stage of use and our reflections about the experience might overlook the

Stage of use and our reflections about the experience

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stage of use, and our reflections about the experience might overlook the positive visceral qualities. Advertisers hope that the strong reflective value associated with a well-known, highly prestigious brand might overwhelm our judgment, despite a frustrating experience in using the product. Vacations are often remembered with fondness, despite the evidence from diaries of repeated discomfort and anguish. All three levels of processing work together. All play essential roles in determining a person s like or dislike of a product or service. One nasty experience with a service provider can spoil all future experiences. One superb experience can make up for past deficiencies. The behavioral level, which is the home of interaction,
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is also the home of all expectation-based emotions, of hope and joy, frustration and anger. Understanding arises at a combination of the behavioral and reflective levels. Enjoyment requires all three. Designing at all three levels is so important that I devote an entire book to the topic, Emotional Design. In psychology, there has been a long debate about which happens first: emotion or cognition. Do we run and flee because some event happened that made us afraid? Or are we afraid because our conscious, reflective mind notices that we are running? The three-level analysis shows that both of these ideas can be correct. Sometimes the emotion comes first. An unexpected loud noise can cause automatic visceral and behavioral responses that make us flee. Then, the reflective system observes itself fleeing and deduces that it is afraid. The actions of running and fleeing occur first and set off the interpretation of fear. But sometimes cognition occurs first. Suppose the street where we are walking leads to a dark and narrow section. Our reflective system might conjure numerous imagined threats that await us. At some point, the imagined depiction of potential harm is large two: The Psychology of Everyday Actions 55 enough to trigger the behavioral system, causing us to turn, run, and flee. Here is where the cognition sets off the fear and the action. Most products do not cause fear, running, or fleeing, but badly designed devices can induce frustration and anger, a feeling of helplessness and despair, and possibly even hate. Well-designed devices can induce pride and enjoyment, a feeling of being in control and pleasure possibly even love and attachment. Amusement parks are experts at balancing the conflicting responses of the emotional stages, providing rides and fun houses that trigger fear responses from the visceral and behavioral levels, while all the time providing reassurance at the reflective level that the park would never subject anyone to real danger. All three levels of processing work together to determine a person s cognitive and emotional state. High-level reflective cognition can trigger lower-level emotions. Lower-level emotions can trigger higher-level reflective cognition.
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