Edited by Jon Sundbo and Flemming Sørensen
Chapter 8: Experiencing and experiences: a psychological framework
Experiences are mental and corporeal phenomena. As such, they are psychological. This chapter sketches a framework for understanding the psychological issues implied in dealing experientially with products. This framework is based on two assumptions. Firstly, experiencing is a coherent structure of present sensing and feeling informed by past experiences. Secondly, experiencing is a specific structure by making us aware of the act of sensing and feeling and by questioning the validity of past experiences. When asked to recount an experience, people readily reproduce stories from their immediate or long bygone past. A friendly smile in a crowded bus after a day at work, a sudden noise disturbing the serenity of the moment, a walk in fresh snow with one’s parents many years ago, an anxiously anticipated rendezvous or a dramatic split-up all qualify as experiences. Experiences occur, whether they are planned, designed and marketed or not. They are incidents, imposing themselves on the ordinary routines of everyday life. As such, incidents may be easy to remember. They might even become core elements in people’s life stories like, for example, a rendezvous or a divorce. These considerations have important implications for understanding the experience economy. Firstly, experiences are not just goods and services to be produced or consumed. Experiences are neither bought nor sold.
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