The new era of neuro-oriented HCI research

Human computer interaction (HCI) research has evolved significantly over the past few decades. HCI research has evolved from simple system-oriented approaches, to user-oriented research, to cognitive-oriented approaches.

Most recently, the role of emotions (emotion-oriented studies) in HCI has gained momentum (Julien, McKechnie, & Hart, 2005; Picard, 1997; Nahl & Bilal, 2007).

The expressions affective computing and emotional design were born to address the role of emotions in system designs to create systems that were more user-friendly (Picard, 2003). Today, systems are being developed that respond to emotions to help create a more effective and delightful human-computer interaction.

As Nahl and Bilal (2007) stated: “By making this adaptation process [the way in which users adapt to the information environment] explicit, the [social-biological information technology] model reveals how the ubiquitous information environment can be viewed as an affective information environment because all information needs, seeking, reception, and use is processed through emotions (p. 4).”

In my dissertation, I went further to claim that our industry is ready to establish itself in neuro-oriented research approach as well. This is a new era that I feel quite excited about. I call this the new era of neuro-oriented HCI research.

As mentioned earlier, research approaches have drastically changed and evolved in the field of HCI, evolving from the system-oriented approach to user-, cognitive-, and emotion-oriented approaches.

In my mind, the neuro-oriented approach involves research that studies the neural activities of the brain within the discipline of HCI. To provide a richer account, studying the brain and the neural reactions and activities ought to also be part of the research approach in the field of information systems.

Moreover, recently neuro-oriented research methods have found their way into studies in the field of Information Science (Gwizdka et al., 2013). In 2010, Neuro Information Systems (NeuroIS), a subfield of Neuro Information Systems, was started by a few researchers in the field of information systems (Dimoka et al., 2010). NeuroIS focuses on understanding the impact and the use of information technologies (Riedl et al., 2010).

There is a trend in evolving research methods towards richer approaches that include human brain activities. The overarching motivation to the neuro-oriented approach is the need of researchers to understand brain functions in HCI topics, and not only within the fields of neuroscience, for example. This approach will potentially help create better and more evolved information science models, theories, and improved HCI design systems.

I highly encourage the tech industry (or any other non-neurosicence disciplines) to help further open up to the neuro-oriented approach, to help design and build systems based on richer HCI data.




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