Information and communication technology (ICT) consumes energy, but is also an important means of conserving energy. Conventionally, it has done so by optimizing the performance of energy-using systems and processes in industry and commerce. In the near future, ICT will also play a critical role in supporting the necessary paradigm shifts within the energy sector towards more sustainable electricity generation. However, with the advent of "smart" technology from the field of ubiquitous computing, further ways of reducing growing levels of domestic energy consumption are now emerging. With this in mind, we discuss how getting consumers "into the loop" can achieve energy savings on top of the efficiency gains resulting from automated systems, and we describe a prototype application aimed at inducing behavioral change by providing direct feedback on household electricity consumption.
Based on findings that fluency of mental operations is hedonically marked and associated with more
favorable evaluations of the processed target (Reber, Schwarz, & Winkielman, 2004a; Winkielman,
Schwarz, Fazendeiro, & Reber, 2003) we investigated the contribution of such fluency effects for
aesthetic appreciation. Using bogus titles that either facilitated or hindered semantic processing of
paintings, fluency was investigated for higher-order cognitive operations on the level of meaning
assignment. A cross-modal conceptual priming procedure was used, in which semantically related or
unrelated titles, or “no-title” letter strings preceded the presentation of paintings with different degrees
of visual abstraction. Results were in accordance with a fluency-affect-liking hypothesis. Related titles
produced highest appreciation followed by no titles and unrelated titles conditions. This effect was
moderated by the degree of abstraction of the paintings, with fluency effects especially prominent for
representational paintings. Results indicated that aesthetic appreciation is partly grounded in the processing
dynamics of the viewer and that the phenomenal experience of cognitive-fluency is an intrinsic
source for the hedonic value of art.