Functional Fixedness

ASSIGNMENT INSTRUCTIONS PART 1:
After reading Amy Parker’s discussion post, write a response to Amy’s
Discussion Post. In your response, comment on Amy’s experience with
functional fixedness. Also, propose factors that may have contributed to
functional fixedness in her examples that she may benefit from
considering.
Here Amy Parker’s Discussion Post:
Functional fixedness is a mental block that hinders us to see an object or
idea for what it is or to hold a specific function. An example from my own
life that I can relate to functional fixedness is when I was setting up my
classroom, I had a fairly heavy mirror I wanted to hang. I brought nails,
and I thought I brought a hammer but did not. I spent a significant
amount of time searching for the hammer when I could have just used
something heavy that was in my classroom as an attempt to hammer the
nail, instead of using the hammer. I still don’t have the mirror hung and I
keep telling myself that I will bring a hammer tomorrow. Factors that
contribute to functional fixedness are cognitive bias and circumstantial
situations. For me, my environment is what I feel caused me to have
functional fixedness. Had I been at home, I feel like I would have thought
about grabbing another tool or something in the garage to use to hit the
nail into the wall. Functional fixedness can also act as a shortcut,
allowing us to find another practical use for an object that is not generally
used for what we need it for. Some factors that make it easier to
overcome functional fixedness are the use of creative problem solving.
Another solution that Anderson (2020) describes is human vs.
computerized approaches to solving specific problems. Functional
fixedness can be related to perception in a number of ways. We have a
tendency to relate objects to their perceived function or think about an
object in such a way that the object in question only has just the one
use. When in reality, can’t we use a number of objects to hammer in a
nail? A shoe, another heavy tool, a meat tenderizer. These are all just
small examples of perceptual thinking when related to an object and its
true function. I found this discussion to be helpful in a problem solving
avenue of thinking.

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