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Art and Design Research Guest Seminar Series

Design and Innovation in Children and Adults : How Psychology and Design Combines

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The School of Art and Design will be holding a Research Guest Seminar Series. As part of the series, Professor Greta Defeyter will be presenting 'Design and Innovation in Children and Adults: How Psychology and Design Combines'.

  • From: Thursday 4 February 2016, 12 am
  • To: Thursday 4 February 2016, 12 am
  • Location: 2705, Chaucer, Nottingham Trent University, City Campus, Chaucer Street, Nottingham, NG1 5LT
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Researchers in cognitive science have increasingly begun to focus on questions surrounding the capacity to represent artefact kinds (Barrett et al., 2008). Some researchers argue that adults, and even young children, represent information about an object’s ‘designed function’ (e.g. the use intended by the designer) as central to artefact representations (e.g. Diesendruck et a.l, 2003). However, people not only consider a tool’s physical properties and its function, but also who owns it. Reasoning about ownership is therefore essential for understanding and predicting other people’s behaviour in terms of object use and innovation. A deeper understanding of innovation has clear practical and social implications. Economic growth and progress both equally demand constant innovation. In today’s rapidly changing environments humans must be adaptable, rejecting the status quo and doing something novel. Establishing what underpins successful innovation, and isolating which processes and conditions facilitate and which impede it, has wide-reaching implications for issues such as the development of new technologies. Isolating the contexts under which innovation occurs potentially allows society to promote innovation by facilitating the processes that underpin an individual’s (or group’s) ability to design and evaluate alternatives.

Professor Defeyter will present a number of recent papers on ownership, object function, and tool innovation that address the above topics.

Biography:Professor Greta Defeyter has over 20 years’ experience of conducting research with children in schools and adults in communities. She has led over 200 research projects in the UK and internationally. Her research focuses on the psychology of design, tool ownership, creativity, and tool innovation. Professor Defeyter is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and the academic lead for a number of All-Party Parliamentary Groups and committees and has worked extensively with research councils and industry. She is currently working with biologists at St. Andrew’s University investigating tool innovation, and with designers and engineers at Cambridge University on a research-informed design-led toolkit.

Location details


2705, Chaucer


Nottingham Trent University
City Campus
Chaucer Street

Past event

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