How Affordance Changes: Based on the Coincidence Model of Technological Innovation

Conference paper
Part of the Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics book series (SAPERE, volume 8)


Affordance is a concept that was first coined by perceptual psychologist J. J. Gibson over 30 years ago and now has been widely used in designing man–machine products and systems. The central question we ask is “how does affordance change during technological innovation?” Thus, this paper will examine real technological innovations in order to pursue the trail of affordance, finding out where it comes from and how it changes throughout the process of technological innovation. Technological innovation, which is a creative and dynamic process, forms a chain, and each link of this chain has an interaction between different products. In this respect, the chain acts as an affordance chain. The affordance chain not only provides an interface between designers and machines, but also an interface between machines and users (or consumers). The success of innovation depends on whether consumers (or users) accept the design or not and whether a specific set of criteria was followed. Therefore, affordance helps us to understand and explain the link between designers, products and users. Moreover, as technological innovations experience both the process of transverse development and historical evolution, a two-dimensional space is needed to describe their position. For that reason, affordance should also exhibit some kind of evolutive accumulation.


Affordance Technological innovation Affordance chain Coincidence model of technological innovation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyNortheastern UniversityShenyangChina

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