Fernanda Torre

Fernanda Torre goes Hong Kong

“After extended consideration of all submissions I am delighted to let you know that the Programming Committee would like to invite you to present your final paper at our international Designing Experience-conference to be held at the Academy of Visual Arts, HKBU from 27 to 29 November 2014.”

This was how I got the exciting news that my paper “EXPERIENCE DESIGN AS EXPECTATION DESIGN: And how Expectations differentiate Experience Design from Art” was accepted to the international conference “Designing Experience: The ballerina on the Elephant” taking place in Hong Kong just before the business of design week BODW 2014.

I feel very honored to have this chance to contribute to the development of the field of Experience Design and kickstart the publication of my research.

 Here is the abstract to all of you curious minds:


And how Expectations differentiate Experience Design from Art


The dominant theories on experience design rely on a notion that consciously perceptible cues, such as verbal information or specific stimuli, provide signals that create an experience. However, mounting evidence suggest that experience and behavior can be triggered by stimuli presented outside of conscious awareness, namely in the form of expectations.

Expectations have been largely studied by other disciplines and explored within art, but the factors underlying the design of expectations are widely unknown. The hypothesis raised in this paper is that an experience can, to a large extend, be designed by designing its expectation, both by influencing the decisions related to the experience process, as well as the emotions and feelings occurring during the experience. Providing cases and experiments from varied fields of study I make the case that expectation design is one of the differencing aspects between Experience Design and other practices.

Throughout the paper I build the case that open-ended experiences, like the case of transformative experiences, are subject to alternative explorations, i.e. the subject can greatly influence the experience by taking decisions over it. Recent findings in neuroscience show that the decision making process is highly influenced by the mind’s representation of future outcomes. Expectation builds these future representations with the help of the neurotransmitter dopamine and “prediction neurons”, guiding the subject to the designed outcome. This orchestrated reality is distilled into models of correlation that allow the brain to anticipate what will happen next and act accordingly. The hypothesis becomes all the more interesting as expectations are connected to a dopamine reward system where all responses to rewards and reward-predicting stimuli depend on event predictability. 

The implications of these findings suggest that expectation design is a main differentiator between Experience Design and other artistic and design practices. Designing the interplay between experience and expectation



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