Blog posts

Understand the barriers and bottlenecks which limit desired behaviors of patients and HCPs in the pharmaceutical industry and how messaging boosted by heuristic science can effectively influence any stakeholder audience.

When You're Holding A Hammer, Everything Can Look Like A Nail

Michael Hayden
05 AUG, 2019

Have you ever used a piece of paper to prop up a wobbly table or an old shirt as a rag? These illustrate examples of overcoming functional fixedness. Sometimes we get stuck in familiar patterns of thinking for a problem leading us to only see the intended use of an object as the only possible use, despite it have other potential functions. A person suffering from functional fixedness only sees a shirt as a piece of apparel, when it could be a rag, or a chew toy for the dog.

Functional fixedness occurs in a medical context as well. A person may originally be exposed to an aspirin because of one reason, let’s say to reduce their fever. However, aspirin is commonly used off-label to prevent heart attacks and strokes. However, the patient who was originally exposed to this still associates it within the domain of treating a fever and instead opts for a more expensive medication to treat their heart attack and stroke.