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Affect, Emotion and Rationality. Contradictory variables in the aspiration for object longevity?

Kristina Borjesson , Martin Woolley

This paper explores the human/object relationship as focused on meaning during the first encounter1, which is normally dominated by an affective reaction followed by a body expression and continued by a relationship build-up in a cognitive process, which it is argued, is a balancing act between affective and reflected decision-making (Bastick, 2003, Borjesson, 2006). Reflection is normally regarded as the catalyst for a decision as whether the object is appropriate for an action (for example a buy) and further for an established relationship, an attachment, or not. However, with reference to current research there is evidence that the preconditions for the longevity of the relationship are not dependent on the object’s physical qualities2 (Borjesson, 2006, Krippendorf, 2006) and are not necessarily entirely rational: the subconscious may play an active role in the decision leading up to this situation. Moreover, affective decision-making is here claimed to add value to reflected decisions, as it is not confined to the conscious mind and hence represents more dimensions including feelings, emotions and moods, which all extends beyond the physical qualities of objects (Damasio, 1999). Finally, cultural codes as represented by traditions become integrated over time in our mind and thus also exert affective influence.


Rationality, reflection, affectivity, subconscious, intuition, attachment