Why Does Anyone Live in NYC?
What is it about snakes that makes people so jumpy and uncomfortable? There seem to be certain long-held and deeply human instincts, and Donald Norman’s Emotional Design (pp. 29-30) discusses how we can use these immediate affective responses–good and bad–in design. (A previous post about Emotional Design.)
What are the situations that trigger positive affect?
warm, comfortably lit places
sweet tastes and smells
bright, highly saturated hues
“soothing” sounds and simple melodies and rhythms
harmonious music and sounds
rounded, smooth objects
“sensous feelings, sounds and shapes.
Meanwhile, the conditions that “appear to produce automatic negative affect”:
sudden, unexpected loud sounds or bright lights
“looming” objects (objects that appear to be about to hit the observer)
extreme hot or cold
extremely bright lights or loud sounds
empty, flat terrain (deserts)
crowded dense terrain (jungles or forests)
crowds of people
rotting smells, decaying foods
harsh, abrupt sounds
grating and discordant sounds
misshapen human bodies
snakes and spiders
human feces (and its smell)
other people’s body fluids
Since I live in New York, I experience a lot of these latter triggers regularly. Can cities be designed to minimize these problems?