Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hedonomics: The Human Factors of Pleasure Gains Attention as World Grows More Complex

A new and emerging field ...

"While human factors and ergonomics has traditionally been focused on and identified with issues of the human side of technology in general and work specifically (remember your Greek: ergos = work, nomos = laws of), a new era in human factors is emerging.

It emerged with the realization that after studying motor control, perception, perceptual-motor relationships, and, finally, the cognitive capabilities and limitations of human beings, it was time to add emotion and sensation to the make-up of people and recognize the importance of that aspect of our being.

It is important to relax, enjoy life, and, as the Declaration of Independence reminded us, pursue happiness.

Yes, human factors and ergonomics finally added to safety, efficiency, and productivity that need for human beings to enjoy life. It started with the title of "the human factors of pleasure" but that sounded too much like we were embracing (forgive the pun) the adult entertainment industry. We then moved on to Affective Human Factors (which I personally think sounds more scientific and professional), and now we have rounded out the search for the proper phraseology with "hedonomics" (which would appear to split the difference.)

Addressing the Stress of Life

Whatever we call it, the human factors associated with the pursuit of happiness cannot only be fun but is serious business in its own right for many reasons.

First and foremost among those reasons is that as the stress associated with life and work increase and, let's not kid ourselves, it is, the stress relief brought on by play, pleasure, and joi d'vivre, becomes ever more critical to our well-being.

The complexity of life is growing and the technology we create is adding to it. Cellphones, computers, self-service checkout, the global economy, all add to the stress.

After all the focal point of an on-demand world is the word "demand." Multimedia presentations may be more effective, but a good book is still more relaxing. And as this stress associated with work, child-rearing, education, and financial security grows, the importance of getting away, having fun, and relaxing becomes more important so hedonomics emerges to allow us to design such activities to optimize, maybe even maximize, our enjoyment of life."    (Continued via WRAL)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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