Cognition, Intelligence and Language

Creativity and “There I Fixed It” site

Functional Fixedness

When people have trouble coming up with alternative uses for everyday objects – or trouble thinking of everyday objects in new ways – we refer to that in psychology as “functional fixedness“. Creative people don’t tend to have this problem. Creative folks allow their minds to be “unbound” and to see things in different ways.

A good example of this are the pictures you’ll find on the There I Fixed It website. The pictures on this site are sometimes referred to as “fails”, “redneck repairs”, or “white trash repairs”, but I think of them as excellent examples of creativity from people with low functional fixedness. Here are some examples:

A toothbrush holder made out of a toothbrush box and some tape (this is reminiscent of the classic example which uses a candle and a box of matches):

A mixer made out of a drill and scissors (one of my favorites):

A television stand made out of beer bottles:

Using a fan as a leaf blower (great idea):

A water bottle filled with rocks being used as a doorbell:

Cooling your drink with your air conditioner (admit it – you’ve done this before):

Using the reflective quality of your sunglasses to fill in for a broken mirror (I would not have thought of this):

Resources on Creativity and Functional Fixedness

  • How Misguided Incentives Negatively Affect Productivity and Well

    The influence of strength of drive on functional fixedness and perceptual recognition. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 63 (1), 36-41 DOI: 10.1037/h0044683 · Eco World Content From Across The Internet. EcoPressed

    Publish Date: 09/01/2011 18:50



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    September 1, 2011

    Hi! i’m Re-twit you post: to my!/slavcentrinfo

    славяне арийские веды возрождения смена полюсов земли магия ритуалы история древних славян купало песни

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    Marc Garlock

    September 1, 2011

    These are great, thanks for posting!

  3. Avatar

    Sam McNerney

    September 1, 2011

    This is sooo cool!

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