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Surprises Elicited by Products Incorporating Visual - Tactual Incongruities

Geke D.S. Ludden , Hendrik N.J. Schifferstein , Paul Hekkert

The perception of a product through one sense modality can create an expectation on what will be perceived through other sense modalities. However, the sensory information ultimately perceived may disconfirm the initial expectation, resulting in surprise.

By means of literature study and a study of contemporary design, types of surprises elicited by products incorporating visual-tactual incongruities are specified. These types are based on different design goals that can be reached by following different design strategies. Differences in the certainty about expectations on how a product will feel and the amount of surprise are important factors in the surprise types proposed. An explorative experiment in which responses to products incorporating visual-tactual incongruities are determined is carried out to verify the types of surprise. In this experiment, subjects could either ‘see’ or ‘see and feel’ several products. Although not all products fitted the surprise type they were selected for, the existence of the surprise types was supported.


surprise, perception, experience, expectation, visual, tactual