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Cognitive Studies of Architecture Students: Cognitive Abilities and Learning Styles in Design Processes and Judgements of Design Products

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This research is the exploration of relationships and correlations between thinking styles of student architects, their personal aptitudes, and design education. Its methodological approach draws on theoretical and empirical knowledge from several domains, including: design studies, psychology, cognitive science and study of creativity. The work is based upon the analysis of six major datasets from (1) an electronic test assessing individual positions of learning styles; (2) tests of cognitive abilities; (3) design sessions, administered individually under retrospective protocol guidelines; (4) questionnaires with summaries of design sessions, and introspective reports of imagery use and problem-solving styles and strategies; (5) judgements of academic performance from course supervisors based on marks and grades; and (6) assessments of design drawings by professional architects. The analysis revealed fundamentally different ways by which students approach design situations and established a number of important correlations between the measurements of learning styles, cognitive abilities, observed problem solving behaviour, and students' design solutions.

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