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Design fixation plays an important role in design idea generation, and has been found to be complex in its definition and implications. Iden-tifying the factors that influence fixation is crucial in understanding how to improve design pedagogy and mitigate fixation effects. One way to potentially mitigate fixation is through product dissection activ-ities as this activity has been shown to increase creativity and design exploration in engineering design. However, since product dissection has not been studied in terms of design fixation, it is unclear if, or how, this type of activity influences fixation. In addition, although prior work studied product dissection in a team environment, it did not study how individual factors such as personality attributes influence one’s involvement, or exposure to the dissection. This is an important factor to study in order to understand how team-based dissection ac-tivities influence design fixation because the participation of each team member can be affected by factors such as personality traits. Therefore, this study explores the interaction between product dissec-tion, personality traits, and design fixation in an engineering design class setting. It was found that design fixation was indeed impacted by extraversion and conscientiousness personality traits when adjusting for semester standing and exposure to the dissection activity. These findings implicate personality in the product dissection activity, as well as suggest product dissection as a way to mitigate design fixation. By understanding these interactions, the overall design process can be enhanced, as well as our understanding of design cognition.


© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

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