How designers work - making sense of authentic cognitive activities

Henrik Gedenryd

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

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In recent years, the growing scientific interest in design has led to great advances in our knowledge of authentic design processes. However, as these findings go counter to the existing theories in both design research and cognitive science, they pose a serious challenge for both disciplines: there is a wide gap between what the existing theories predict and what designers actually do.

At the same time, there is a growing movement of research on authentic cognitive activities, which has among other things documented the central roles of action and the physical environment in these activities, something that existing cognitive theories have overlooked and cannot properly account for. This creates an explanatory gap analogous to the one found in design.

This book aims to fill both of these gaps with a cognitive theory of how designers work. It revolves around the roles of physical activities and working materials in design, and the theory explains at length how these have functions that are essential to cognition.

The two threads of design and cognition run in parallel throughout the book: the cognitive theory is applied to design, but is also consistently related to cognition in general. The result is, in back cover text parlance, a 'provocative' account of cognition and human performance, which should be of interest to cognitive scientists as well as to design researchers.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Cognitive Science
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date1998 Dec 9
ISBN (Print)91-628-3210-7
Publication statusPublished - 1998

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 1998-12-09
Time: 10:15
Place: Museum of Sketches, Lund

External reviewer(s)

Name: Dr John M Bowers, John M
Title: Dr
Affiliation: University of Manchester


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Philosophy


  • History and Arts
  • planning
  • problem solving
  • pragmatism
  • situated cognition
  • distributed cognition
  • situated action
  • inquiry
  • interactive cognition
  • psychology
  • design methodology
  • design theory
  • cognitive science
  • cognition
  • design
  • Historia och konstvetenskap
  • Psychology
  • Psykologi


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