Advancing an Understanding of Design Cognition and Design Metacognition: Progress and Prospects

Linden J. Ball, Bo Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In this article we review progress that has been made in advancing a theoretical understanding of design cognition and design metacognition. We identify a high level of consistency in empirical findings, including good evidence for core design strategies such as conjecture-based problem formulation, problem–solution co-evolution, analogical reasoning, mental simulation and fixated solution generation. A further consistent theme to emerge in our review concerns the central role played by metacognitive monitoring and control processes in ensuring the effective deployment of design strategies in response to designers' fluctuating feelings of uncertainty. We argue that a metacognitive perspective on design cognition is critical for developing a comprehensive understanding of strategic processing in design, additionally engendering many new avenues for important future research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDesign Studies
Pages (from-to)35-59
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Published online: 15. November 2019


  • Design cognition
  • Design metacognition
  • Design strategy
  • Design problem(s)
  • Information processing

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