Despite the increasing number of studies on user experience (UX) and user interfaces (UI), few studies have examined emotional interaction between humans and deformable objects. In the current study, we investigated how the anthropomorphic design of a flexible display interacts with emotion. For 101 unique 3D images in which an object was bent at different axes, 281 participants were asked to report how strongly the object evoked five elemental emotions (e.g., happiness, disgust, anger, fear, and sadness) in an online survey. People rated the object's shape using three emotional categories: happiness, disgust-anger, and sadness-fear. It was also found that a combination of axis of bending (horizontal or diagonal axis) and convexity (bending convexly or concavely) predicted emotional valence, underpinning the anthropomorphic design of flexible displays. Our findings provide empirical evidence that axis of bending and convexity can be an important antecedent of emotional interaction with flexible objects, triggering at least three types of emotion in users.
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