Designers are adept at determining similarities between previously seen objects and new creations using visual association. However, extant research on the visual association of designers and the differences between expert and novice designers when they engage in the visual association task are scant. Using electroencephalography (EEG), this study attempted to narrow this research gap. Sixteen healthy designers-eight experts and eight novices-were recruited, and asked to perform visual association while EEG signals were acquired, subsequently analysed using independent component analysis. The results indicated that strong connectivity was observed among the prefrontal, frontal, and cingulate cortices, and the default mode network. The experts used both hemispheres and executive functions to support their association tasks, whereas the novices mainly used their right hemisphere and memory retrieval functions. The visual association of experts appeared to be more goal-directed than that of the novices. Accordingly, designing and implementing authentic and goal-directed activities for improving the executive functions of the prefrontal cortex and default mode network are critical for design educators and creativity researchers. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- EEG; Electroencephalography; Expert designer; Novice designer; Visual association