Tag Archives: haptics

Apple’s Implementation of the Duration-of-Exposure Effect: Screens at 70Ëš

Hours after writ­ing about the dur­a­tion-of-expos­ure effect (whereby merely touch­ing an unowned object increases our attach­ment to it and how much we value it), a post came into my feed read­er point­ing out how Apple Inc. take advant­age of this effect in their “painstak­ingly cal­ib­rated” stores.

Car­mine Gallo, provid­ing a glimpse into his upcom­ing book, The Apple Exper­i­ence, explain­s how every aspect of an Apple Store is designed to foster “multi­s­ens­ory own­er­ship exper­i­ences”. This on the (very spe­cif­ic) tilt of laptop screens (from anoth­er great art­icle on the top­ic):

The note­book com­puters dis­played on the store’s tab­letops and coun­ters are set out, each day, to exactly the same angle. That angle being, pre­cisely, 70 degrees: not as rigid as a table-per­pen­dic­u­lar 90 degrees, but open enough – and, also, closed enough – for screens’ con­tent to remain vis­ible and invit­ing to would-be typers and tinker­ers.

The point […] is to get people to touch the devices. “The main reas­on note­book com­puters screens are slightly angled is to encour­age cus­tom­ers to adjust the screen to their ideal view­ing angle,” [Gallo] says – “in oth­er words, to touch the com­puter.”

A tact­ile exper­i­ence with an Apple product begets loy­alty to Apple products, the think­ing goes – which means that the store exists to imprint a brand impres­sion on vis­it­ors even more than it exists to extract money from them. “The own­er­ship exper­i­ence is more import­ant than a sale,” Gallo notes. Which means that the store – and every single detail cre­at­ing the exper­i­ence of it – are optim­ized for cus­tom­ers’ per­son­al indul­gence. Apple wants you to touch stuff, to play with it, to make it your own. Its note­book com­puters are tilted at just the right angle to beck­on you to their screens – and, more import­antly, to their key­boards.

When Apple do it right, they do it per­fectly.

via Kot­tke

Increasing Attachment and Valuation Through Touch

The endow­ment effect is old news: the amount that we value an object increases once we take own­er­ship of it. The ‘exten­ded ver­sion’ shows that the impact of the endow­ment effect increases with time: our valu­ation of an object increases more and more as the amount of time that we own it also increases. This is known as the length-of-own­er­ship effect.

A recent study pub­lished in the journ­al Judge­ment and Decision Mak­ing1 has taken an even deep­er look at this effect: study­ing how touch­ing an object increases both our attach­ment to that object and how much we value it… even if we don’t own it (also in pdf). Here are the key find­ings of this ‘pre-own­er­ship expos­ure study’:

  • Touch­ing an object will increase our attach­ment to it and valu­ation of it, wheth­er we own it or not.
  • The longer we touch or handle an un-owned object, the great­er we will value it and feel attached to it.
  • Simply think­ing about an un-owned object increases our valu­ation of it and how much we feel attached to it.

Related find­ings, cited in this art­icle:

  • If an object is being sold at auc­tion, the amount that we value the object will increase as the length of the auc­tion increases.
  • Own­ing a coupon for an object increases our emo­tion­al attach­ment to that object.
  • Mak­ing an item the “focus of a com­par­is­on” increases its attract­ive­ness and the prob­ab­il­ity that it would later be selec­ted. We will also feel more attached to the item and will value it high­er.

via @stevesilberman and Life­hack­er (sug­gest­ing that this dur­a­tion-of-expos­ure effect’ is an explan­a­tion for why we have cluttered homes.)

1 What, you’re not read­ing Judge­ment and Decision Mak­ing? You should; it’s bimonthly and open access.

Embodied Cognition and How Objects Influence Our Perceptions

The phys­ic­al prop­er­ties of objects we inter­act with can sub­stan­tially influ­ence our opin­ion of unre­lated items and people.

Through a num­ber of nov­el exper­i­ments, MIT’s Joshua Ack­er­man has clearly shown how the tex­ture, weight, and oth­er phys­ic­al prop­er­ties of objects we touch affect our judge­ments and decisions (neatly sum­mar­ised by Ed Yong):

Weight is linked to import­ance, so that people car­ry­ing heavy objects deem inter­view can­did­ates as more ser­i­ous and social prob­lems as more press­ing. Tex­ture is linked to dif­fi­culty and harsh­ness. Touch­ing rough sand­pa­per makes social inter­ac­tions seem more adversari­al, while smooth wood makes them seem friend­li­er. Finally, hard­ness is asso­ci­ated with rigid­ity and sta­bil­ity. When sit­ting on a hard chair, nego­ti­at­ors take tough­er stances but if they sit on a soft one instead, they become more flex­ible.

These influ­ences are not trivi­al – they can sway how people react in import­ant ways, includ­ing how much money they part with, how coöperative they are with strangers, or how they judge an inter­view can­did­ate. […]

Accord­ing to Ack­er­man, these effects hap­pen because our under­stand­ing of abstract con­cepts is deeply rooted in phys­ic­al exper­i­ences. Touch is the first of our senses to devel­op. In the earli­est days of our lives, our abil­ity to feel things like tex­ture and tem­per­at­ure provides a tan­gible frame­work that we can use to under­stand more neb­u­lous notions like import­ance or per­son­al warmth. Even­tu­ally, the two become tied togeth­er, so that touch­ing objects can activ­ate the con­cepts that they are asso­ci­ated with.

Ed Yong goes on to describe how this “embod­ied cog­ni­tion” shows dir­ect rela­tion­ships with the meta­phors and idioms of the Eng­lish lan­guage, such as “heavy mat­ters”, the “grav­ity of the situ­ation”, a “rough day”, “coarse lan­guage”, a “hard-hearted” per­son and “being a rock”.

The Benefits of Touching

‘Touch­i­er’ bas­ket­ball teams and play­ers (those who bump, hug and high five the most) are more suc­cess­ful than those who lim­it their non-play­ing phys­ic­al con­tact. Sim­il­arly, high­er sat­is­fac­tion has been repor­ted in romantic rela­tion­ships in which the part­ners touch more.

Just two of the find­ings from research look­ing at the import­ance of touch­ing in rela­tion­ships.

Stu­dents who received a sup­port­ive touch on the back or arm from a teach­er were nearly twice as likely to volun­teer in class as those who did not, stud­ies have found. A sym­path­et­ic touch from a doc­tor leaves people with the impres­sion that the vis­it las­ted twice as long, com­pared with estim­ates from people who were untouched. […] A mas­sage from a loved one can not only ease pain but also soothe depres­sion and strengthen a rela­tion­ship.

via @charliehoehn

A Look at our Sense of Touch

Prim­al, Acute and Eas­ily Duped: Our Sense of Touch is a recent art­icle from Pulitzer Prize-win­ning Nat­alie Angi­er (author of The Can­on: The Beau­ti­ful Basics of Sci­ence) tak­ing a rudi­ment­ary look at the sense of touch and some recent research in the field of haptics.

Sci­ent­ists have determ­ined that the human fin­ger is so sens­it­ive it can detect a sur­face bump just one micron high […] 1/25,000th of an inch — the dia­met­er of a bac­teri­al cell.

Aside from the fas­cin­at­ing accur­acy of the sense, the art­icle looks briefly at what is dubbed the ‘rub­ber hand illu­sion’ which Mind Hacks looks at in more detail—and I sug­gest you do too.

via Seed