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A Novel Approach to Quantifying Designer’s Mental Stress in the Conceptual Design Process

[+] Author Affiliations
Shan Zhu, Shengji Yao, Yong Zeng

Concordia University, Montréal, QC, Canada

Paper No. DETC2007-35887, pp. 593-600; 8 pages
  • ASME 2007 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 2: 27th Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, Parts A and B
  • Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, September 4–7, 2007
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4803-5 | eISBN: 0-7918-3806-4
  • Copyright © 2007 by ASME


The objective of this paper is to quantify designer’s mental stress during the conceptual design process. Quantifying the designer’s mental stress would assist the effort of understanding the designer’s creative and innovative process. In this paper, Recursive Object Modelling (ROM) is used as a formal tool to represent the designer’s mental state in each step of the conceptual design process. During the conceptual design process, designers usually describe the design states using natural language, combined with sketches. The description based on natural language will be transformed into ROM diagram through the lexical, syntactic, and structure analysis. A cognitive experiment, which is to design a new litter-disposal system in a passenger compartment located in the trains of NS (Dutch Railways), is built to study designer’s thinking process. ROM is used to analyze and quantify the designer’s mental stress based on the protocol data collected in the experiment. The validation through the cognitive experiment shows that ROM is an efficient design evaluation methodology, which reflects the nature and the characteristics of the design process. The designer’s mental stress presents dynamic, nonlinear, and spiral trend.

Copyright © 2007 by ASME



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