Design Neurocognition: Advancing Understanding of Design Through Studies of the Brain

Full Paper Submission Deadline: 31 May 2019

Please send us an email if you intend to submit a paper to assist us in planning the reviews.

Significant effort within the design research community has been devoted to design cognition, an area in which researchers attempt to understand the set of cognitive processes underpinning designing. Historically, these processes have been studied using “black box” experiments, where the output of carefully designed studies can be used to infer how the internal processes of the mind relate to design activity. However, recent advances in techniques and tools for measuring brain activity provide design researchers with the opportunity to more directly study the internal workings of the brain. We define this emerging research area broadly as design neurocognition. In design neurocognition, techniques for studying the brain are applied to further advance our knowledge of the design process. We are interested in papers from all design domains.

Several neurocognitive approaches for measuring cognitive brain activation have been applied to design: functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), function near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), and electroencephalography (EEG). Each approach offers a unique trade-off between various properties of spatial and temporal resolution. Using these approaches, researchers can contribute to the understanding of specific cognitive processes of the designer engaged in design activity. A wide variety of design cognition is well suited to neurocognitive studies. In addition to studying designer cognition, neurocognitive techniques can also provide significant value through studies of users of designed artifacts, with the specific intention of informing and improving design knowledge.

This thematic collection seeks to capture exciting design neurocognition research across all neuroimaging modalities (fMRI, fNIRs, EEG, etc.), as well as to identify and delineate future directions for research in design neurocognition.

Representative topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Neurocognitive studies of design processes and activities.
• Neurocognitive studies of users related to design.
• Studies using open source neuroimaging data relevant to design.
• Techniques and/or methods papers linking results from design neurocognition studies to design theory, methods, and tools.

Guest Editors:
John Gero, University of North Carolina at Charlotte and George Mason University (
Kosa Goucher-Lambert, University of California, Berkeley (
Tripp Shealy, Virginia Tech (
Yong Zeng, Concordia University (

For questions regarding this collection please contact any of the Guest Editors.