Embodied Making and Learning









Physiological measurements of drawing and forming activities  

Marianne Leinikka, Minna Huotilainen, Pirita Seitamaa-Hakkarainen, Camilla Groth, Mimmu Rankanen, Maarit Mäkelä

Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (2), University of Helsinki, 
Aalto University (3)


Keywords: design research, neuroscience, forming, drawing


The embodiment of tools and experiential knowledge of materials gained over time lies at the heart of both design and craft practices. However, empirical studies combining the study of mind and body in relation to design and craft practice is in its infancy. In the Handling Mind project, we conducted psychophysiological experiments in order to illuminate the relationships between making and feeling, handling creative situations and the embodied mind in thirty participants, both students and professionals representing expertise in various design fields, working with visual (drawing) or material (forming clay) tasks of 1) copying, 2) creating novel designs, or 3) freely improvising. Our findings highlight both the importance of the embodiment with respect to the material and the different physiological states observed in tasks differing in requirements related to following orders or creativity. We conclude that the embodied activities are both supported and altered by bodily and mental processes. This paper is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence.

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Cite this paper: Leinikka, M., Huotilainen, M., Seitamaa-Hakkarainen, P., Groth, C., Rankanen, M., Mäkelä, M. (2016). Physiological measurements of drawing and forming activities. Proceedings of DRS 2016, Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference. Brighton, UK, 27–30 June 2016.

This paper will be presented at DRS2016, find it in the conference programme

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