on Overcoming Functional Fixedness in an Insight Problem
Psychologist Karl Duncker (1945) invented the term “functional fixedness”, which is a mental block that prevents people from using an object that has a particular function in a new and different way (Duncker, 1945 as cited in Glucksberg & Weisberg, 1966). That is, people tend to have a bias as to what an object is used for, and this bias interferes with their ability to notice or come up with other uses for that object. Generally, when people are given a problem, they tend to use irrational methods in order to get to the solution. They waste time on useless methods which usually ends up failing to find the solution (Glucksberg & Weisberg, 1966). The problem about problem solving is that some people are so focused in the word ‘problem’ that they assume simple solutions are not available. People’s bias tends to overwhelm their thought process of problem solving which is a reason why some individuals have had difficulty in solving Duncker’s famous candle problem. Problem solving could range in difficulty depending how an individual perceives it. For instance, in Duncker’s candle problem, participants were given a task to attach the candle to the wall so that it didn’t drip on the table below. Participants used approaches like thumb tacking the candle directly to the wall; however, neither of these approaches worked. The solution to the problem is to stop thinking of the box of thumb tacks as a “container” only for the thumbtacks, and to instead think of it as a “container in general” that can act as a “shelf” so it could hold the candle by using a couple of thumb tacks to nail the box to the wall (Glucksberg & Weisberg, 1966). Dunker opened a door for future psychologists to expand the understanding for functional fixedness.
One proposed theory to overcome functional fixedness was about time. Adamson and Taylor (1954) suggest that functional... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(2010, 12). Psychology. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 12, 2010, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Psychology-517465.html
"Psychology" StudyMode.com. 12 2010. 12 2010 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Psychology-517465.html>.
"Psychology." StudyMode.com. 12, 2010. Accessed 12, 2010. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Psychology-517465.html.