Cognitive Fixedness Experiment

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The experiment that I performed explores the psychological phenomena of cognitive fixedness. It involves cognitive processes (information processing, thinking/problem solving) and therefore belongs to the cognitive level of analysis. This experiment was originally conducted by Karl Duncker in 1945 . In the original experiment each participant was given a candle, a box of thumbtacks and a box of matches. In one group the participants were offered the thumbtacks inside the box, while in the other the thumbtacks and the box were given separately. The task was the participant to attach the candle to the cork wall as fast as he/she could. This needed to result in the candle being lit without dripping wax onto the table. Here, the psychological phenomenon of functional fixedness was observed. It is a form of a cognitive bias that resulted on the participant´s having a mental block - the idea that the box is used as an object for containing the thumbtacks (having a fixed function) instead of being used as an object on its own and therefore encouraged him/her to attach the candle directly to the wall. I found this study to be one of the most interesting and original experiments performed in the field of cognitive Psychology. I decided to replicate the
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I am aware this might mean that the sample may not have been representative. The students of Gimnazija Bežigrad are considered as smart, which might have an effect of the many correct solutions acquired in group 2, however this might be an over generalization (stereotype), meaning that it is insignificant and other teenagers would perform like this as well. It also might have affected the results that most participants were female, as well as that they were all Slovenians. The experiment could be repeated within different age groups in order to observe how the fixedness changes with
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