Comparing the Design Neurocognition of Mechanical Engineers and Architects: A Study of the Effect of Designer's Domain

DS 94: Proceedings of the Design Society: 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Vieira, Sonia Liliana da Silva (1); Gero, John S. (2); Delmoral, Jessica (1); Gattol, Valentin (3); Fernandes, Carlos (4); Fernandes, Ant
Series: ICED
Institution: University of Porto
Section: Human behaviour in design and design cognition
DOI number:
ISSN: 2220-4342


New tools from neuroscience allow design researchers to explore design neurocognition. By taking the advantage of EEG's temporal resolution we give up spatial resolution to focus on the performance of time-related design tasks. This paper presents results from an experiment using EEG to measure brain activation to study mechanical engineers and architects to compare their design neurocognition. In this study, we adopted and extended the tasks described in a previous fMRI study of design neurocognition reported in the literature. The block experiment consists of a sequence of 3 tasks: problem solving, basic design and open design using a physical interface. The block is preceded by a familiarizing pre-task using the physical interface and then extended to a fourth task using free-hand sketching. Brainwaves were collected from both mechanical engineers and architects. Results comparing 36 mechanical engineers and architects while designing were produced. These results indicate design cognition differences between the two domains in task-related power between the problem-solving task and the design tasks, in temporal resolution and transformed power.

Keywords: Design cognition, Research methodologies and methods, Human behaviour in design, Design domains, Design neuroscience


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