Journal of Motivation, Emotion, and Personality

Reversal Theory Studies

Towards a Theory of Things: Reversal Theory and Design

Author: Michael J. Apter  

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to initiate the development of a “theory of things.” This would be a theory of the psychological impact that objects of various kinds have on people, especially on their motivation and emotions, and would call on reversal theory for its foundations. On the applied side, it would be relevant to designers looking for a systematic way of developing their creative work. The present paper reviews some ingredients drawn from reversal theory that we might expect in such a theory of things. These include contingent reversal, coming in the form of the innate meanings that have been studied by ethologists, formal aspects of objects such as color and shape, and the cultural and individual meaning that humans learn to associate with di erent kinds of objects. All of these appear to be able to act as reversal agents, and can be made use of in “the eight rooms” technique for inducing reversals. Other reversal theory concepts can also be brought to bear on the development of a theory of things, including the concepts of protective frame, and cognitive synergy.

Link to Article: 2014-v3-02-Apter-Theory-of-Things

DOI: 10.12689/jmep.2014.302

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