrationally? First, a case for individuality. Writers like Saul Bellow and Christopher Hitches have long argued we should think for ourselves as much as possible, and be self-publishers in argument. Otherwise, we risk becoming automatons. Next time someone urges you to fear something, question why they purport to fear it, analyze the evidence, and then notice again if the fear has come into your being, or if you’d like to take a second look, a look for yourself. This takes cognitive resources, so even noticing that the fear has entered your consciousness is the first step.

In Octalysis Prime

In Octalysis Prime, our members tackle everyday and complex applications of behavior design. We specialize in investigating the strongest forms of human influence and overall behavior, so that we can help each other design better experiences to capitalize on these behaviors, or overcome inertia to those same experiences.

 

Mattia’s Habitica Design Challenge Entry

In early 2017, The Octalysis Group ran a design challenge based on improving Habitica. Here is Mattia’s excellent entry.

Have a look at these slides!

There are more design challenges happening now! Check out the Food Heroes Design Challenge right now, and win a trip to Shang’hai or to San Francisco to meet Yu-kai Chou.

Adventures @ FITology | #5 – The Game of Families | Alternate Reality Game

This continuing series is contributed by Saamir Gupta, who is a member of the OctalysisPrime community.

Family members are the first friends that we make, our first social interaction with the world. And family is not just the parents and siblings but grandparents both maternal and paternal and their brothers and sisters and their families. In Eastern Civilizations, for a long time, we have had the culture of living together in what we called the joint families. Now, thanks to the rapidly evolving technologies that are bringing the world closer, people prefer nuclear families. But most of us do relish those special times we get to meet our extended family members – be it on special occasions or casual encounters.

Because compassion and empathy are true drivers of happiness, and we naturally have very strong compassion and empathy towards our family members, it was a sweet spot for us to place our health and wellness game.

The objective – as always – make individuals aware about their health and wellness journey and help them make substantial progress. Disguise – fun game with extended family members living nearby or far off.

Continue reading Adventures @ FITology | #5 – The Game of Families | Alternate Reality Game

Food Heroes Octalysis Design Challenge

It’s finally here! The 2017 Octalysis Gamification Design Challenge – Food Heroes!

Many challenges are reserved for Octalysis Prime members only, but this challenge is open to the public since we want to maximize our impact on social good.

 

The design challenge will be about Food Heroes, motivating kids in China to eat healthily and sustainably. The Octalysis Group has already designed an engaging 7 Week Kindergarten program to engage the kids.

However, Food Heroes needs to figure out how to engage and train the teachers to run the 7 Week Program. They also need to create a follow-on online subscription box to make sure the kids are still eating healthily and engaged with the brand for the next 12 months.

Your job as a Octalysis Gamification Designer is to either (1) Help them create a gamified training program for the teachers, or (2) Design the 12 Month Subscription Box that the parents will order for their kids and play as a family.

Prizes for Winning

Option 1: Four Days of Food Heroes in China

JUCCCE will pay for economy class, non-refundable, non-changeable ticket to Shanghai and work with the JUCCCE team to see the Food Hero Program in action and eat the food. JUCCCE will sponsor 5 nights of housing for this visit.

Option 2: Spend a day with Yu-kai Chou in California

JUCCCE will pay for economy class, non-refundable, non-changeable ticket to California to hangout with Yu-kai for a day. The winner can shadow Yu-kai on his work and discuss anything interesting. Two nights of lodging will be provided in California by Yu-kai Chou in either Fremont or Milpitas.

Other Finalist Prizes

Gain exposure and bragging status in the Octalysis/Gamification community
-Finalists will receive a Level II Octalysis Certificate by The Octalysis Group
Immortalize your design by becoming a standard Octalysis Prime design case study (through video conferencing with Yu-kai Chou)
-Potential qualification to interview Octalysis Group for Consulting Career

Please Submit your work and design to Erik@ChouForce.com by December 20, 2017.

Look forward to discover the next Octalysis Gamification Master in the community and change the sustainable future of our next generation!