B21F6BB4-1C5E-4341-9402-72115F03EA26 12. June 2023

The Human Factor - Deep psychological study by Ströer and rheingold Institut

Today, more than ever, technologies are evolving at an ever-faster pace, changing the way we live and go about our daily lives. Some technological trends prevail - others do not. It is not the technology itself that is decisive for its acceptance, but its ability to provide people with a benefit. This added value can also be psychological. On behalf of Ströer, the Cologne-based rheingold Institute literally put almost 100 Germans of all relevant age and cultural groups on the morphologists' couch. One core finding: the approach to technological innovation is primarily characterized by skepticism and unwillingness.

The human being in progress 
The study "Man in Progress" expanded the purely technical view from Crossroads Evolution to include the question of which soul needs technological innovation must serve in order to have a chance of being accepted. To this end, 15 key trends from the media sector were integrated into the study. The current range of products seems to cover not only everyday necessities, but also more or less all obvious wishes and dreams. From a psychological perspective, this also heralds a technological-digital epochal change.


"Successive crises have made us realize how limited human omnipotence is," says psychologist and institute director Stephan Grünewald. "For many years, digital absolutism led us to believe that we could rule the world with the swipe of a finger, as with the smartphone. In our latest study, we can see absolute disillusionment in this regard. We've reached a point in the history of progress where what's technologically possible is outstripping even people's wildest pipe dreams." 

Do people trust technologies like ChatGPT? 
"The hype surrounding ChatGPT has shown that many technologies of the future have definitely grown in technical maturity in recent years and are therefore actually ready for broad market entry," says Christian von den Brincken, Managing Director of Ströer Core. However, it is just as important that people accept the technology, trust it and see it as useful.  

In addition, awareness of the CO2 emissions and resource consumption caused by digital applications is growing steadily. In addition, technological trends and applications that are communicatively too one-sidedly oriented toward consumption and are not embedded in any overarching context of meaning beyond that tend to be evaluated more critically. "Technology for technology's sake is no longer a convincing argument for people," says Stephan Grünewald.  

The desire for digital reduction 
The feeling of oversaturation and the desire for digital reduction can be well illustrated by the example of the smartphone: Users are often only aware of a fraction of the available applications and are annoyed by the sheer unmanageable number of apps and the need to download, configure and use them individually. There is therefore a rigorous deletion and sorting out of apps on the smartphone - and before downloading or using them, apps are checked much more closely for their relevance to everyday life and their actual usefulness.

Necessary conditions for the acceptance of technology 
The study identified four necessary core psychological conditions that are crucial to Germans' willingness to engage more deeply with trends and applications and form the basis for fundamental acceptance. Only then will it be possible to penetrate Germans' everyday lives with an application.

The four conditions can be understood and used as an overarching test grid for the compatibility of technological-digital trends and applications with the human factor. Christian von den Brincken also sees a German peculiarity in the study results: "Many countries have consistently invested in a digital mindset: Finland, Estonia, Sweden, Ukraine. The skepticism of the Germans can develop as a location disadvantage. Our study offers approaches to understanding how meaningful digital solutions can find acceptance among people and we can dissolve this collective blockade."  

Study details  
For the study, subjects aged 13 to 65 were interviewed in two-hour in-depth psychological interviews. The trends were based on the new edition of the 2023 Trend Atlas, which was published as part of the Crossroads Evolution trend study. The study is a comprehensive work on the mega, macro and micro trends and evaluates them in terms of their maturity for the German media and communications market. Click here to download Crossroads Evolution.

The results of this study are not published in their entirety. We would be happy to present them to you exclusively in individually tailored keynotes, lectures or workshops with the rheingold Institute. Please feel free to contact us at: strategie(at)stroeer.de