Adventures in Time & Space: Embodiment and Construal

embodyDigital technologies are becoming increasingly mobile and integrated into our everyday surroundings.  It is therefore of interest how spatial location and activity may influence people’s interactions with technologies.  Might people perceive information differently, and therefore also respond to this differently, when this is received when they are travelling, or when they are in a spatially distant environment compared to a static office or home environment?

This project brings together theoretical insight from theories of psychological distance (which outlines key dimensions of distance thought to be interrelated) and embodiment (which proposes that people’s understanding of the abstract notion of time is built on representations of physical distance) to the use of digital technologies in everyday life.  The suggestion is that the analogies and schema used by humans are themselves context-specific with implications for perceptions of space and time in a manner that goes beyond what can be predicted merely in terms of the tasks people are undertaking (‘what’) or the qualities of the settings themselves (‘where’) to extend the understanding of contextual behaviour to ‘how’.

Current aims of the research are to replicate and extend previous research which has found impacts of perceived space on perceptions and judgements of time within the domain of digital technologies.  By better understanding these mechanisms we can potentially adapt or tailor future interactions according to the demands or needs of the situation.  Potential applications include: better designed mobile applications; the development of better targeted contextually triggered messages and adverts.