Gitte Lindgaard, PhD, is a Distinguished Research Professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and a Professor in strategic Design at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. Until recently, she was Director of the Human Oriented Technology Lab (HOTLab) holding the prestigious Canadian Natural Science & Engineering Research Council’s NSERC/Cognos Senior Industry Research Chair in User-Centred Product Design. Prior to that, she was Principal Scientist and Head of the Human Factors Team at Telstra Research Laboratories, Australia for 15 years. She was Chair of CHISIG of the Human Factors & Ergonomics Society of Australia (HF&ESA) where she founded the OZCHI conference in 1986. She is a Fellow of the HF&ESA, and she has served in a variety of editorial positions on international HCI journals. Her research interests include aesthetics, cognition, and emotion in computing, and human decision making. She has published over 240 refereed papers, books, and book chapters.
Getting under your skin: Enter neuroaffective design
Research has demonstrated that emotion in human decision making is far more pervasive than anyone would have believed a generation ago. Until recently, the decision research community focused squarely on identifying erroneous decision making strategies in order to generate rational, cognitive decision models. These models do not, and cannot, account for the influence of emotion, but new models are being published that include effects of emotion on decisions. Along with these, the increasing attention to work-leisure balance in people’s lives suggests that stress in the workplace is increasing so sharply that techniques designed to relieve stress no longer suffice to address the phenomenon intelligently. This realisation pushes ergonomics research and practice directly into the realm of prevention – that is, tackling stress before it occurs.
Although physiological outputs are the ‘flavour of the month’, the interpretation of physiological data is far more difficult, labour-intensive, and ambiguous than many researchers, even researchers who collect such data, believe. One major issue is the misconception that we can recognise specific emotions in certain, even recurrent, patterns in such outputs. At this point in human history, emotion can only be inferred. Unfortunately, we lack both the vocabulary and the insight necessary for articulating especially our positive emotions, as our emotions tend to reside below our conscious awareness.
In this talk I will discuss recent research shown to be capable of capturing emotion reliably and present some product design solutions that enable workers in traditionally very stressful jobs to remain calm and thus perform better and enjoy better health.