Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)




College of Science

First Advisor

Joan Piroch


A quasi experiment was conducted to examine functional fixedness and creative problem solving. The purpose of this research was to attempt to identify differences in cognitive ability between recyclers and non recyclers. This researcher investigated whether recycling group affiliation or priming for functional fixedness would affect task performance among college students. A tower building activity was developed for this study to determine if members of a college recycling group, the Eco-Reps, would complete a problem solving activity faster than non Eco-Reps. Some participants in each group were primed for functional fixedness. This researcher hypothesized that Eco-Reps would complete the task faster than non Eco-Reps. A second hypothesis was that participants primed for functional fixedness would complete the task slower than participants who were not primed for functional fixedness. A 2x2 factorial design was used to examine Eco-Rep group affiliation and priming for functional fixedness. The results of a two-factor ANOVA calculation revealed a statistically significant main effect for task completion time between participants primed and not primed for functional fixedness. The times were faster for the not primed for functional fixedness group. The ANOVA did not reveal differences in task completion times between Eco-Reps and non Eco-Reps and the interaction was also not significant. Some results of this study imply that those who participate in a university recycling program may not be more readily able to utilize objects in atypical manners. The results of this study may be valuable to organizations with members who wish to increase recycling by encouraging individuals to reuse disposable objects in atypical ways. These results also indicate that specific training related to reusing disposable items as a form of recycling is necessary to decrease functional fixedness which could increase recycling behaviors.

Included in

Psychology Commons