How Your Coffee Mug Controls Your Feelings

How Your Coffee Mug Controls Your Feelings

What would you say if I told you that objects you use every day are now believed to be practicing a form of mind control on you? Sounds crazy, right?

Well, although cognitive scientists probably wouldn’t use the term “mind control”, they wouldn’t disagree that while we interact with physical elements of our environment, our brains are performing what’s known as embodied cognition, a sneaky sort of intuition that drives how we feel and behave and is breaking down century-old mind/body link claims with a vengeance. It may seem incredible to imagine that the boring coffee mug you held this morning while chatting with your kids, or the clipboard you held while filling out that interview this afternoon, were actively priming your behavior and emotions. How could these static, boring objects change the way you feel and act towards others? Well, fortunately there is a wealth of new research to back up these bizarre claims. While uncovering this research, I couldn’t help but think about how the design of everything from consumer products to education, could be transformed by the notion of embodied cognition. And so I dove into the ever-overlapping worlds of design and cognitive science once more, this time to unearth more about what it could mean to design with embodied cognition in mind, at the very least subconsciously.