Cognitive science of tourism experiences
Planning and Managing the Experience Economy in Tourism
School of Business and Law
While other disciplinary approaches such as sociology and anthropology are important, this chapter introduces a cognitivist psychology approach to experience research. Such theoretical discussion may seem of little practical use, but the chapter argues that it is fundamental to understanding how and why experiences are created. The chapter applies theory and concepts from cognitive science (cognitive psychology and neuroscience) in the study of tourism experiences. This provides a different psychological paradigm to the behavioural approach currently in use in much research. The chapter describes the scope of cognitive psychology and neuroscience, its main concepts of cognitive psychology (perception, attention, emotion, memory, consciousness, learning), and their neuronal basis (neuroscience). These concepts are then applied in three topic areas related to tourism experiences: decision making, emotion, and attention. Several applications to tourism experience research are noted. Finally, the chapter discusses the way cognitive psychology concepts can be used in tourism research.