# Conquering Functional Fixedness

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Just recently, I was baking brownies and realized halfway into it that we had no oil. I was in a hurry to get these into the oven, so I had no time to run to the grocery store. Looking through all of our cupboards, in the closet, and through the refrigerator, I made one last attempt to find a bottle of oil that would solve my problem. Unfortunately I only found crackers, cereal, applesauce, jelly, and an assortment of other foods... none of which were oil. For a time I suffered from functional fixedness, disregarding any other options that could serve the same purpose as oil. Thankfully, my mom, being a more experienced cook, stepped in and immediately told me that applesauce could be a substitute. I was reluctant (as a result of functional fixedness), but after looking it up online I discovered that applesauce prevents the development of gluten, which is exactly what oil does. In the end, the brownies turned out to be very similar to what "normal" brownies taste like (though I do still prefer brownies with oil).

Functional fixedness is even exemplified in numerous movies. One of the best examples is in Apollo 13 when Mission Control had to create a filter that would allow the astronauts to survive with only the items that were on the spacecraft. There were limited items available to use, but in the end Mission Control did not suffer from functional fixedness, resulting in the survival of the astronauts onboard. Not only was this a movie, but this was a real life problem that people had to solve under pressure. The following link shows this scene from Apollo 13.

Another example occurs when Jack Sparrow, in Pirates of the Caribbean, overcomes functional fixedness by using his resources to get a cannon to explode. The following 30-second clip reveals the way Jack Sparrow solves the problem at hand and how he does not suffer from functional fixedness to find a solution.

Many websites define 4 easy steps to problem solving:
1) Define the problem.
2) Find alternatives.
3) Evaluate alternatives.
4) Implement solution.

Source: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMC_00.htm

While this may appear to be a simple task, problems vary greatly. One may be figuring out how to handle large sums of money, or simply what pair of shoes to wear. Either way, problem solving requires knowledge and practice in many situations.

## 1 Comment

This blog was very informative and interesting. It is difficult for people to be able to look at an object and be able to think of how to use it other than what it is actually meant for. Those were both great examples of how objects can be used for different objectives.