Journal of Sonic Studies, volume 6, nr. 1 (January 2014)Elif Özcan: THE HARLEY EFFECT: INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL FACTORS THAT FACILITATE POSITIVE EXPERIENCES WITH PRODUCT SOUNDS
Everyday activities are laden with emotional experiences involving sound. Our interactions with products (shavers, hairdryers, electric drills) often cause sounds that are typically unpleasant to the ear. Yet, we may get excited with the sound of an accelerating Harley Davidson because the rumbling sound represents adventure or an espresso machine pouring cappuccino because the sound signals an upcoming relaxing event. These examples demonstrate that it is often difficult to predict how pleasant or unpleasant a product sound is and that the circumstances surrounding sound events (i.e., external factors) can influence our judgment regarding those sounds. This paper discusses these external factors and provides a technical support for this notion. It will further present implications that could influence future product designers. Furthermore, the aim of this paper is to re-position the role of sound in human-product interactions.