Fogg Behavior Model

From Weekly I/O#73

Fogg Behavior Model: Behavior = Motivation x Ability x Prompt. Three elements must converge at the same moment for a behavior to occur.

Article: Behavior Model

73 Fogg Model


Fogg Behavior Model is a framework for understanding systematically how behavior change happens. According to the model, three factors must converge simultaneously for a behavior to occur: Motivation, Ability, and Prompt.

Motivation drives people to do challenging things. When motivation drops, we fall back on doing easy things. There are three core motivators: Sensation (pleasure/pain on physical level), Anticipation (hope/fear on emotional level), and Belonging (acceptance/rejection on social level).

Ability refers to how easy it is for someone to perform a specific task at a given time. Ability is not just skill but also the simplicity of the task. The simpler the behavior, the more likely it will happen.

Simplicity depends on your most limited resources at the moment, such as time, money, physical effort, mental effort, or routine. The most limited factor becomes the bottleneck that makes the behavior challenging. For example, when people are running out of time, time is the bottleneck preventing the behavior from occurring.

Prompts is the cue that triggers the behavior. Even with high motivation and ability, a behavior won't happen without a prompt. Prompts come in three forms: Facilitators (increase Ability), Sparks (boost Motivation), and Signals (provide a clear action step for those with both Ability and Motivation).

The curved line on the model also shows that Ability and Motivation have a compensatory relationship, meaning when one is low, the other must be high for behavior to happen.

In terms of changing human behavior, this also reminds me of Three Ways to Change.

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