Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology


Educational Psychology and Methodology

Content Description

1 online resource (viii, 147 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

David Y Dai

Committee Members

Sigmund Tobias, Zheng Yen


Einstellung Effect, Mental Rigidity, Problem solving, Rigidity (Psychology), Reasoning (Psychology)

Subject Categories

Educational Psychology


The paper focuses on the Einstellung phenomenon (aka mental set), the adherence to a particular strategy when it is no longer the best or even correct course of action. I wanted to know if the provision of the definition of the Einstellung effect reduces susceptibility to mental set, if exposure to a reading passage in which the protagonist encounters an Einstellung situation affects susceptibility to mental set, and if the definition-provision and reading passage interventions differ in their effect on susceptibility to mental set. Mental Set was measured with a digitized version of Luchins (1943) classic Water Jugs routine. This study utilized an internet-based shell called the KMA Management system to administer all measures and the intervention. Using this system, three instruments, a questionnaire, an intervention in the guise of a reading test, and the water jugs test, were administered to the 76 participants. There were no significant group effects on any success measure on the Water Jugs. Furthermore, age, sex, self-reported self-regulation, and puzzle experience were all unrelated to propensity for rigidity in problem solving. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.