Meaning profiles of dwellings, pathways, and metaphors in design: implications for education

Hernan Casakin*, Shulamith Kreitler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The study deals with the roles and interrelations of the meaning-based assessments of dwellings, pathways and metaphors in design performance. It is grounded in the Meaning Theory [Kreitler, S., and H. Kreitler. 1990. The Cognitive Foundations of Personality Traits. New York: Plenum], which enables identifying the cognitive contents and processes underlying cognitive performance in different domains, thus rendering them more accessible to educational training. The objectives were to identify the components of the meaning profiles of dwellings, pathways, and metaphors as perceived by design students; to analyse their interrelations; and to examine which of the identified components of these constructs serve as best predictors of design performance aided by the use of metaphors. Participants were administered a design task and questionnaires about the Dimensional Profiles of Dwellings, Pathways, and Metaphors, based on the meaning system. Factors based on the factor analyses of the responses to the three questionnaires were used in regression analyses as predictors of the performance score in a design task. The following three factors of the dimensional meaning profiles of metaphors were significant predictors of design performance: sensory, functional, and structural evaluations. Implications for design education are discussed, primarily concerning the important role of metaphor in design problem-solving.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)962-973
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2 Nov 2017


  • Dwellings
  • Theory of Meaning
  • assessment
  • design education
  • metaphors
  • pathways


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