Human Factors (HF) has traditionally concerned itself with usability, effectiveness and efficiency without regard for the impact that the ‘look and feel’ of products and services might have on human performance. Recent research shows clearly that aesthetics, a ubiquitous, powerful function that permeates the design of products and services, matters. Within a consumer-driven industrial society it is ignored at the manufacturer's or service provider’s peril. In order to encourage HF researchers to begin thinking about aesthetics in design, this paper attempts to position aesthetics within an evolutionary context, and to provide both a psychological framework and physiological underpinnings. Whitfield's Collative-Motivation models of aesthetics is outlined to account for results from much of the experimental research on preferences. Barnard's Interacting Cognitive Sub-systems (ICS) architecture is discussed in some detail, as, contrary to most other cognitive frameworks, it allows smooth integration of cognition and emotion. Physiological processes involved in emotional responses are discussed and the ICS framework is applied to explain both these results and findings suggesting that ‘emotion precedes cognition’. Finally, the integration of aesthetics and the Collative-Motivation model within the ICS framework is attempted.

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Keywords Aesthetics, Cognition, Emotion, Feelings, Somatic marker
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Journal Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science
Lindgaard, G, & Whitfield, T.W.A. (T. W. Allan). (2004). Integrating aesthetics within an evolutionary and psychological framework. Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science, 5(1), 73–90. doi:10.1080/1463922031000086726