Architectural Education in Relation with Thinking Preferences of Students

Document Type : علمی - پژوهشی


Ph.D. Candidate, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Shahid Beheshti University


Because of the multiple dimensions of design issues, it is essential that architectural students as designers be trained in objective, subjective, critical, and creative thinking styles. This study is based on Ned Herrmann’s “Whole Brain Thinking” model studying the “thinking preferences” and thinking styles pertaining to the four quadrants of the brain. Little such research has been conducted to date in the field of architectural education.
The main reason for choosing Herrmann’s model was that it categorizes people according to multiple priorities, unlike other tools which mostly classify individuals according to their thinking styles. The present paper presents a field study in which data was collected from 140 freshman and senior students of architecture and chemistry in ETH Zurich in Switzerland in the form of 120-question HBDI structured assessment.
Research findings indicate that after the completion of the Bachelor’s program, architecture students are more flexible in using different styles of thinking as compared to chemistry students. This explains the effect of architectural education in extending thinking preferences of students, which makes sense with regard to the multi-dimensional aspects of the architectural discipline.
This research shows that architectural education trains students to use their whole-brain capacity, yet intervening factors such as the curriculum and methods of instruction can tackle this effect. The force of this effect toward whole brain thinking can be different in different universities. Therefore, paying attention to the methods of instruction and diverse thinking styles with emphasis on whole brain dominance would improve the quality of architectural education.


