Captology is the study of computers as persuasive technologies. This new area of inquiry explores the overlapping space between persuasion in general (influence, motivation, behavior change, etc.) and computing technology (the Web, desktop software, specialized devices, etc.).
The Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University is one of the groups that focus their research and design efforts on captology. See http://captology.stanford.edu.
The foremost expert on this topic is BJ Fogg, PhD. He runs the persuasive technology lab.
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