What is The Hooked Loop In Behavioral Design?

The “Hooked Loop” is a concept that comes from the book “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products” by Nir Eyal. The book explores the psychology behind habit-forming products and provides a framework for designing products that encourage user engagement and form habits. The Hooked Loop, also known as the “Hook Model,” consists of four key stages that aim to create a continuous cycle of user engagement:

What are the 4 stages of The Hooked Loop?


This is the initial cue or prompt that leads the user to interact with the product. Triggers can be external, such as notifications, advertisements, or recommendations from friends, or internal, such as emotions, routines, or personal goals that drive users to seek out the product.


The action is the specific behavior the user performs in response to the trigger. This behavior should be simple and easy to complete, increasing the likelihood that users will engage with the product. The ease of action is influenced by the user’s motivation and the simplicity of the task.

Variable Reward

After completing the action, the user receives a reward that satisfies their initial need or desire. Variable rewards are essential because they create a sense of unpredictability and excitement, which keeps users engaged and coming back for more. Examples of variable rewards can include social validation (e.g., likes or comments), new content, or a sense of accomplishment.


In this stage, the user invests time, effort, or resources into the product, which increases their commitment and makes it more likely they will return in the future. Investments can take many forms, such as providing personal information, customizing the product, or making in-app purchases.

The Hooked Loop is designed to create a self-reinforcing cycle of user engagement, where users continuously interact with the product, find value, and invest in it, ultimately forming a habit.

What does hook mean in psychology?

In psychology, the term “hook” generally refers to a stimulus or event that captures an individual’s attention, sparks their interest, and encourages them to engage with a particular subject, concept, or activity. Hooks can be used in various contexts, such as teaching, marketing, and habit formation, to create an initial connection that leads individuals to delve deeper into the content or behavior.

Is The Hooked Loop Scientifically Valid?

Unfortunately, The Hooked Loop is not based on sound science, and does not do a good job of predicting which apps will become habit forming. In fact, most successful products violate The Hooked Model. If you are looking to build a habit forming product, there are much more reliable methods, such as Behavioral Strategy, the Behavioral State Model, or the Fogg Behavior Model.

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