Design for symbolic meaning that supports user happiness

University of Twente organizes CuriousU, a summer school on health and happiness that aims to develop an understanding of how to improve health and well-being through technological interventions. The courses in the summer school cover knowledge from positive psychology, persuasive technology, design, and health sciences.

Mafalda Casais, a doctoral candidate of Delft Institute of Positive Design will give a lecture entitled “Design for symbolic meaning that supports user happiness” on August 18.

Brief of the lecture

Research in positive psychology indicates that consumption of material goods is generally a counterproductive behavior for happiness. For design research this is a very interesting topic, especially since some products seem to defy this negative idea of consumption: Symbolically meaningful products have the ability to make our intentions tangible, to remind us of our aspirations and to keep our successes fresh – and they provide a clue on how design can contribute to happiness. Studying the symbolic value of products is generating a lot of interesting ideas and new insight about how design can positively influence people’s subjective well-being.

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