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Affective Loop Experiences: Designing for Interactional Embodiment

Kristina Höök
Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences
Vol. 364, No. 1535, Computation of Emotions in Man and Machines (Dec. 12, 2009), pp. 3585-3595
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL:
Page Count: 11
Subjects: General Science Biological Sciences
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Affective Loop Experiences: Designing for Interactional Embodiment
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Involving our corporeal bodies in interaction can create strong affective experiences. Systems that both can be influenced by and influence users corporeally exhibit a use quality we name an affective loop experience. In an affective loop experience, (i) emotions are seen as processes, constructed in the interaction, starting from everyday bodily, cognitive or social experiences; (ii) the system responds in ways that pull the user into the interaction, touching upon end users' physical experiences; and (iii) throughout the interaction the user is an active, meaning-making individual choosing how to express themselves— the interpretation responsibility does not lie with the system. We have built several systems that attempt to create affective loop experiences with more or less successful results. For example, eMoto lets users send text messages between mobile phones, but in addition to text, the messages also have colourful and animated shapes in the background chosen through emotion-gestures with a sensor-enabled stylus pen. Affective Diary is a digital diary with which users can scribble their notes, but it also allows for bodily memorabilia to be recorded from body sensors mapping to users' movement and arousal and placed along a timeline. Users can see patterns in their bodily reactions and relate them to various events going on in their lives. The experiences of building and deploying these systems gave us insights into design requirements for addressing affective loop experiences, such as how to design for turn-taking between user and system, how to create for ' open' surfaces in the design that can carry users' own meaning-making processes, how to combine modalities to create for a ' unity' of expression, and the importance of mirroring user experience in familiar ways that touch upon their everyday social and corporeal experiences. But a more important lesson gained from deploying the systems is how emotion processes are co-constructed and experienced inseparable from all other aspects of everyday life. Emotion processes are part of our social ways of being in the world; they dye our dreams, hopes and bodily experiences of the world. If we aim to design for affective interaction experiences, we need to place them into this larger picture.

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