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Human interaction with the physical world: a brief review of studies on affordances

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 May 2024

Khyati Priya*
IDC School of Design, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India
Jayesh Pillai
IDC School of Design, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India
Avinash Shende
IDC School of Design, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India


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Gibson used "affordance" to describe how animals perceive and interact with their environment. Since the term was coined, many studies, both theoretical as well as empirical, have been done. We conducted a review of the 56 most cited works on physical affordances to answer: (1) What methods have been used to study affordances, and how have they changed with time? (2) How has the definition of affordances evolved over time? We went through papers decade-wise and compare their key contributions. Finally, we discuss how the definition and research on affordances has evolved in the last 40 years.

Design Theory and Research Methods
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The Author(s), 2024.


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