Publications

Towards an Understanding of Semantic Memory During Idea Generation

A. Mertens, C. McComb, and C. Toh

2020, ASME 2020 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference

Research in new product design still lacks an understanding of how the types of information used by designers can lead to more successful designs and what cognitive components are involved in the process of generating new ideas. Some theories have arisen that focus on memory usage that could have an impact in idea generation early on in the design process. This framework forms the basis of the current study, focused on identifying the underlying cognitive processes that are active during the design process. To accomplish this, undergraduate students were recruited from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. During the study, participants were presented a design problem, given information pieces that corresponded to the Information Archetypes Framework, and asked to generate ideas for a solution. Students were then asked to recall the information pieces from memory. Participants’ data were analyzed using latent semantic analysis for semantic similarities. Results from this were assessed for relationships using Spearman correlations and simple regression. This study was able to demonstrate memory usage within the early design process.