Research Area: Cognitive Neuroscience of Designing


The cognitive neuroscience of designing is a nascent research area that uses EEG, fNIRS and fMRI techniques to study the brains of designers and connect their brain behaviors to their cognitive designing behaviors. We are looking at cognitive behavior that is uniquely indicated for designers and aim to determine whether there are correspondingly unique differences in brain behavior.



Initial papers that describe some recent research findings.

  • Milovanovic, J, Hu, M, Shealy, T and Gero, JS (2020) Evolution of brain network connectivity in the prefrontal cortex during concept generation using brainstorming for a design task, ASME IDETC, paper DETC2020-22563 (to appear) (pdf)
  • Shealy, T, Hu, M and Gero, JS (2018) Patterns of cortical activation when using concept generation techniques of brainstorming, morphologivcal analysis and TRIZ, ASME IDETC, paper DETC2018-86272. doi: 10.1115/DETC2018-86272 (pdf).
  • Shealy, T, Gero, JS, Milovanovic, J and Hu, M (2020) Sustaining creativity with neuro-cognitive feedback: a preliminary study, ICDC2020 (to appear) (pdf)
  • Vieira S, Gero JS, Delmoral J, Fernandes, C, Gattol V and Fernandes A (2018) Workshop Paper: Studying the neurophysiology of designing through an EEG study of layout design: Preliminary results, DCC'18 Workshop on Neurophysiological Measures and Biometric Analyses in Design Research, Lecco, Italy, July 2018. (pdf)
  • Vieira, S, Gero, JS, Delmoral, J, Fernandes, C, Gattol, V and Fernandes, A (2019) Insights from an EEG study of mechanical engineers problem solving and designing, Human Behavior in Designing Conference, in Y Eriksson and K Paetzold (eds), Human Behavior in Design, UniBw M, Germany, pp. 23-34. (pdf)
  • Vieira, S, Gero, JS, Delmoral, J, Gattol, V, Fernandes, C and Fernandes, A (2019) Comparing the design neurocognition of mechanical engineers and architects: A study of the effect of designer's domain, in Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19), Delft, The Netherlands, 5-8 August 2019. doi:10.1017/dsi.2019.191
  • Vieira, S, Gero, JS, Delmoral, J, Gattol, V, Fernandes, C and Fernandes, A (2019) Understanding the design neurocognition of mechanical engineers when designing and problem-solving, ASME IDETC, paper IDETC2019-97838 (pdf)
  • Vieira, S, Gero, JS, Gattol, V, Demoral, J, Li, S, Cascini, G and Fernandes, A (2020) The neurophysiological activations of novice and experienced professionals when designing and problem-solving, DESIGN 2020 (to appear) (pdf)

The people who are working on this include:

  • Sonia Vieira, University of Porto/Politecnico di Milano
  • Tripp Shealy, Virginia Tech
  • Julie Milovanovic, Nantes University
  • Jessica Delmoral, University of Porto
  • Valentin Gattol, Austrian Institute of Technology
  • Mo Hu, Virginia Tech
  • Gaetano Cascini, Politecnico di Milano
  • Shumin Li, Politecnico di Milano