Physical Models and Design Cognition

ICORD 11: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Research into Design Engineering, Bangalore, India, 10.-12.01.2011

Year: 2011
Editor: Chakrabarti, A.
Author: Viswanathan,Vimal; Linsey,Julie
Section: Design Creativity, Synthesis,Evaluation and Optimisation
Page(s): 590-598


Physical models are a potential tool which affects designers’ cognition, and very little quantified data exists about the use of physical representation within the idea generation process. Physical models are widely implemented in the engineering design process. There are conflicting results and guidelines about the implementation of these representations as a tool for idea generation. A prior controlled study demonstrates that physical models supplement designers’ incomplete and erroneous mental models, thereby leading to more functional ideas but does not cause design fixation. Another observation study indicates physical representations induce design fixation, thereby reducing the variety of ideas. This paper explores the seemingly conflicting results through a qualitative coding of industrial projects and innovative product design case studies.Consistent with prior laboratory studies, the results show that physical models support the mental models of the designer

Keywords: Design Fixation, Idea Generation, Mental Models, Physical Models


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