Why is it that we were affected by the passing of Steve Jobs? Most of us never met the guy, but a lot of us managed to feel a tremendous sense of loss when we found out the bad news as it trickled across the Internet. Dr. Andrew K. Przybylski, from the University of Essex, has set out to “understand the grieving of those who knew Jobs through his devices.” The study is also a great commentary on how we Internet dwellers and technology users come to feel connections with people we never actually meet in person.
In a three part study, Przybylski set out to find out what types of people were emotionally impacted by Steve Jobs’ passing, both in the general population and, more specifically, among Apple fans and tech users.
The results are pretty interesting, and suggest that the feelings of sadness were not uniformly felt across the broader demographics of society:[quote]Those who received psychological affordances from devices he created felt close to these items and sadness about his death. Further, this research suggests that it was these psychological affordances which created a relationship between people and their technology, and this experience extended to the creator of the devices.[/quote]
There are a couple of psychology-based terms and keywords throughout the study, so I’d recommend hitting up Wikipedia to check on them from time to time. For instance, the concept of affordance is used quite regularly, so we recommend looking at this page to gain some insights on what Przybylski means when he mentions it.
The study and abstract are quite legible for the non-psychology degree holders, so I’d highly encourage you go check out the findings.