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Is Early Childhood Unique in Any Way?

The Case for Problem-solving

Younger children also have an advantage when it comes to solving problems that need unconventional solutions. Their creative thinking allows them to approach problems differently from older children and adults, often resulting in more effective solutions. For example, adults sometimes struggle to think of alternative uses for everyday objects due to their tendency towards "functional fixedness."

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5-year-olds are quick to use objects in unconventional ways and solve problems faster. However, by the age of 6, children start showing signs of this fixedness, taking longer to find solutions that go against the usual function of an object. Training can, however, instil flexibility and creativity in thought and practice.

Functional FixednessA cognitive bias that restricts someone's ability to see an object's potential for uses beyond its typical purpose. Some adults have more flexible thinking styles and less ‘functional fixedness,’ allowing them to be more creative and innovative - qualities that are highly desirable in adult professional and personal life.

Functional FixednessA cognitive bias that restricts someone's ability to see an object's potential for uses beyond its typical purpose. Some adults have more flexible thinking styles and less ‘functional fixedness,' allowing them to be more creative and innovative, qualities that are highly desirable in adult professional and personal life.