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  1. Gero, J.S. (Ed.)
    To explore the connection between brain and behavior in engineering design, this study measured the change in neurocognition of engineering students while they developed concept maps. Concept maps help designers organize complex ideas by illustrating components and relationships. Student concept maps were graded using a pre-established scoring method and compared to their neurocognitive activation. Results show significant correlations between performance and neurocognition. Concept map scores were positively correlated with activation in students’ prefrontal cortex. A prominent sub-region was the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), which is generally associated with divergent thinking and cognitive flexibility. Student scores were negatively correlated with measures of brain network density. The findings suggest a possible neurocognitive mechanism for better performance. More research is needed to connect brain activation to the cognitive activities that occur when designing but these results provide new evidence for the brain functions that support the development of complex ideas during design. 
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  2. Gero, J.S. (Ed.)
    In this paper, we explored changes in brain states over time while designers were generating concepts. Participants either used morphological analysis or TRIZ to develop a design concept for two design tasks. While designing, participants’ brain activation in their prefrontal cortex (PFC) was monitored with a functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy machine. To identify variation in brain states, we analyzed changes in brain networks. Using k-mean clustering to classify brain networks for each task revealed four brain network patterns. While using morphological analysis, the occurrence of each pattern was similar along the design steps. For TRIZ, some brain states dominated depending on the design step. Drain states changes suggests that designers alternate engaging certain subregions of the PFC. This approach to studying brain behavior provides a more granular understanding of the evolution of design brain states over time. Findings add to the growing body of research exploring design neurocognition. 
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  3. Gero, J.S. (Ed.)