Research on the cognitive activities and on the structure and quality of knowledge flow involved in architectural design education is increasing. These studies generally focus on the interaction between student and instructor, including processes such as producing ideas, solving display problems, and integrating design strategies. These studies commonly include computational evaluations and confirmation of the coding of knowledge. They may also include the determination of designer's thoughts and cognitive actions of design process, as well as the analysis and digitization of verbal protocols during the design process. In most of these studies, the designer's cultural and psychological components are not considered. Accordingly, research on the effects of designers' cultural schema on design activity in design studios is limited. This study aimed to solve this problem by analyzing the relationship between design activity and the designer's cultural schema in a design studio. We performed an experimental study based on a specific conceptual framework and a research model aimed at identifying the relationships among cultural schemas, the architectural design process, and design studios. (C) 2017 Higher Education Press Limited Company. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of KeAi. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license.