1 March 2018

Research Picks – 1 Mar 2018

Intellectual inclusion
Children with intellectual disability often have problems in responding effectively to their environment and commonly show a strong dependence on physical materials. Tangible technologies could be used to improve learning through experience suggest researchers from Brazil. However, the benefits of the educational opportunities created by these modes of interaction and feedback need further research to allow novel and supportive systems to be designed for such children. The researchers have developed ten guidelines for the development of tangible environments that can increase inclusivity for children with learning difficulties.
Pontual Falcão, T. (2017) ‘Action-effect mappings in tangible interaction for children with intellectual disabilities’, Int. J. Learning Technology, Vol. 12, No. 4, pp.294–314.

Emotions through the prism
Researchers in The Netherlands have developed EmotionPrism, a tool for designers to gain a better understanding of particular positive emotions and their expressive qualities. Differentiating positive emotions (e.g., joy, love, hope, and interest) and having an awareness of associated expressive interaction qualities (e.g., playful, careful, persistent and focused interaction) can support designers to influence users’ interactions in a favourable way, the researchers suggest. The tool itself is a collection of movie-sets that represents 25 different positive emotions in dynamic hand-object interactions, combined with theoretical descriptions of the emotions, these can be used to focus product design. Differentiating positive emotions (e.g., joy, love, hope, and interest) and having an awareness of associated expressive interaction qualities (e.g., playful, careful, persistent and focused interaction) is key to positive development.
Yoon, J., Pohlmeyer, A.E. and Desmet, P.M.A. (2017) ‘EmotionPrism: a design tool that communicates 25 pleasurable human-product interactions’, J. Design Research, Vol. 15, Nos. 3/4, pp.174–196.

Sex and gender in the SME
A new study from Italy examines the influence of decision-makers’ characteristics, such as biological sex and stereotypical gender roles, on how they make international decisions in the context of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Given the growing importance of SMEs in globalization it is critical to understand the equality and inclusivity issues surrounding management and staff in such companies. Part of the urge to gain deeper understanding begins with looking at sex and gender and their purported impact on decision making. Results of the study suggest, for example, that managers and entrepreneurs with masculine traits, regardless of gender, are likely to make wider use of formalised decision-making processes and to assume a more structured hierarchy. Moreover, among the stereotypical gender roles, only masculinity showed a relationship with the dimensions of strategic decision-making processes. The results show that women have a greater ability to involve the organisation members in making decisions, regardless of formalism or hierarchy.
Francioni, B., Musso, F. and Cioppi, M. (2017) ‘International decision processes within SMEs: the influence of biological sex and stereotypical gender roles’, Int. J. Globalisation and Small Business, Vol. 9, No. 4, pp.203–221.

Emoji tests
Animated characters can be used to represent human emotion and thus be used as tags when people are self-reporting in a wide variety of research contexts about their wellbeing, mental health, and emotional state. 14 characters that represent desire/love, satisfaction/approval, pride/self-esteem, hope/optimism, interest/curiosity, surprise/excitement, disgust/aversion, embarrassment/shyness, fear/shock and boredom/dullness, as well as joy/happiness and contempt/disrespect, have been tested by researchers from The Netherlands. The animations offer a useful non-verbal communication tool through which researchers can collect data from users. Data from the present study on how well recognized were the emotions being conveyed by the animations allowed the researchers to fine-tune the animations and improve their efficacy.
Laurans, G. and Desmet, P.M.A. (2017) ‘Developing 14 animated characters for non-verbal self-report of categorical emotions’, J. Design Research, Vol. 15, Nos. 3/4, pp.214–233.

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