Candle Box of Matches and Thumbtacks

1089 min


One of the most useful pieces of equipment that you can have in your home is a box of matches and a set of thumbtacks. These are essential items that can be used to secure your candles and lights in place so that they don’t fall down.

Duncker’s famous candle problem

The candle problem is an experiment created by German psychologist Karl Duncker. It is a test of creativity. To solve the problem, participants must stick a lit candle to a wall without dripping wax. In order to do this, the participants are given a box of tacks, a book of matches, and a table against a wall.

Duncker designed his famous candle problem to examine the cognitive bias known as functional fixity. He found that people find it hard to solve problems when using fixed objects. They usually see the object as a container of thumbtacks, rather than seeing it as a separate, functional component.

Despite this, Duncker proved that his subjects could overcome this barrier. By rearranging the task so that the tacks were outside of the box, people were more likely to solve the problem.

Later, the researchers were able to see that some people were unconsciously primed to solve the candle problem. One group was told they would get five dollars or twenty dollars if they solved it quickly. Their performance was far better than those in the control group, who received no financial incentive.

While the results of the study are important, they do not necessarily show that the monetary incentive will improve creative thinking. Rather, they show that the monetary incentive acted as a mental block, making it harder to be creative.

Even though the candle problem is a classic head scratcher, it can still be useful as a test of creativity. You can use it to test your own creativity and see if you can break through functional boundness. However, you will have to be a little inventive to do it. For instance, some people try embedding a thumbtack into the side of the candle in order to secure it to the wall.

There are other factors, however, that may affect your ability to think creatively. Your personality may also play a role. Some people are more independent, while others are more conformist. Similarly, some people are creative because of their prodigious talents, while other people are creative because of their everyday skills.

Using incentives to come up with ideas

A famous experiment conducted by a scientist at Princeton University showed how incentives can affect our thinking. In one test, people who were offered a monetary incentive outperformed the norms group. But the results were not all good. The incentivized group took nearly three minutes longer to solve the problem than the controls.

However, the experiment uncovered that the if-then reward did not work as well when it came to cognitive tasks. Rather, it was the contingent motivators that did the trick. Extrinsic motivators are typically used by businesses to encourage their employees to complete a task. While they can improve performance on a simple task, they can damage the way people think in more complex situations.


The ‘candle problem’ is a classic test of the ability to creatively solve a problem. It involves the use of a candle, a box of matches, and a set of thumbtacks. This type of ‘puzzle’ requires creativity, complex thought, and lateral thinking.

One solution for the ‘candle problem’ is to mount the candle on a box of tacks and stick it to the wall. For most people, this may seem like an unorthodox approach, but it can be done. To make the process easier, the thumbtacks should be outside the box and the box should be big enough to provide some leverage.

But, many people would be skeptical about using an empty box of tacks as a candle stand. They might hesitate, out of deference to the authorities, or because they believe they are not allowed to do so. On the other hand, if they were given an incentive, they may have been able to come up with a better idea.

While incentives might not be a perfect answer to the ‘candle problem’, they can show us how creative people can be. Using the right incentives is an important tool in encouraging people to think and act creatively. Those who receive an incentive for their work are more likely to try harder than those who do not. That is why companies often hold company hackathons, allowing their employees to solve any problem.

Stabilizing a candle

A candle task is one of the oldest insight tasks. The idea is to stabilize a candle box of matches thumbtacks  on a wall using tacks. However, most people don’t think of this option. Most simply try to stick the candle to the wall. They’ll either melt the wax on the bottom of the candle or use a match to hold the candle in place. But, the candle will fall off if it’s too heavy.

In order to solve this problem, you need to understand a couple of things: the way the problem is set up and your ability to solve it. To be able to solve this problem, you need to use your problem-solving skills and have creative thinking. And, the more complex your problem, the more difficult it’ll be to solve.

When you’re asked to fix a candle to a wall, the first thing most people do is attempt to stick it with melted wax. But, if you’re not able to do that, you can always mount it on a thumbtack box. As long as the candle and the tacks aren’t touching, you’re probably in the clear.

In fact, you can actually mount a candle to a thumbtack box and then use it to ignite a matchhead. This isn’t a hard task, but it does require some creativity and problem-solving. You’ll need to figure out how to tack the tacks to the wall so that the wires don’t touch the matchhead, and you’ll also need to make sure that the wax won’t drip onto your table.

Using your problem-solving skills, you should be able to solve this task fairly quickly. Then, you can go on to solve other tasks. It’s important to remember that the task is only as challenging as you think it is. Also, the solution may not be obvious right away, so be patient! Finally, if you’re having trouble, keep in mind that this experiment was meant to be a test of your problem-solving skills.


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