Global Design and Local Materialization

Volume 369 of the series Communications in Computer and Information Science pp 38-49

Understanding Cognitive Activities in Parametric Design

  • Ju Hyun LeeAffiliated withUniversity of Newcastle
  • , Ning GuAffiliated withUniversity of Newcastle
  • , Michael J. OstwaldAffiliated withUniversity of Newcastle
  • , Julie JuppAffiliated withUniversity of Technology Sydney

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Parametric design offers a new paradigm in the field of Computer-Aided Design; a paradigm focused on the potential for producing design variations. However, despite this potential, the cognitive activities associated with parametric design are not well understood. The authors of this paper present a formal method for capturing cognitive activities via protocol analysis. To support the interpretation of this method, this paper evaluates creativity implicit in design products by way of a consensual assessment technique. The findings identify two cognitive activities (‘making generation’ and ‘changing existing parameters’) as potential critical to divergent thinking and the restructuring of design components. These activities facilitate the generative aspects of parametric design. The paper concludes with a discussion of three cognitive levels (physical, perceptual and conceptual) that support an understanding of cognitive activities in parametric design.


Parametric design CAD Cognitive activity Protocol analysis Consensual assessment technique