MULTISENSORY DESIGN AS A TOOL FOR EMOTIONAL REGULATION: ENABLING USERS TO COMMUNICATE EMOTIONS THROUGH SENSES
Editor: Bohemia, Erik; Kovacevic, Ahmed; Buck, Lyndon; Brisco, Ross; Evans, Dorothy; Grierson, Hilary; Ion, William; Whitfield, Robert Ian
Author: Karibayeva, Nadiya; Lowley, James; Stein, Laila
Institution: Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway
Section: Ethics and Social Issues 2
DOI number: https://doi.org/10.35199/epde2019.71
The complex nature of emotions poses challenges for those struggling to manage them. Thus, a broader spectrum of regulatory strategies needs to be developed. The ways in which product design contributes to emotional regulation have been scarcely investigated. Yet it is argued here that multisensory design can provide new ways of emotional communication by enabling individuals to use senses to express inner states non-verbally. The paper tries to draw the connection between emotions, senses and product design. It then presents the results of four case studies evaluating expressive sensory features of various objects designed by contemporary product designers. In addition, the survey conducted among students at Oslo Metropolitan University and Manchester School of Architecture reveals basic user preferences in expressing emotions through senses. The findings suggest that in order to facilitate emotional expression through objects, opportunities for contextualization and variety of choice should be provided. Furthermore, expression of a negative emotion is in many cases less effective than distraction and, therefore, should not be the only goal in the design process. Most of the respondents reported experiencing difficulties in emotional expression. Although few use objects in displaying emotions, many expressed interest in alternative ways to communicate feelings. The recommendations for using senses in designing for emotional regulation, which can be addressed in teaching practices in design and other relevant fields, are compiled based on the obtained results.