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 (Roseman & Smith, 2001). It can be advantageous for designers to understand how distinct positive emotions are elicited and how these emotions affect usage behavior. This research aims to generate knowledge on the role of positive emotions in human-product interactions.
This research 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?
There is overwhelming evidence that people who regularly experience positive emotions show better functioning and experience better life outcomes, including physical and mental health, successful coping, and longevity (for a review, see Lyubomirsky, King, & Diener, 2005). In fact, the daily experienced pleasant and unpleasant emotions are the main components of subjective well-being (Diener, Suh, Lucas, & Smith, 1999). It is the responsibly of design researchers to generate knowledge that enables designers to formulate effective strategies to take positive action in contributing to the well-being of the people that use their products. Hence, understanding emotions in human-product interaction does not only help designers in their attempts to deliberately design for meaningful product/user relationships, but ultimately also to design products that contribute to a healthy society.
Four research questions determine the general project stages, in which the research findings from each research question are associated with the progress of the project. In the first stage, manifestations of 25 positive emotions experienced in human-product interactions are explored. Two positive emotions are selected to be further studied based on behavioral impacts, appraisal structures, and relevance for product design. In the second stage, theoretical proposition on the eliciting conditions of two selected positive emotions are formulated through in-depth literature review. The propositions are refined with a complementing exploratory study that enables to observe how two selected positive emotions are elicited while interacting with consumer products. Stage 3 aims to get an understanding of what qualities of a product are related to elicitation of two selected positive emotions, and how the qualities can be expressed in design process. This stage produces a set of strategies for designing interactions that evoke two selected positive emotions. Stage 4 investigates detailed effects of two selected positive emotions in human-product interactions with various types of stimuli. Stage 5 aims to check if the predicted effects of two selected positive emotions can be caused by interactions with a product. For this, interactive prototypes that can evoke two selected positive emotions are developed, and are tested to get insights into the roles of positive emotions in human-product interactions.
Yoon J, Desmet P.M.A., van der Helm, A. (2011). Design for interest: exploratory study on a distinct positive emotion in human-product interaction. Submitted to International Journal of Design.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York, Harper & Row.
Desmet, P. M. A. (2002). Designing emotions. Delft, Delft University of Technology. Doctoral dissertation.
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.
Hassenzahl, M. (2004). “The interplay of beauty, goodness and usability in interactive products.” Human Computer Interaction 19: 319-349.
Hassenzahl, M. (2008). Aesthetics in Interactive Products: Correlates and Consequences of Beauty. Product Aesthetics. P. Hekkert and H. N. N. Schifferstein, Elsevier: 287-302.
Johnston, S. V. (2003). “The origin and function of pleasure.” Cognition and Emotion 17(2): 167-179.
Jordan, P. W. (2000). Designing Pleasurable Products: An Introduction to the New Human factors. London, Taylor and Francis.
Lyubomirsky, S., L. King, et al. (2005). “The benefits of frequent positive affect: Des happiness lead to success?” Psychological Bulletin 131: 803-855.
Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). The how of happiness: a scientific approach to getting the life you wants, Penguin Press.
Norman, D. A. (2004). Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things. New York, Basic Books.
Diener, E., Suh, E. M., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective Weil-Being: Three Decades of Progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125(2), 276-302.
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.
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.