Integration of UMA

The Unified Model of Aesthetics presupposes that aesthetic pleasure is affected by various aspects of a product’s design. The strength of the model lies in the fact that it moves beyond a monocausal explanation of the aesthetic experience. For this reason it considers distinct dimensions, while connecting them theoretically through the underlying principle of safety and accomplishment. Of course, this implies that the dimensions cannot be separated entirely. A single product can be liked (or not) because of the perceptual, cognitive and social impression it leaves, as well as for the way it is shaped by a designer’s intentions. In sum, the model as a whole is important to make sense of aesthetic pleasure.

Therefore, in this project we attempt to integrate the model. Through research we try to see how the various dimensions of the Unified Model of Aesthetics interrelate and how they relatively contribute to the aesthetic experience.

In relation to this is the question of how subjective the experience of various aspects is. For example, people may like a product for its typicality, but this does not necessarily mean that they agree on what is typical. Different products may be considered typical by different people. In fact, people may agree more on perceptual features such as unity and variety than on cognitive or social aspects of a design. 


(with Paul Hekkert, Janneke Blijlevens, Clementine Thurgood and Ruben Post)


Berghman, M., Cila, N., & Hekkert, P. (2014, August). The Combined Effect of Perceptual and Conceptual Dimensions on Product Design Aesthetics. In A. Kozbelt, P. P. L. Tinio & P. J. Locher, Proceedings of the 23rd Biennial Congress of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics (IAEA). New York, USA.