Pleasure – From Neuroscience to the Ergonomics of Emotion
Pleasure is a intricate concept, covering a range of phenomena from desire and anticipation of a reward, to enjoyment of the reward, and satisfaction or satiation. The brain is equipped with a complex system of sensing pleasure, involving wanting, liking, and conscious evaluation. Interestingly enough, simple sensory pleasure and the above activate the same structures and neural circuits. Perhaps neuroscience will mollify the quarrel between hedonism (collecting pleasurable experiences) and eudaimonism (striving for values and meaning)? The experience of pleasure has a positive impact on health (it speeds convalescence), and both cognitive (it aids creative thinking) and social (it encourages people to help others and be altruistic) functions. Contemporary ergonomics indicate a tendency grasp the hedonist experience as an inextricable part of a good design solution. We may assume that a hedonist experience is produced in a relationship with objects and systems that take into account three fundamental needs of the human mind – the need for meaning, control, and balance.