Demystifying Aesthetics: An Exploration of Emotional Design

C. Miller, G. Veletsianos, and S. Hooper (USA)


Advanced Educational Software and Hardware, Usability Issues


Do our emotions change the way we solve problems? Are cognition and affect interrelated? Does aesthetic design affect the usability of an object or environment? Are beautiful things really easier to use? These questions stem from a branch of human psychology formally recognized as emotions, an area that was considered, until recently, a mystifying and ill-explored domain. Through visceral, behavioral, and reflective means, aesthetic design can positively affect the cognitive and emotional thought processes of the leaner, ultimately facilitating enhanced creativity and problem-solving skills. This paper details the historical and psychological foundations of aesthetic design, the technological implications of aesthetics relevant to the field of Instructional Design and Technology (IDT), a contemporary perspective of the aesthetic influence on learner cognitive load, and discussion stimuli to promote future research efforts within the IDT community.

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