The bodily basis of product experience

Thomas Johannes Lucas van Rompay, Paul Hekkert, Wim Muller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
188 Downloads (Pure)


Based on the work of Lakoff and Johnson, this paper argues that part of our product experience is rooted in bodily interactions between people and their environments. Lakoff and Johnson convincingly demonstrated that repeated bodily interactions of a similar kind lead to the formation of image schemas guiding our understanding of verbal expressions. Here, it is proposed that the same underlying principles also govern our understanding of the expression of products. If correct, product expressions theoretically structured by the same underlying schema must be highly related. An experimental study involving chairs partly confirmed this prediction. The paper closes with a tentative discussion on how a chair's perceived expression could be related to the embodiment of schemas in its spatial and material features.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-377
JournalDesign studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • METIS-230341
  • IR-93964


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