Mood Spreads From Person To Person Via Social Contagion

mood spreads from person to person

A new study described in MedicalNewsToday suggests that the moods of young adults are contagious, and that teenagers are susceptible to “catching” their friends’ emotional states. Researchers from the University of Warwick are investigating how adolescents’ social circles can influence their moods, in an effort to better understand what determines depressive symptoms among teenagers and what might alleviate them. The findings were recently published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.


10 Useful UX Toolkits & Method Guides


Neil Turner, a self declared “former techy turned UX Jedi”, has recently posted a highly useful list of ten of the best UX design toolkits and method guides which are currently available. They are:

1. IDEO Design Kit

2. 18F Method Cards

3. MediaLAB Amsterdam design method toolkit

4. Mozilla Open Innovation Toolkit

5. Microsoft Inclusive Design toolkit

6. Design Practice Methods

7. Austin Center for Design — Design Library

8. Hyper Island Toolbox

9. Practical UX methods

10. UX Design Kit

The Design Value Index Shows What “Design Thinking” Is Worth

In 2013 Motiv Strategies defined the Design Value Index (DVI), an investment tool which identifies organisations which integrate design thinking into their business model. The latest edition of the annual index found that its portfolio of 16 companies showed a 211% return over the S&P 500, marking the third consecutive year that the index has shown an excess of 200% over the S&P.
The six Design Value Index (DVI) criteria are:
  1. Design is used at scale across the organization, both within business units and as a centrally managed function with a high degree of influence with its senior leadership team.
  2. Design is clearly built into the structure and processes of the organization, such as its organization charts and process maps.
  3. The design function is managed by an experienced executive or executive-level head of design, with typically 15 to 20 years of design management experience, who can interface with senior leadership.
  4. Design sees a growing level of investment to support its growing influence.
  5. Design is a centrally managed function with a high degree of influence with its senior leadership team
  6. The company has been publicly traded on a U.S. exchange for the last ten years.

A Crash Course in Design Thinking from Stanford’s Design School

The Interaction Design Foundation defines design thinking as “an iterative process in which we seek to understand the user, challenge assumptions we might have, and redefine problems in an attempt to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding.”

Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design ( has produced a 90-minute “Crash Course in Design Thinking” which seeks to define the approach and provide examples.

The video can be viewed to get a sense of the “design cycle” as teaches it, or the suggested materials can be assembled along with a group of friends or colleagues so as to use the video as an on-line training course.

Asking Human Centred Questions



When performing human centred design there are three things which dramatically alter the nature and creativity of the information which people provide to the designer. One is the ethnographic setting, another is the amount of time of exposure to that setting and the final factor is the logical and linguistic structure of the questions which are asked.

Current HCDI research is investigating the influence of each of the three, and is developing new approaches which take into account the neural science of human memory systems and of subconscious processing.

Until such time as the final proposals are fully validated, however, a “cheat sheet” is provided by the Global Digital Citizen Foundation which is not a bad place for practicing designers to start.

While the “cheat sheet” is mostly a summary of the classical questions used when deploying the 5W’s method of design, the example questions are nevertheless well chosen from the linguistic and rhetorical points of view, and the assembling everything in an attractive resource should provide a helpful contribution to design practice.

University Research Project Regarding Driving Emotions

In collaboration with JaguarLandRover the Human Centred Design Institute (HCDI) of Brunel University is preforming several research studies which are attempting to understand the role of human emotions during automobile travel.  The internet link

will direct you to an online questionnaire which has been distributed to several dozen motoring associations in the UK. It is a very simple set of questions which require no more than about five minutes to complete. It enquires about the circumstances involved in recent highly emotional situations in automobiles

The study has been approved by the Brunel University Research Ethics Committee and all the collected data will of course be stored in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

Might you be willing to participate in the study ?

J Giacomin