The hidden power of emotions

How psychological factors influence skill development in smart technology adoption

New paper for the Smart City Institute

The hidden power of emotions: How psychological factors influence skill development in smart technology adoption

Technological Forecasting and Social Change

Volume 180, July 2022, 121721

Authors : Paolo Gerli, Jessica Clement, Giovanni Esposito, Luca Mora, Nathalie Crutzen


Working within the theoretical framework set by the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) literature, this paper clarifies how psychological factors (emotions, attitudes, beliefs, and information-seeking) affect skill development in the context of smart farming technologies.

Interviews with multiple stakeholders from the agriculture sectors of three European countries (Belgium, Italy, and the United Kingdom) were used to develop a new conceptual model that attempts to generalize the complex interplay existing between skills and psychological factors in the context of smart technology adoption. This conceptualization provides a systematic view of the correlation between skills and psychological factors, complements the TAM by introducing the new concept of attitude to learning, and clarifies how the interplay between cognitive and emotional components influences the decisions to adopt and use smart technologies.

In addition to these theoretical contributions, the paper emphasizes the importance of designing policy initiatives that tackle both cognitive and emotional barriers to the adoption of smart technologies, urging decision makers to move away from the simplistic assumption that increasing the digital skills of potential users automatically leads to growth in the adoption and implementation of smart technologies.


  • Smart technologies are finding applications in different geographic and industrial settings, but their diffusion remains unevenly distributed.
  • We apply the Technology Acceptance Model to explore how psychological factors affect the development of skills for smart technology adoption.
  • We propose a conceptual model that outlines how skill development and smart technology adoption are shaped by information-seeking, emotions, beliefs, and attitudes.
  • We introduce the concept of attitude to learning as a mediating factor between skill development and technology adoption.


Discover all our



Consult the complete list of publications of the Smart City Institute's research team

See all papers

Share this news