Design fixation has been found to be complex in its definition and expression, but it plays an important role in design idea generation. Identifying the factors that influence fixation is crucial in understanding how to enhance the design process and reduce the negative effects of fixation. One way to potentially mitigate fixation is through product dissection activities since this activity has been shown to increase creativity and design space exploration in engineering design. However, product dissection has not been studied in the context of design fixation, so it is unclear if, or how, this type of activity influences fixation. Additionally, although prior work studied product dissection in a team environment, it did not examine how individual factors such as personality attributes influence one’s involvement or exposure to the activity. This is important because the participation of each team member can be affected by individual factors such as personality traits. Therefore, this study explores the role of product dissection and personality traits on design fixation in an engineering design classroom setting. Our results show that exposure to dissection activity was related to the individual personality traits of the team members, and design fixation was, in turn, affected by the individual’s exposure to the dissection activity. These findings demonstrate a relationship between personality and exposure to the product dissection activity, and also indicate product dissection as a way to mitigate fixation effects in engineering design education. The results from this study can be used to enhance our understanding of the design process, and help reduce fixation effects in the engineering classroom.
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