Relax! : inherent feedback during product interaction to reduce stress

    Research output: ThesisPhd Thesis 4 Research NOT TU/e / Graduation NOT TU/e)

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    For this research different experiments were conducted that indicate that people make rocking and rolling movements with a pen when they feel stressed; that when nervous movements are counteracted this results in more control over a situation; and that people prefer objects with moving parts when they are stressed. Embedding sensors in a pen could offer unobtrusive means to detect stress and appropriate feedback could support users in dealing with stress. Given these findings a pen was developed that enables the previously described behaviors. The pen registers the movements to detect whether the user feels stressed. With infrequent movements, parts of the pen are loose and with increased movements these parts are gradually fixed resulting in less freedom of movement for these parts. This type of feedback is considered as inherent because the reaction of the product is directly coupled to the actions of the user and therefore requires less cognitive burden. The pen was evaluated in an experiment and results indicate that users who received inherent feedback on their behavior had a lower heart rate than users that did not receive feedback. Furthermore, it appeared that the first group was not aware of the feedback. This could mean that when products are designed to reduce short-term stress they should provide feedback that directly affects behavior instead of addressing the cognitive skills of the user. Thereby products can reduce stress in a subconscious and unobtrusive way.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Delft University of Technology
    • Hekkert, Paul P.M., Promotor, External person
    • Keyson, David V., Promotor, External person
    • Hummels, Caroline C.M., Committee member
    Award date23 Dec 2010
    Place of PublicationDelft
    Print ISBNs978-90-816506-1-8
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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