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Concept generation techniques change patterns of brain activation during engineering design

Abstract : This paper presents the results of studying the brain activations of 30 engineering students when using three different design concept generation techniques: brainstorming, morphological analysis, and TRIZ. Changes in students’ brain activation in the prefrontal cortex were measured using functional near-infrared spectroscopy. The results are based on the area under the curve analysis of oxygenated hemodynamic response as well as an assessment of functional connectivity using Pearson’s correlation to compare students’ cognitive brain activations using these three different ideation techniques. The results indicate that brainstorming and morphological analysis demand more cognitive activation across the prefrontal cortex (PFC) compared to TRIZ. The highest cognitive activation when brainstorming and using morphological analysis is in the right dorsolateral PFC (DLPFC) and ventrolateral PFC. These regions are associated with divergent thinking and ill-defined problem-solving. TRIZ produces more cognitive activation in the left DLPFC. This region is associated with convergent thinking and making judgments. Morphological analysis and TRIZ also enable greater coordination (i.e., synchronized activation) between brain regions. These findings offer new evidence that structured techniques like TRIZ reduce cognitive activation, change patterns of activation and increase coordination between regions in the brain.
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Contributor : Julie Milovanovic <>
Submitted on : Friday, December 4, 2020 - 9:21:38 AM
Last modification on : Friday, March 12, 2021 - 2:12:03 PM

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Tripp Shealy, John Gero, Mo Hu, Julie Milovanovic. Concept generation techniques change patterns of brain activation during engineering design. Design Science, 2020, 6, ⟨10.1017/dsj.2020.30⟩. ⟨hal-03039827⟩



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