10 August 2007

Cultural differences in the emotional experience

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Marco van Hout asks in a long article for uiGarden.net whether there is something like a common ’emotional experience’.

“In my opinion, the answer to this question is two-fold. First of all, people share basic emotional reactions and basic human needs. This makes us all part of the same species, so to speak. However, different culturally specific contexts can make a person from Asia evaluate the same stimulus differently from a European person. But, does this count for all products and designs?”

In this well-referenced article, he tries to explain how he think differences in emotional experience between cultures occur. He looks in particular at the importance of context, and the impact context has on people’s needs, on meaning, and on information processing

He concludes with the statement that “in spite of the globalising market, it is almost impossible to talk about a ‘global experience’. This only occurs when context is shared, which is an ongoing process on the Internet, but not as much in the ‘real’ world yet. Therefore, it still makes sense for designers to study cultural differences.”

Marco van Hout (The Netherlands) is a founding partner of Monito Design & Internet, a company that specializes in innovative solutions for Internet applications; an active member of the Design & Emotion Society where he supports the board as a Public Relations Officer; and editor of the internationally renowned website “design & emotion” where he publishes interviews with leading design professionals from some of the most respected brands and writes about the emotional impact of design, brands and services.

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