Tag Emotional Responses

Values and emotions

An empirical investigation in the relationship between emotional responses to products and human values.

This paper explores the relationship between product design and emotional responses. Although emotions evoked by products are idiosyncratic (i.e. different people can have different feelings towards the same product), universal patterns can be identified in the underlying process of how these emotions are evoked. In psychology, the functionalist approach towards emotions offers theoretical foundations that can be used to explain how products evoke emotions and why different designs will result in different responses (e.g., fascination, desire, disgust, indignation, surprise, boredom, amusement, etcetera). In this approach, emotional responses are regarded as the outcome of an appraisal process in which the product is linked to underlying human concerns. If a product is appraised to collide with a concern it will evoke an unpleasant emotion, whereas it will evoke a pleasant emotion when appraised to correspond with the concern. The paper reports an empirical study that was designed to investigate the relationship between such human concerns and emotions evoked by six car designs. In this study, a new non-verbal self-report instrument was used to measure a set of 14 emotions. Each emotion in this set is portrayed by an animated cartoon character by means of dynamic facial, bodily, and vocal expression, and presented on a computer interface. Participants reported their responses by selecting those animations that corresponded with their felt emotion(s). It was found that people with different values experienced different emotions towards the car models. For example, respondents who score high on the values “to be independent,” and “to be stress-free” are significantly more disgusted by the Volkswagen new Beetle than those that score high on the value “have an own identity,” and “seek challenges.” Rather than disgust, this latter group feels fascination towards the Beetle. In the discussion section, the implications of this research for design practice and design research are discussed.

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A Multilayered Model of Product Emotions

Emotions enrich virtually all of our waking moments with either a pleasant or an unpleasant quality.

This paper introduces a theoretical basis for the process that underlies all emotional responses to consumer products. Five distinct classes of product-evoked emotions are discussed, which are each the outcome of a unique pattern of eliciting conditions. The framework for these patterns was drawn from a model that reveals the cognitive basis of product emotions. The main proposition of this model is that all emotional reactions result from an appraisal process in which the individual appraises the product as (potentially) harming or favoring one or several of his or her concerns. In this perspective, the concern and the appraisal are considered key-parameters that determine if a product evokes an emotion, and if so, what emotion is evoked. Because each of the five classes of product emotions (i.e. instrumental, aesthetic, social, surprise, and interest emotions) is discussed in terms of these key-parameters, it can be used to explain the complex and often personal nature of product emotions, and support designers in their efforts to design for emotion.

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