Appraisal and Mental Contents in Human-Technology Interaction

Appraisal and Mental Contents in Human-Technology Interaction

Pertti Saariluoma (University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland) and Jussi P.P. Jokinen (University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 32
DOI: 10.4018/ijthi.2015040101


User experience has become a key concept in investigating human-technology interaction. Therefore it has become essential to consider how user experience can be explicated using psychological concepts. Emotion has been widely considered to be an important dimension of user experience, and one obvious link between modern psychology and the analysis of user experience assumes the analysis of emotion in interaction processes. In this paper, the focus is on the relationship between action types and elicited emotional patterns. In three experiments including N = 40 participants each, it is demonstrated that the types of emotions experienced when people evaluate and use technical artefacts differ based on the stances they take toward these artefacts. One cannot approach user experience irrespective of the careful analysis of the situation-specific emotional themes. It is essential to any theory of user experience to consider the nature of the situation and relevant actions.
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User experience research has made its way among traditional ways of approaching emotional and aesthetic human-technology interactions, such as Kansei engineering, funology, design for pleasure, affective design, emotional design, and affective ergonomics (Hassenzahl & Tractinsky, 2006; Kuniavsky, 2003; Law, Roto, Hassenzahl, Vermeeren, & Kort, 2009; Nagamachi, 2011; Norman, Miller, & Henderson, 1995; Wright & McCarthy, 2005). User experience, from a user psychological point of view, can be thought to entail, among other things, a person’s emotions and perceptions of interaction (Bargas-Avila & Hornbaek, 2011; Moran, 1981; Saariluoma, 2003; Saariluoma & Jokinen, 2014; Saariluoma & Oulasvirta, 2010). Behind all these research paradigms with very similar goals one can find different ways of applying psychological thinking to understand how people meet technical artefacts, and for this reason it makes sense to ask if the efforts of different approaches in human-technology interaction can be conceptually unified within a common framework (Saariluoma, 2004; Saariluoma & Oulasvirta, 2010).

In the search for unification, it reasonable to explicate and operationalise modern paradigms within the framework of user psychology (Saariluoma, 2005; Saariluoma & Oulasvirta, 2010). This presupposes using empirical methodologies, experimental paradigms, theoretical concepts, and modern psychological theoretical generalisation. Thus, user psychology could be seen as a similar application area of modern psychology as traffic psychology, school psychology, work psychology, clinical psychology, or geropsychology, which are all divisions within psychology based on an importance of the practical field. This new field of applying psychological thinking would thus entail the whole human dimension of human-technology interaction (Moran, 1981; Saariluoma, 2003). Psychology is, of course, not the only relevant research field in studying user experience. For example, marketing, art research and design, information systems work, and engineering also have important roles in this discourse. However, psychology and cognitive science, as the basic sciences working with the details of human mind, must take part in the discourse on user experience. Thus, it is possible that the other approaches to user experience could eventually be reduced to applied human research and psychology.

The key theoretical notions of modern cognitive scientific and the psychological concept of the mind are anchored to the notions of mental representation, as such derivatives as schemas, productions, or mental models (Anderson, Farrell, & Sauers, 1984; Johnson-Laird, 1983; Markman, 1999; Neisser, 1976; Newell & Simon, 1972). The knowledge of mental representations enables psychologists to explain why people behave as they do (Markman, 1999). The very idea of representation is historical and can be found in different forms in the works of philosophers such as Locke and Hume (ideas and impressions), as well as Kant (1781) and Schoepenhauer (1818-1819/1969) (Vorstellung, i.e., representation). However, despite the intuitive clarity of the concept, psychological interpretations of mental representation have varied over the last 40 or 50 years. During this time, representations of emotions have received their own treatment (e.g., Beck, 1976; Dolan, 2002; Maio, 2010; Oatley, 1992; Power & Dalgleish, 1997).

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