Skip to content


Information and Emotion: The Emergent Affective Paradigm in Information Behavior Research and Theory

“Whether it is the joy of an unexpected finding or the frustration felt while using a computer-based tool, emotion makes plays a critical role in all human activities. This extensive, informative book demonstrates the important, critical role that emotion and other affective processes play even in such tasks as finding a library book or, more generally, searching for and finding sought-for information. This is an important book for everyone who develops, provides, uses, or studies information systems. This book marks an important first step toward understanding that emotion and affect cannot be ignored, even in tasks and situations that would appear to be purely informational, purely cognitive.”

Don Norman, Northwestern University, Author of Emotional Design: Why We Love or Hate Everyday Things. Basic Books, 2005.


“The authors expand our horizons from cognitive information-seeking to the broader notions of affectively rich experiences. Readers will learn about the anxiety-producing interactions that generate fear, sadness, and anger, as well as the motivating experiences that lead to self-confidence, optimism, joy, and surprise. Researchers, designers, educators, and user assistance staff will revise their thinking and raise their expectations about how information affects our lives.

This pioneering book expands our language for describing human interaction with information. We knew about motivation and frustration, but now the vast territory of affective responses has been charted, opening up many possibilities for future researchers. Readers will more clearly see the path to making information seekers happier and more successful.

We all know about frustrations with information systems, but the rich ways that users deal with problems, suggests new possibilities for self-awareness, helping users, training them, and designing for them. Readers will shift their thinking from systems and interfaces to information and experiences.”

Ben Shneiderman, Department of Computer Science, University of Maryland, Author of: Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction (4th Edition), Addison Wesley, 2004; Leonardo’s Laptop: Human Needs and the New Computing Technologies, The MIT Press, 2003.


“…a timely and valuable compilation of theory and research on the important influence of the affective domain on information behavior.”

Carol C. Kuhlthau, Professor Emerita, Library and Information Science, Rutgers University, Author of Seeking Meaning: A Process Approach to Library and Information Services, 2nd Edition, Libraries Unlimited, 2004.


“Through the chapters collected in this volume, Nahl and Bilal have moved the field beyond a narrow focus on physical and cognitive aspects of information behaviors, expanding our horizons to consider the emotions and feelings that influence people’s information seeking and use.”

Barbara Wildemuth, Professor, School of Information & Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Co-Founder, ASIST SIG USE (Information Needs, Seeking & Use)


“This book tackles the important role that emotions play in our interaction with information systems. Prominent researchers share their insights gained from a variety of studies that examine the affective domain in information seeking and use. Until now this domain has been neglected in information behavior research, leaving a gap in our full understanding of information interaction. This book fills that gap and is essential reading for anyone who wants the full picture.”

Carol Tenopir, Professor, School of Information Sciences, Director of Research, College of Communication and Information and Director of the Center for Information and Communication Studies, University of Tennessee, Author of Communication Patterns of Engineers, Wiley-IEEE Press, 2004.


“The role of affect in how humans deal with information has fascinated philosophers and writers since time immemorial. This excellent volume brings together the most recent research on the role of affect in the way people select, use and process information. The topics represent an ingenuous combination of approaches from cognitive science, affect research, and computer science, and cover such intriguing questions as the role of affect in information literacy, and affective influences on a variety of information behaviors by nurses, children, undergraduates and others. The chapters offer a nice balance of advanced theorizing, cutting-edge empirical research, and real-life applications. This book should be on the reading list of all researchers and practitioners interested in the fascinating role of affectivity in human thinking and behavior”.

Joseph P. Forgas, Scientia Professor of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Australia, Author of Handbook of Affect and Social Cognition. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2001.


“Emotions, Values, and Meanings are some of the most powerful forces in our lives, behaviors, and decisions and we’re only now beginning to unravel how they work and understand how to develop solutions around them. This book sheds valuable light on what will become the most significant direction in human research and understanding for the coming decades—in science as well as in business.”

Nathan Shedroff, Program Chair, MBA in Design Strategy, California College of the Arts, Author of Experience Design 1. Waite Group Press, 2001; Making Meaning: How Successful Businesses Deliver Meaningful Customer Experiences. New Riders Press, 2005.