03 / 2023
When we communicate through audio-visual, multimedia and interactive content, we act directly on the senses and receptors of the brain of our users, this much is obvious.
So, if we want to be effective in our communication we must ask ourselves:
How does technology act on our psyche?
Why are we moving more and more towards the creation of immersive experiences and interactive installations?
We spoke about this with Laura Fasano (@tecnolaura), a tech blogger and content creator of psychological training.
We invited Laura to the studio and while playing around with our installations, we had a pleasant chat and reflected on interactivity, generative art and the importance of psychology applied to the design of multimedia content.
On social media and on her blog Benessere Tecnologico (Technological Wellbeing), Laura shares ideas about smart lifestyle, gives us the latest news from the world of innovation and talks about how digital and technological tools are changing our lives.
Now let Laura Fasano explain it in her own words.
If before we were passive users of content that stimulated our senses (especially sight and hearing), today we are increasingly involved, in the first person, in real experiences of interaction between man and machine, between person and multimedia tools.
Thanks to technological development and the birth of hybrid professions, straddling the technical and creative worlds, today when we are faced with an object, a device, a panel or a screen we can talk to it, touch it, see it and perceive it, receiving feedback, answers and changes in the environment that surrounds us. This is the interaction between man-technology.
“New media is interactive. Unlike old media, in which the order of content is fixed, today the user can interact with any piece of media content. Thanks to interaction, the user can choose which elements to display or which paths to follow, thus generating personalised output. In this way the user also becomes co-author of the work.”
In psychology, the factor that makes an experience the more or the less immersive and engaging is called a “sense of presence”. The feeling of being there, of really being in an environment (even if virtual) increases with the possibility of acting on it and interacting with what surrounds us.
Psychologist Albert Bandura, known for the impact of his studies on cognitive social theory, defined the concept of human agency as the faculty of making things happen, intervening on reality and exercising causal power. Agentivity, linked to the ability to generate actions aimed at particular purposes, is one of the factors that distinguishes a passive experience of fruition from an active one and affects learning and memory.
The greater the possibilities of action and interaction with the environment and with technology, the greater the impact on the person.
To make the experience even more interactive and engaging, game dynamics (gamification) are also used to convey messages, promote certain user behaviour, motivating action and rewarding the user when a goal is achieved.
Gamification includes the inclusion of playtime dynamics, such as competition, score keeping, the achievement of objectives, the possibility to win prizes and collaboration.
Man acts on technology and technology responds with feedback and changes: from being simply a user he becomes an actor and, in a certain sense, co- author of a path.
In this case, gaming dynamics or interactive installations with audio, video, touchscreens, kinect, sensors can be used… tools able to involve several senses at the same time and the perception of space and movement.
Embodied interaction is defined as the use of corporeity to facilitate interaction man-technology by making it as similar as possible to what we have in a real environment.
From this idea, interactive installations such as WOA Creative Company’s Ouch!, which, depending on impact and contact with a sensitive surface, generates different visual responses. For example, a ball is thrown near the eye, the digital reproduction of the face closes the eyes, simulating a reaction of discomfort in the exact same position.)
The user of interactive art acquires a wealth of experience that modifies, according to Hans Robert Jauss (1921-1997), his horizons of expectation. There is therefore a change in the way in which the user approaches artistic products. For this reason, even visiting a museum of classical art, you get to have today the expectation of being able to interact and customise your experience.
An aspect that I find very interesting concerns the need to go beyond the “simple” insertion of digital tools in an experience in order to make it innovative.
In reality, this is not enough: we need new methods of design and research that touch on technical, psychological, design and artistic fields.
Technological development has in fact led to new forms of contamination between technology and art in which one enhances the other, generating artistic strands such as interactive art (which sees the user interact with works of art thanks to the use of technological tools) and generative art (in which autonomous systems, such as artificial intelligence, process data that lead to new creations).
In conclusion to Laura’s speech we leave you with some questions:
What role could psychology and neuroscience play in your business?
What impact would an interactive installation have on your business?