Developing a questionnaire to explore people’s attitudes towards emotionally-driven prostheses: a pilot study

The literature shows that societies’ attitudes towards people with disabilities are negative, as a consequence of stigma. The design of the products (e.g. prostheses) can affect the attitudes of the people as products elicit emotions. However, research suggests that people have difficulties expressing their emotions. Therefore, the conduct of a pilot study, based on an interview-based survey questionnaire, was essential before conducting a full-study to test whether prostheses evoke emotions in non-prosthetic users (feasibility of study). The objectives were: to gain insights regarding aspects of the structure of the questionnaire; to examine whether people’s attitudes towards people with limb-loss can be affected by the design of prostheses; to identify whether people’s attraction towards prostheses can be affected by their level of emotionally-driven design; to investigate if prostheses can elicit emotions in non-prosthetic users, and; to explore if there is any relationship between the level of attractiveness and the emotions prostheses elicit. The findings cannot be considered as representative, since the sample was small (23 participants). However, they showed that prostheses elicited emotions in non-prosthetic users; the most frequently expressed emotions were sadness, admiration, and serenity. The level of emotional-design of prostheses appeared to affect the level of people’s attractiveness and implied the existence of a relationship with the emotions that were elicited. These findings highlighted the importance of conducting a full-study and suggested the existence of an opportunity for altering the negative perceptions towards people with limb-loss into positive ones through the design of prostheses.