Is the Einstellung effect interfering with your problem solving? - Deepstash
What is Einstellung effect

Our mind always tries to find shortcuts to save processing power in case we really need it for something else.

So, when a problem comes to us with similar features to one we've solved in the past, the first solutions that come to mind tend to follow similar lines to those past solutions. These first ideas get in the way of finding better solutions.

This cognitive trap that leads inadvertently to less-than-optimal solutions or judgment is called the Einstellung effect.

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Solving problems - minimizing Einstellung effect
  • Remind yourself about the effect. Awareness can free you. Ask yourself after the first solution, "Is this the best I/we can do?"
  • Push past the trap. Approach every problem as if it's a trick question, so obvious solutions won't work.
  • Allow incubation time. If possible, ruminate on challenging problems. Allow your mind to connect information in new ways.
  • Consciously adopt beginner's mind. “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s there are few,” Suzuki Roshi

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- Tammy lenski

"The Einstellung effect is a cognitive trap

that prevents us from seeing

better or simpler solutions

to problems we’re trying to solve."

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