A theory of affective experience

DS 75-7: Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED13), Design for Harmonies, Vol.7: Human Behaviour in Design, Seoul, Korea, 19-22.08.2013

Year: 2013
Editor: Udo Lindemann, Srinivasan V, Yong Se Kim, Sang Won Lee, John Clarkson, Gaetano Cascini
Author: Lulham, Rohan
Series: ICED
Institution: University of Technology Sydney, Australia
Page(s): 207-216
ISBN: 978-1-904670-50-6
ISSN:  2220-4334


Theory that informs and invigorates designers in how to think about, research and understand human experience is increasingly important to the development of the field of design(Demir, Desmet & Hekkert 2009). In this paper I seek to contribute to the discourse in this area by presenting Affect Control Theory(Heise 1979, 2006) as an explanatory theory with substantial utility to the area of affect, emotion and design. Affect Control Theory is a theory of social interaction that suggests our desire to maintain affective meanings about the world is central to explaining and understanding how we feel, what we do and the emotions we communicate in social situations. In this paper I describe the Affect Control Theory framework and then start to open up its potential for research, practice and understanding in design. I suggest the theory’s key premises of impression formation and affective control, coupled with the freely simulation program Interact, could be the basis of exciting developments to the area of affect, emotion and design.

Keywords: Emotional design, experience design, human behaviour in design, environmental psychology, affect control theory


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