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The Relationship Between Fixation and Originality in Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering Students

[+] Author Affiliations
Alexander LeGendre, Trina C. Kershaw, Rebecca L. Peterson, Sankha Bhowmick

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, North Dartmouth, MA

Paper No. DETC2017-67833, pp. V003T04A008; 10 pages
  • ASME 2017 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 3: 19th International Conference on Advanced Vehicle Technologies; 14th International Conference on Design Education; 10th Frontiers in Biomedical Devices
  • Cleveland, Ohio, USA, August 6–9, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5815-8
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


The goal of the current work was to supplement our existing work on creativity with work on a key design hurdle: fixation. Design fixation was measured based on six features of a litter collector that was used as a physical example for students who were asked to design a ‘next generation litter collector’. We found that certain example features occurred more commonly than others. If less common features were present in a design, chances were greater that the design was highly fixated. Across the Mechanical Engineering program, mean fixation decreased for seniors compared to other students. Fixation and originality had an inverse correlation, although less so for seniors compared to freshmen. This is the first study that may provide insights into how design fixation can impede originality.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME



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