About BJ Fogg, PhD

Behavior Scientist at

Stanford University

I founded the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University. In addition to my research, I teach industry innovators how human behavior really works. I created the Tiny Habits Academy to help people around the world. I live in Northern California and Maui.

I always try to do groundbreaking work that will improve people’s lives through behavior change. That's my #1 focus as a researcher and innovator, at Stanford and in industry. Over the years I've created new ways to understand behavior and new methods for designing change solutions. It's a powerful system, and I call this "Behavior Design."

How did I get here? 

Over 25 years ago I was reading Aristotle's Rhetoric when I realized that someday computers would be designed to influence humans. Being a natural optimist, I imagined many benefits of combining persuasion and technology. I decided to explore this area scientifically. 

As a doctoral student at Stanford in the 1990s, I ran the first-ever series of experiments to discover how computers could change people’s attitudes and behaviors. I named this new area "persuasive technology." My research won Stanford’s Maccoby Prize and spawned an international academic conference, going on 10 years now.

After graduation I started working in Silicon Valley, but I also devoted about half my time to Stanford. I founded a new Stanford lab in 1998. And each year since then, I’ve created a new course on a topic that interests me. 

I no longer do industry consulting. Instead, these days I focus on teaching innovators about human behavior--my models and methods in Behavior Design--so they can create products to help people be healthier and happier. 

Now, I’m taking everything I know about behavior change—including my experience personally coaching 40,000 people—and sharing it all in my new book: Tiny Habits.

Degrees and Advisers

I have three graduate degrees. My first master’s degree is from Brigham Young University, where I focused on linguistics and rhetoric, usually from a quantitative perspective. At the time these domains were part of the English Department. Hence, my first master’s degree is in English.

 

My second master’s degree is from Stanford University. In this work, I studied the psychology of computers and media, especially how rules from social psychology are applied to human-computer interaction. This master’s degree is from the Department of Communication. 

 

My doctorate is from the Department of Communication at Stanford University. My advisers were Clifford Nass, Byron Reeves, Terry Winograd (Computer Science) and Phillip Zimbardo (Psychology). Among my other studies, I conducted a series of true experiments exploring social psychology principles in the context of human-computer interaction. Stanford recognized this work by awarding me the Maccoby Prize in 1997. 

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