Einstellung

Race Oval

Years ago, I must have run across this word during a psychology credit but forgot to retain it in long term memory. That’s why you should always repeat a word three times to etch it in your brain; then again, it may only help you to summon Beetlejuice. Still, you have to hand it to the Germans for finding ways to collapse a long, involved English sentence into one hard to pronounce word. So here goes the definition: “A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person’s responses to and interpretations of situations.”

The Water Jar Problem – Luchins 1942
Start with problem #1 and see if you can solve all 9.

Water Jar Experiment

Confused?

Problems 2 through 6 can all be solved by filling Jar B, then subtracting Jar A once, then subtracting Jar C twice. This creates a “set” for solving the problems this way.

Problems 7 and 8 can be solved using the same method as the previous problems, but they could be solved more efficiently by starting with Jar A instead. The “set” for starting with Jar B often prevents people from seeing the simpler solutions.

Problem 9 can not be solved in the same way as problems 2 thru 6. You must break out of the set to find a solution.

In other words – people tend to rely on problem solving methods which helped in the past and brought solutions – but when faced with new problems tend to either ignore simpler solutions or get bogged down. Thus, you find yourself running in circles and always ending up back at the start line.

Once you understand the effect and can pronounce ‘Einstellung’, you’re ready to think Outside the Box