But 'see hear, feel and understand' just don't quite describe all of the activities of mind and body that interactivity offers. One could add 'participate' or even the obvious, 'interact' but for purposes of analysis and creating work, these become specific to the mechanics of the property one is talking about. They are about how you participate and interact, not why. So, I'd like to kick it up a level and introduce: CONATION.
Here is what wikipedia says the word 'conation' means:
"Conation is a term that stems from the Latin conatus, meaning any natural tendency, impulse, striving, or directed effort. It is one of three parts of the mind, along with the affective and cognitive. In short, the cognitive part of the brain measures intelligence, the affective deals with emotions and the conative drives how one acts on those thoughts and feelings"
Although "The term conation is no longer widely known—it is in "The 1,000 Most Obscure Words in the English Language," it is highly relevant to interactive screen based entertainment and I think it should be brought back into common usage for studying and creating interactive properties.
Mike Jones and I have been teaching interactivity in a series of workshops for the [imi] project and AFTRS students. The workshop starts with asking: "what does an interactive screen story or experience need in order to get people involved?"
The answer proposed in the workshop is:
What motivates an audience to participate? What action do they do or role do they have to play? What is their reward?
What I realised when I learned the word 'conation' is that these three things - motivation, action, and reward - speak to the CONATIVE aspects of mind.
Put together with cognition and affection (understanding and feeling) conation adds volition, will to act, or, colloquially: an itch to scratch.
(p.s. AFTRS students can expect to be discussing the conative in upcoming workshops, because I'm changing my acronym to: SHFUCA - see-hear-feel-understand-conate-articulate - Shall I paraphrase the now famous line from the movie ARGO? ARGO SHFUCA...)