Cognitive design is about understanding and meeting the intellectual, affective, motivational and volitional needs of users. One powerful need that designers often fail to consider is the deep-rooted need for equality and fairness. Just how deep-rooted is this need? Researcher at the California Institute of Technology and Trinity College conducting a brain scanning study found:
“… that the reward centers in the human brain respond more strongly when a poor person receives a financial reward than when a rich person does. The surprising thing? This activity pattern holds true even if the brain being looked at is in the rich person’s head, rather than the poor person’s.”
The implications for cognitive designers are clear – including features that invoke a sense of fairness should increase pleasure and the positive mental energy created through interaction and use.