Interactive effects of environmental experience and innovative cognitive style on student creativity in product design



Environmental experience can enhance the ideas of design students. Thus, this type of experience may interfere with the influence of design students’ cognitive style on creativity. The aim of this study was to examine the influence of environmental experience on the relationship between innovative cognitive style and industrial design students’ creative outcomes. The environmental experience was measured according to the total scores of the five components of sense, feel, think, act, and relate on the basis of Schmitt’s strategic experience modules. The cognitive styles were measured using Kirton’s adaption–innovation inventory, and creative works were assessed through the consensus assessment technique, which was employed by three experts. Through a field experiment and survey investigation, the analysis indicated that innovative cognitive style significantly and positively influenced creativity, but this only occurred when student was accompanied with a low degree of environmental experience (i.e., a student had a low score for environmental experience); as the student attained a high degree of environmental experience, the influence of innovative cognitive style on creativity became weakened. The experiential media suggested that the natural elements, cultural history, group travel, and narrator effectively diversified the experiences of the students and enhanced creative thinking. This paper suggests providing increased stimulation of environmental experience prior to instructing design students to engage in creative activity. Environmental experience can benefit students by enhancing their creativity.


Environmental experience Innovative cognitive style Creativity 



The author is grateful to the editor and anonymous reviewers for their insightful and constructive comments regarding the previous version of this paper. They also thank the experts and the design students who participated in this study. Funding for this study was provided by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of China (Project No. NSC 102-2221-E-029-019).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Industrial DesignTunghai UniversityTaichungTaiwan, ROC

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