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Watch > Episode > Nathalie Nahai - Web Psychologist

Nathalie Nahai - Web Psychologist


Recently a photograph collection circulated called “The Death of Conversation”. It was a series of black and white images taken of unknowing members of the public who, in social situations, had abandoned conversation in favour of looking at their mobile phones. It went viral and ended up featured in Time magazine and the New York Times. The most fascinating thing about the photographs is that they show an outsider’s perspective of a habit that we all participate in.

On many occasions we opt for the spikes of thrill we can find on opening social media notifications, receiving likes or being retweeted. Social media access follows us around now with our mobile phones, but it’s no accident that we experience psychological reward using these apps.

Nathalie Nahai is a web psychologist whose expertise explores how the design of the web manipulates and heightens our sense of reward. Her book, “Webs of Influence”, goes deep on just how technology is strategically created with one goal in mind: to make us click.

In this episode of London Real, Nathalie discusses in detail why we can’t resist clicking on an article or why we feel the need to check notifications incessantly, as well as how designers are leveraging the mini-dopamine rush sought with every interaction as part of the platforms they create.

Born in 1982, Nathalie Nahai hails from a diverse background, with influences from Iranian and Swiss cultures. Her academic journey led her to the University of Cambridge, where she pursued a degree in archaeology and anthropology. Nahai’s fascination with human behaviour, cultural dynamics, and the impact of technology on society laid the groundwork for her future exploration of web psychology.

Nathalie Nahai is renowned for her work in web psychology, a field that investigates the ways individuals engage with online content, platforms, and communities. Her insights delve into the psychological mechanisms that underpin user behaviour in the digital realm, encompassing aspects such as user experience, digital communication, and the influence of design on online interactions.

In her book, “Webs of Influence: The Psychology of Online Persuasion,” Nahai explores the intricacies of how businesses, marketers, and designers can leverage psychological principles to engage and influence online audiences. From the impact of visual stimuli to the psychology of trust, Nahai’s work serves as a guide for understanding the complex web of factors that shape online experiences.

Central to Nathalie Nahai’s work is a profound commitment to ethics in technology. As digital platforms play an increasingly integral role in our lives, Nahai emphasises the ethical responsibilities that come with designing, marketing, and consuming content online. She advocates for a conscious and responsible approach that prioritises user well-being, privacy, and the avoidance of manipulative practices.

Nahai’s discussions on ethics extend to the broader implications of technology, such as the ethical considerations surrounding data privacy, algorithmic biases, and the potential impact of emerging technologies on society. By fostering conversations on these topics, she encourages individuals and organisations to navigate the digital landscape with a heightened awareness of ethical principles.

Nathalie Nahai’s influence extends beyond her writing to her role as a keynote speaker and thought leader. She has graced international stages, sharing her expertise on web psychology, ethical design, and the future of technology. Through her engaging presentations, Nahai sparks conversations about the intersection of human behaviour and digital innovation.

As a thought leader, Nahai actively participates in discussions surrounding the responsible use of technology, providing valuable insights into the ethical considerations that should guide the development and deployment of digital solutions. Her thought leadership inspires individuals and organisations to critically assess the impact of their digital initiatives on users and society.

In addition to her advocacy for ethical design, Nathalie Nahai emphasises the importance of fostering positive and inclusive digital communities. Her insights into community dynamics, online engagement, and the psychology of online interactions contribute to the creation of spaces that prioritise respect, diversity, and collaboration.

Nahai’s work aligns with a growing awareness of the impact that digital communities can have on individuals’ mental well-being. By promoting ethical community-building practices, she advocates for a digital landscape that supports rather than exploits the human experience.

Nathalie Nahai’s journey from anthropology to web psychology reflects a unique blend of academic rigour, technological insight, and ethical awareness. As a web psychologist, author, and speaker, she continues to unravel the intricacies of online behaviour while championing ethical considerations in the digital realm. By providing valuable perspectives on the intersection of psychology, technology, and ethics, Nathalie Nahai plays a crucial role in shaping the discourse around responsible digital engagement and the future of technology.


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