Exploring the impact of cognitive style and academic discipline on design prototype variability

Kathryn Jablokow, Katja N. Spreckelmeyer, Jacob Hershfield, Max Hershfield, Carolyn Mceachern, Martin Steinert Steinert, Larry Leifer

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This paper describes a pilot study in which we explored the impact of cognitive style and academic discipline on the variability of prototypes in design tasks as part of a larger research project aimed at understanding the relationships between design behavior, cognitive preferences, and physiological reactions. Engineering and non-engineering students were asked to complete a simple design, build, and test task using an egg-drop design challenge. The students' cognitive styles were assessed using the Kirton Adaption-Innovation Inventory (KAI); analysis revealed only slight differences between the engineering and non-engineering students in terms of cognitive style. Within-person comparisons of the similarity among built prototypes and the similarity between drawn and built prototypes were completed for each student; these results were correlated with discipline (engineering vs. non-engineering) and cognitive style to gain insight into their impact on students' design choices. Results of these analyses are discussed here, along with implications and limitations of this pilot study and our plans for future work in this domain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2014
Event121st ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: 360 Degrees of Engineering Education - Indianapolis, IN, United States
Duration: Jun 15 2014Jun 18 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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