Positive Emotions in Human-Product Interactions
Promotor: Dr. Pieter Desmet
This research project investigates the roles of positive emotions in human-product interactions. A person’s emotional state influences the way in which he behaves towards the product (O’Shaughnessy, 1992). For example, positive emotions facilitate approach responses that are associated with further investigation of the product, product purchase, and product use. Negative emotions entail avoid responses that are associated with ignoring the product, failure to purchase, product abuse, and even hiding the product (Crilly, Moultrie, & Clarkson, 2004). It has been shown that positive emotions, like joy, contentment, love, interest, amusement, and pride, improve individual and collective functioning, psychological well-being and physical health (Fredrickson, 2003). These emotions are evoked by different eliciting conditions, and they also differ in how they influence our behavior and attitudes (Roseman & Smith, 2001). It can be advantageous for designers to understand how distinct positive emotions are elicited and how these emotions affect usage behavior. For instance, a product that evokes joy may stimulate playful interactions; a product that elicits interest may stimulate focused and explorative interaction; a product that evokes contentment may stimulate peaceful and reflective interactions. Despite of the beneficial effects of positive emotions, little viable knowledge is available for assisting designers in their attempts to design interactions that evoke differentiated positive emotions. Traditionally, design research has focused on general pleasure or displeasure, ignoring the differences (both in eliciting conditions and manifestations) between distinct positive emotions. Although general emotion theorists have studied these differences, their theories predominantly focus on negative emotions (Fredrickson, 1998, 2003). As a consequence, the roles of differentiated positive emotions in human-product interactions have remained largely unrevealed.
Research aim and main research questions
This research aims to develop an understanding of the role of positive emotions in human-product interactions. It investigates how positive emotions can contribute to enriching product experiences by unveiling their functions and manifestations in human-product interactions, and how they can be deliberately designed. Therefore, the main research question is ‘how different positive emotions affect human-product interactions?’ This main research question entails four consecutive research questions. 1) How different positive emotions are manifested in human-product interactions? 2) What principles underlie the elicitation of positive emotions experienced in human-product interactions? 3) How can a product be designed to evoke specific positive emotions? 4) What are the effects of positive emotions in human-product interactions?
- Crilly, N., Moultrie, J., & Clarkson, P. J. (2004). Seeing things: consumer response to the visual domain in product design. Design Studies, 25, 547-577.
- Fredrickson, B. L. (2003). The Value of Positive Emotions-The emerging science of positive psychology is coming to understand why it’s good to feel good. American Scientist, 91, 330-335.
- Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., & Diener, E. (2005). The benefits of frequent positive affect: Des happiness lead to success? Psychological Bulletin, 131, 803-855.
- O’Shaughnessy, J. (1992). Explaining buyer behavior. UK: Oxford University Press.
- Roseman, I. J., & Smith, G. A. (2001). Appraisal Theory: Assumptions, Varieties, Controversies. In K. Scherer, A. Schorr & T. Johnstone (Eds.), Appraisal Processes in Emotion (pp. 3-19). Oxford:: Oxford University Press.