Functional Fixedness and the Church


In 30 seconds, how many ways can a brick be used?


If you are like me when I first took this little test, you came up with a good number of things, but they are all basically two or three categories 1) some sort of weight 2) some sort of structural use 3) some sort of weapon.

When you examine this question however you can begin to see that we self limit our responses. For instance this question says nothing about the size of the brick or what it is made of? What if the brick was ground up or 1,000 feet tall? What if it was a brick of gold, Legos, or soap?

Functional Fixedness is the reason people are not good at coming up with new uses for an old thing and it is the reason that you and I come up with the same - predictable? - list of uses for a brick. 

So you may be able to see where this post is going.


In 30 seconds, how many ways can the Church be used?