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CREATIVITY AND PROBLEM SOLVING: an experiment with Design students

Perry, Gabriela Trindade; Fragoso, Suely Dadalt; Cardoso, Eduardo; Cattani, Airton;


Functional fixedness (FF) is a concept from Gestalt Theory that describes how subjects tend to be fixated on previously known patterns. FF hinders creativity and diminishes problem solving abilities. Therefore, the nature of design requires that its practitioners exhibit less FF than the general population. In this article, we describe the results of an experiment that intended to verify whether formal Design education lessens the effects of FF on problem-solving. To this end, 75 students from the 1st (n=40) and 3rd (n=35) semesters of a Graduate Design Course were asked to solve the 2 variations of Duncker’s Box Problem (1945). Two other variations were added, regarding the influence of dealing with real materials or visual representations (drawings). The study compared the strength of FF in freshmen with 3rd semester students in 4 situations: Duncker''s (a) inside and (b) outside the box and (c) concrete objects and (d) 2D visual representations. Results suggest variations in the strength of FF on problem-solving when using concrete materials in comparison to with visual representations (drawings). No significant difference in the results obtained by the two populations was found, apart that the 3rd semester students were more likely to present the solutions they proposed in ways that can be interpreted as attempts to overcome FF.


Palavras-chave: Functional fixedness, creativity, problem solving.,

Palavras-chave: ,

DOI: 10.5151/designpro-ped-00509

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Como citar:

Perry, Gabriela Trindade; Fragoso, Suely Dadalt; Cardoso, Eduardo; Cattani, Airton; "CREATIVITY AND PROBLEM SOLVING: an experiment with Design students", p. 1591-1602 . In: Anais do 11º Congresso Brasileiro de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento em Design [= Blucher Design Proceedings, v. 1, n. 4]. São Paulo: Blucher, 2014.
ISSN 2318-6968, DOI 10.5151/designpro-ped-00509

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