Mental iteration in conceptual design involves repetition of cognitive activities when designers perceive discrepancies of the desired state and current state of design. Although it is believed that mental iteration has significant impact on design process and design results, little proof has been developed and our current understanding of mental iteration is still limited. This paper presents a preliminary study of impact of mental iteration on performance of designers in conceptual design. Mental iteration is modeled as various iterative loops of cognitive activities. An experiment was carried out to study the mental iteration behavior in conceptual design. The analysis of correlation was performed to identify significant associations between design metrics and the number and frequency of different types of iterations. The results provide evidence that mental iteration has not only positive but also negative impact on design performance and different types of iteration yield different impacts.

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