Journal of Motivation, Emotion, and Personality

Reversal Theory Studies

Introduction to The Design Issue

Authors:  Steven Fokkinga, Pieter Desmet

Abstract: This third issue of the Journal of Motivation, Emotion, and Personality: Reversal Theory Studies, is dedicated to design. At first glance, the links between a psychological theory and the practice of creating functional artifacts may not seem obvious. However, a closer consideration of the challenges that both fields address reveals a significant common interest. Design concerns itself with the subset of technology that ordinary people deal with in their everyday lives: phones, cars, and chairs, but also websites and hotel services. Designers have to take into account that the same product can be used in widely diff erent contexts and mental states: the user-product relationship is essentially dynamic. For instance, a phone is
used di fferently on the road than at home, and people have a diff erent frame of mind when having a conference call with colleagues than when conversing intimately with their loved ones. Reversal theory can shed light on the dynamics of motivation in product usage because it puts the spotlight on the dynamic nature of people’s motivation and behavior. Secondly, there is an opposition in design: on the one hand it operates in an industry that favors mass-produced products and standardized services, on the other hand users should experience these products and services as highly personal and meaningful. This contrast necessitates a holistic understanding of what people want and feel. Reversal theory favors a holistic approach that models human motivation, emotion, and behavior as intrinsically linked.

Link to Article: 2014-v3-01-Fokkinga-Desmet-Intro

DOI: 10.12689/jmep.2014.301

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