  1. Bunderson, C.V. & J.B. Olsen & W.E. Herrmann. A Fourfold
  2. Model of Multiple Brain Dominance and its Validation
  3. through Correlational Research, Scientific and Technical
  4. Report, Wicat Incorporated Kearning Design Labratories,
  5. Omer, Utah: General Electric, 1982.
  6. Chuang, L.L. “Whole-brain Path to Language Learning:
  7. An English Instruction Model”, in Journal of Educational
  8. Technology & Society, Vol. 2 (2006), pp. 1-5.
  9. Clayton , P. & J. Kimbrell. “Thinking Preferences as
  10. Diagnostic and Learning Tools for Managerial Styles and
  11. Predictors of Auditor Success”, in Managerial Finance, Vol.
  12. (2007), pp. 921-934.
  13. Cross, N. Development in Design Methodology, London:
  14. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 1984.
  15. De Boer, A.L & H.S. Coetzee & H. Coetzee. “Teaching
  16. Cataloguing and Classification at the University of Pretoria:
  17. Thinking Preferences of Second Year Students”, in Journal
  18. Title Libri, Vol 44 (2001), pp. 114-123.
  19. DeWald, R.E. “Relationships of MBTI Types and HBDI
  20. Preferences in a Population of Student Program Managers”,
  21. in Doctoral Dissertation, Western Michigan University,
  22. Final-ASEE. pdf, 2003.
  23. Mackinneon, D. “The Nature and Nature of Creative Talent”,
  24. in American Psychologist, 1970, pp. 484-495.
  25. ________ . “Personality and the Realization of Creative
  26. Potential”, in American Psychologist, Vol 20 (1965), pp. 273-
  27. ________ . “The Personality Correlates of Creativity: A
  28. Study of American Architects”, in Creativity (Penguin Books),
  29. , pp. 289-311.
  30. Marton, F. “On Qualitative Differences in Learning
  31. Outcomes and Processe”, in British Journal of Educational
  32. Psychology, Vol. 46 (1988), pp. 398-406.
  33. Meneely, J. ”Educating Adaptable Minds: How Diversified
  34. Are the Thinking Preferences of Interior Design Students?”,
  35. in Journal of Interior Design, 35 (3) (2010), pp. 21-32.
  36. Meneely, J. & M. Portillo. “The Adaptable Mind in Design:
  37. Relating Personality, Cognitive Style, and Creative
  38. Performance”, in Creativity Research Journal, 17(2) (2005),
  39. pp. 155-166.
  40. Munro, M. & M.H Coetzee. “Mind the Gap: Beyond Wholebrain
  41. Learning”, in Tshwane University of Technology &
  42. University of Pretoria, 2007, pp. 92-108.
  43. Nussbaumer, L. “Theoretical Framework for Instruction that
  44. Accommodates all Learning Styles”, in Journal of Interior
  45. Design, 27(2) (2001), pp. 35-45.
  46. Nussbaumer, L. & D. Guerin. “The Relationship between
  47. Learning Styles and Visualization Skills Among Interior
  48. Design Students”, in Journal of Interior Design, 26(1) (2000),
  49. pp. 1-15.
  50. Ornstein, R. “The Split and the Whole Brain”, in Human
  51. Nature, Vol. 1 (1978), pp. 76-83.
  52. Pable, J. “Interior Design Identity in the Crossfire: A Call
  53. for Renewed Balance in Subjective and Objective Ways of
  54. Knowing”, in Journal of Interior Design, 34 (2) (2009), pp.
  55. V-XX.
  56. Phillipus Oosthuizen, M. An Investigation into Facilitating
  57. Dorst, C.H. “The Problem of Design Problem”, in Expertise
  58. in Design (Design Thinking Research Symposium 6), Sydney:
  59. University of Technology, available at http://
  60. 2003.
  61. Herrmann, N. The Creative Brain, USA: Brain Books, 1995.
  62. ________ . The Whole Brain Business Book, USA: McGraw-
  63. Hill, 1996.
  64. ________ . ”Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument Profile
  65. Interpretation Package”, in Booklet, 1989.
  66. Horak , E, & J.W. Du Toit. “A Study on the Thinking Styles
  67. and Academic Performance of Civil Engineering Students”,
  68. in Journal of the South African Institution of Civil, Vol. 44
  69. (2002), pp. 55-64.
  70. Kolb, D.A. Learning Style Inventory, Boston: Hay/McBer,
  71. Kotulak, Ronald n.d. “Inside the Brain: Revolutionary
  72. Discoveries of How the Mind Works”, available at:
  74. Discoveries-Works/dp/0836232895, 1997.
  75. Lumsdaine, E. & M. Binks (eds), Teaching Entrepreneurship
  76. to Engineers, American Society for Engineering Education,
  77. available at: Http://
  78. Learning via the Whole Brain Model in the Study Unit of Tooth
  79. Morphology, Pretoria: University of Pretoria, 2001.
  80. Power, S. & J. Kimmerow & L. Lundsten. “A Herrmann Brain
  81. Dominance Profile Analysis of sixteen MBTI Types in a
  82. Sample of MBA Students”, in Journal of Psychological Type,
  83. Vol 49 (1999), pp. 27-36.
  84. Restrepo, J, & H. Christiaans. “Problem Structuring and
  85. Information Access in Design”, in Expertise in Design (Design
  86. Thinking Research Symposium 6), Sydney: University of
  87. Technology, a http://
  88. design/papers/Foreword.pdf. 2003.
  89. Rusly, Fariza H. & James L. Cornr. “Positioning Change
  90. Readiness in Knowledge”, in Management Research. Journal
  91. of Knowledge Management, Vol. 16 (2012), pp. 329-355
  92. Shaun Kerry, M.D. Education for the Whole Brain, Education
  93. reform [on line], 2005.
  94. Sperry, R. “The Great Cerebral Commissure”, in The Scientific
  95. American, 1964, pp. 42-52.
  96. Weber, Paula S. & James E Weber. Changes in Employee
  97. Perceptions During Organizational
  98. Change. Leadership & Organization Development Journal
  99. , No. 6 (2001): 291–300.
  100. Sternberg, R.J. & E.L. Grigorenko. “Are Cognitive Styles Still
  101. in Style?”, in American Psychologis, Vol. 52 (1997), pp. 700-
  102. Watson, S. & C. Thompson. “Learning Styles of Interior
  103. Design Students as Assessed by the Gregoric Style
  104. Delineator”, in Journal of Interior Design, 27(1) (2001), pp.
  105. -19.
  106. Weber, Paula S.. & James E. Weber. “Changes in Employee
  107. Perceptions During Organizational”, in Change. Leadership
  108. & Organization Development Journal, 22, No. 6 (2001), pp.
  109. –300.
  110. Woolffolk, A.E. Education Psychology (19th), Boston: Alyn
  111. and Bacon, 2004.