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BJ Fogg and Carl Miller on Understanding Human Behaviour in the Time of Corona

How is lockdown changing the way we think and feel?

Since the lockdown, many of us have been spending more time than ever on our screens devouring the news. How is this changing the way we think and feel? And how exactly is social media influencing events in the real world?

No one is better placed to address these questions than pioneering research psychologist BJ Fogg, founder of the Stanford Behavior Design Lab and widely credited as one of the first scientists to understand how computers could be used to influence human behaviour.

More than half of people in Britain and America now get their news from social media. And the reaction to the video of a white US police officer killing George Floyd, an African American man, shows the power these platforms have to shape our behaviour. Within days of the video being uploaded anger and emotion had spread across the world and spilled onto the streets. But we did not all interpret the footage in the same way or view it within the same context. The platforms already know our political allegiances and lead us to consume content designed to confirm our biases. The more we get, the more we want – and the fewer dissenting voices we encounter.

On July 21 Fogg comes to Intelligence Squared to unpack these pressing issues with research director Carl Miller, who has worked extensively on tracking extremism, misinformation and the rise of conspiracies during the Covid-19 pandemic. Watch the event live online and have the chance to put your own questions to the speakers.

Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything, by BJ Fogg and The Death of the Gods: The New Global Power Grab by Carl Miller are available to purchase from Waterstones, by clicking the book jackets below.



BJ Fogg

Founder, Stanford Behavior Design Lab

Founder of the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University. He is known in Silicon Valley as 'the father of behaviour design' and viewed as one of the first psychologists to understand the science of how computers can influence human behaviour. The list of students who enrolled at his Stanford class range from the founders of Instagram to leading technology design ethicist Tristan Harris. He is the author of Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything and lives between Northern California and Hawaii.

Carl Miller

Research Director, Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM) at the think tank Demos

Research Director and co-founder of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM) at the think tank Demos. He is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Dialogue, a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London and a Commissioner of Newham’s Democracy and Civic Participation Commission. He presents the BBC's flagship technology programme 'Click' and is author of The Death of the Gods: The New Global Power Grab.


Speakers are subject to change.