Thinking and Problem Solving

    Test for functional fixedness. The solution is to empty the box of thumbtacks, put the candle into the box, use the thumbtacks to nail the box (with the candle in it) to the wall, and light the candle with the match.[3] The concept of functional fixedness predicts that the participant will only see the box as a device to hold the thumbtacks and not immediately perceive it as a separate and functional component available to be used in solving the task.

    Dunckerís candle problem is a classic test for functional fixedness. The solution is to empty the box of thumbtacks, put the candle into the box, use the thumbtacks to nail the box (with the candle in it) to the wall, and light the candle with the match. The concept of functional fixedness predicts that the participant will only see the box as a device to hold the thumbtacks and not immediately perceive it as a separate and functional component available to be used in solving the task.

  1. Problem solving refers to a state of desire for reaching a definite goal from a present condition that either is not directly moving toward the goal, is far from it, or needs more complex logic for finding a missing description of conditions or steps toward the goal.
  2. A mental set refers to the phenomenon of becoming stuck on a specific problem-solving strategy, a type of rigidity that inhibits the ability to generate alternatives.
  3. Rigidity refers to inability to modify concepts and attitudes once developed. A specific example of rigidity is functional fixedness, which is a difficulty conceiving new uses for familiar objects.
  4. Duncker's candle problem is a classic cognitive performance test, measuring the influence of functional fixedness on a participant's problem solving capabilities.
  5. Trial-and-error is a fundamental method of solving problems. It is characterized by repeated, varied attempts which are continued until success, or until the agent stops trying.
  6. Deductive reasoning is the process of reasoning from one or more statements (premises) to reach a logically certain conclusion.
  7. Inductive reasoning is reasoning that derives general principles from specific observations.