Abstract: This research investigated the effect of warm-up activities on cognitive states during concept generation. Psychophysiological tools including electroencephalography (EEG) and galvanic skin response (GSR) were used along with self-report measures (NASA TLX). Participants were divided into 3 test conditions: 1) no warm-up activity; 2) simple warm-up activities; 3) sketch-inhibition reducing activities. All participants did the same short design task. Results show that those who did a warm-up prior to ideation had a decrease in stress, especially for those who were not personally familiar with the design problem. The art activities especially improved engagement for younger participants. We also saw that females who used the art-based activities reported lower mental workload during ideation and greater pride in their sketches. However, the warm-ups did not produce any difference in the number of ideas or other metrics of performance. These preliminary results indicate that warm-up activities, especially the art-based ones, help reduce inhibition by calming the cognitive state.
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