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Questioning the Impact of Personality on Design Outcomes: Should We Take It Into Account?

[+] Author Affiliations
Gül E. Okudan, Kathryn Jablokow, Chun-yu Lin

Penn State University, University Park, PA

Linda C. Schmidt

University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Noe Vargas Hernandez

University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX

Paper No. DETC2012-70319, pp. 95-102; 8 pages
  • ASME 2012 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 7: 9th International Conference on Design Education; 24th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, August 12–15, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4506-6
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


To investigate the impact of personality factors on the novelty and variety of design outcomes, we conducted an experiment with 33 engineering students of various class standings. All students were enrolled in an introductory engineering design class and completed the same design task, improving the functionality of a traffic light while making sure that it runs sustainably. Our results indicate significant impact of two personality dimensions on design outcomes: openness and agreeableness. These results match findings in the literature that show significant impact of certain personality dimensions of individual scientists on creative problem solving outcomes. We argue that creative problem solving in the engineering domain can be different, as it might require a higher level of tactile thinking in comparison to science; thus, investigation of the impact of personality on creative outcomes was necessary. Accordingly, we recommend measuring and using the personality dimensions as co-variates in empirical observations of design outcomes.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME
Topics: Design , Performance



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