The Science of Feeling

by Luke Wroblewski February 6, 2004

A recent Princeton University study examined the difference between economic decisions controlled by the “emotional” and the “rational” parts of the brain. Their conclusion: when the emotional side lights up during decision-making “we often make choices that work against our self interest”. Turns out this is news to the field of economics which “has assumed that people make rational decisions.” (Chicago Tribune 2/8/2004)

But it’s great news for emotional design. Investing resources in examining how interfaces (especially those involving economic decisions) can influence users emotionally can pay off. Get people excited about a product and they may pay more. Though Madison Avenue has been toying with our emotions for years, they have not had scientific research to back up their work.