Abstract

In light of well-established principles in behavioral economics and cognitive psychology, we consider how minor variants in the structure, framing, and phrasing of several common design research activities may unintentionally elicit more biased participant responses than currently recognized. To begin investigating the relationship between minor modifications to design research activities and changes in participant responses, we propose designs for three experiments, and then explore their weaknesses and limitations through a short-term pilot study. In our discussion, we suggest that a better understanding of cognitive biases may be used to produce more accurate and salient participant responses – either by minimizing or by explicitly eliciting activity- and context-induced biases as appropriate to the research at hand. Additionally, we propose that recognition of context-dependent preferences could lead to more holistic models of user behavior. This early research is a work in progress. The principle aim of this paper is to provide a conceptual foundation for additional research into how participants’ cognitive biases might influence the outcome of design research activities, and related implications for research activity design.

Keywords:

Design Methods, Cross, Trans, Inter, Multi-Disciplinarity, Cognition, Behavioral Economics, Cognitive Biases

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Jul 7th, 12:00 AM

Cognitive Biases and Design Research: Using Insights from Behavioral Economics and Cognitive Psychology to Re-evaluate Design Research Methods

In light of well-established principles in behavioral economics and cognitive psychology, we consider how minor variants in the structure, framing, and phrasing of several common design research activities may unintentionally elicit more biased participant responses than currently recognized. To begin investigating the relationship between minor modifications to design research activities and changes in participant responses, we propose designs for three experiments, and then explore their weaknesses and limitations through a short-term pilot study. In our discussion, we suggest that a better understanding of cognitive biases may be used to produce more accurate and salient participant responses – either by minimizing or by explicitly eliciting activity- and context-induced biases as appropriate to the research at hand. Additionally, we propose that recognition of context-dependent preferences could lead to more holistic models of user behavior. This early research is a work in progress. The principle aim of this paper is to provide a conceptual foundation for additional research into how participants’ cognitive biases might influence the outcome of design research activities, and related implications for research activity design.

 

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