Skip to main content

Infographic – Functional Fixedness

Using the information you have just read, try to solve the two string problem (adapted from Maier, 1931, as cited in Anderson, 2015):

The two strings, hanging from the ceiling, are to be tied together. However, they are so far apart that you cannot grasp both at once, nor can they be removed from ceiling. Using only the resources you see in the room, solve the problem. Post your solution in the comments below.

About the author:

Cathy Stevens is an Education Officer currently posted to Education Wing – South Queensland. She holds a Bachelor of Education in Primary Teaching and is currently completing a Masters of Education (Cognitive Psychology and Educational Practice).

2 thoughts on “Infographic – Functional Fixedness

  1. There are many ways to do this. If you stand on the chair, can you reach the ceiling? If so, stand on the chair 1/3 of the distance between string 1 and 2, and attach string 1 to the ceiling temporarily at the halfway point using a thumbtack. Move the chair to 2/3 of the distance between string 1 and two. You should now be able to reach both strings. Remove string 1 from its attachment point on the ceiling and tie both together.

  2. Attach a weight, such as the pliers, to the string and swing it, if the back swing can bridge the gap.

    Extend your reach with the pliers.

    Extend the strings reach by tying it to the chair and carrying the chair across by its legs. Use pieces of clothing to the same effect.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *

The Cove is a professional development site for the Australian Profession of Arms. The views expressed within individual blog posts and videos are those of the author, and do not reflect any official position or that of the author's employers' - see more here. Any concerns regarding this blog post, video or resource should be directed in the first instance to