Engineers and other logical people tend to dismiss the visceralresponse as irrelevant. Engineers are proud of the inherent qualityof their work and dismayed when inferior products sell betterjust because they look better.But all of us make these kinds of��judgments, even those very logical engineers. Thats why they love�some of their tools and dislike others. Visceral responses matter.THE BEHAVIORAL LEVELThe behavioral level is the home of learned skills, triggered by situationsthat match the appropriate patterns. Actions and analysesat this level are largely subconscious. Even though we are usuallyaware of our actions, we are often unaware of the details. When wespeak, we often do not know what we are about to say until ourconscious mind (the reflective part of the mind) hears ourselvesuttering the words. When we play a sport, we are prepared for action,but our responses occur far too quickly for conscious control:it is the behavioral level that takes control.When we perform a well-learned action, all we have to do isthink of the goal and the behavioral level handles all the details:the conscious mind has little or no awareness beyond creating the52 The Design of Everyday Thingsdesire to act. Its actually interesting to keep trying it. Move the left�hand, then the right. Stick out your tongue, or open your mouth.What did you do? You dont know. All you know is that you�willedthe action and the correct thing happened. You can even��make the actions more complex. Pick up a cup, and then with thesame hand, pick up several more items. You automatically adjustthe fingers and the hands orientation to make the task possible.�You only need to pay conscious attention if the cup holds some liquidthat you wish to avoid spilling. But even in that case, the actualcontrol of the muscles is beneath conscious perception: concentrateon not spilling and the hands automatically adjust.For designers, the most critical aspect of the behavioral level isthat every action is associated with an expectation. Expect a positiveoutcome and the result is a positive affective response (a positive�valence,in the scientific literature). Expect a negative outcome�and the result is a negative affective response (a negative valence):dread and hope, anxiety and anticipation. The information in thefeedback loop of evaluation confirms or disconfirms the expectations,resulting in satisfaction or relief, disappointment or frustration.Behavioral states are learned. They give rise to a feeling of controlwhen there is good understanding and knowledge of results,and frustration and anger when things do not go as planned, andespecially when neither the reason nor the possible remedies areknown. Feedback provides reassurance, even when it indicates anegative result. A lack of feedback creates a feeling of lack of control,
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which can be unsettling. Feedback is critical to managing expectations,and good design provides this. Feedbackknowledge�of results
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