CXL Digital Psychology and Persuasion Minidegree — Week 10 Review

Kristina Shands
5 min readMay 31, 2021


Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

I’m not sure what happened to this week but all of the sudden it is Sunday. I spent the day finishing up the Digital Psychology and Behavioral Design training.

I still feel like I am behind and with just two weeks left, I don’t see how I’ll finish it up in time. No worries since this really is a self-paced course but is hard to see how anyone can make it through in 12 weeks without spending significant time watching the videos. I’m a note-taker so that slows me down. If you’re someone with a good memory, you might be able to only watch the videos, extract what applies to you, and move on. But that ain’t me.

Before we dive into some of my biggest takeaways, I want to remind you that you can read my previous reviews by clicking the links below.

CXL Digital Psychology and Persuasion Minidegree — Week 1 Review
CXL Digital Psychology and Persuasion Minidegree — Week 2 Review
CXL Digital Psychology and Persuasion Minidegree — Week 3 Review
CXL Digital Psychology and Persuasion Minidegree — Week 4 Review
CXL Digital Psychology and Persuasion Minidegree — Week 5 Review
CXL Digital Psychology and Persuasion Minidegree — Week 6 Review
CXL Digital Psychology and Persuasion Minidegree — Week 7 Review
CXL Digital Psychology and Persuasion Minidegree — Week 8 Review
CXL Digital Psychology and Persuasion Minidegree — Week 9 Review

And if you are interested in checking out this training program for yourself (I highly recommend it), then visit the CXL Institute.


This week I completed the Digital Psychology & Behavioral Design Training and earned the certification. Yay!

This course is taught by Dr. Brian Cugelma — who is equal parts brilliant and entertaining. The material is hard for me to get through, I think because it feels more like a lecture than a training (meaning I need bullet points to remember anything — I am that old).

We start this week mid-course talking about behavioral media, the specific interactive media we are using to engage our target audience. Dr. Cugelma introduced the Time is Space metaphor and metaphorical movement.

Imagine that your digital product was an actual place or somewhere that people went and could interact with physically.

The menu systems that we have on our website that we use for navigation would be like hall signs that help you know where you are so you never feel lost.

The website pages would be like the rooms. Widgets that have functional areas with similar content would be like well-defined parts of a room that serve a purpose.

When you design any product that has a very clean structure, you can achieve high levels of engagement. You can architect those places on actions and things that people do at almost every aspect of the navigation.

Your CTAs (calls to action) must lead to a reward or it will be perceived as a non-motivating action. That not only disengages viewers but creates distrust and frustration.

You really want to under-promise and over-deliver and make sure there’s something of value that people get at the end.

Next, we talked about brand personalities — one of my favorite topics.


Apple — innovative, creative, risk-taking, rebellious, cutting edge
IBM — old fashioned, safe, conservative, reliable
Microsoft — not clearly defined

Seekers — more creative, outgoing, risk-takers
Anchors — traditional, conservative
Pragmatic — analytical, conservative, competitive, analytical
Empaths — intuitive

People think about the world based on concepts. These are sometimes called schemas or mental models or mental representations.

People think about the world based on concepts. They latch onto pre-existing concepts to make new ideas fit into something familiar.

To persuade through the intellect is to influence someone through how they conceptualize the world. So when someone comes to our landing page or sales page, we want them to build a mental model and have an understanding of what we are selling.

We do that through framing. We help them understand something new faster.

We also learned about creating a value proposition and the importance of sharing benefits and features.

Eustress is the idea that there’s motivating stress that’s tied up with productivity.

If we don’t have enough stress, it’s hard to get things done. For a lot of people, if there’s no consequence, they will not act.

But if you have too much stress, it’s hard to get things done because you’re overanxious. You can’t concentrate, you can’t focus, so you’re not in the right mindset when you’re overstressed.

Somewhere there’s this healthy balance where we have enough motivating stress but not so high that we’re breaking down. That is the sweet spot in our messaging.

Every error, every problem that we subject our users to will cause more, and more, and more stress. And that could backfire by causing resentment and even trauma.

When we design for any interactive process, we want to reduce as much of the accidental stress inducers, and that way we can use the more official pressure tactics that we want.

A very popular pressure tactic is time limits.

Any time we use urgency techniques, we’re essentially putting on time limits and we’re saying, “Look, if you don’t act now, you will miss out.”

So there’s a consequence and so that’s where time limits have a certain element of stress and pressure to them.

We know that the more people have to do in less time, the more we crank up and we ratchet up that stress, and so time limits are often things that we can introduce into our offers, and our products, and the things that we do.

Never use false time pressures because people can become fairly resentful when they find out that you’re using dishonest pressure tactics.

Another pressure tactic is quantity limiters, sometimes called the scarcity techniques. All we do is show how many items are left.

If you don’t act now, you might not get the product because there’s just not that many left.

There are consequences to your inaction. Someone’s going to lose out, so now that turns it into an instant stress-inducing technique.



Kristina Shands

Launch strategist and copywriter for spiritual entrepreneurs on a mission to heal the world.