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3 Modes Of Thinking: Lateral, Divergent, and; Convergent

A core tenet of humankind is our capability to believe seriously and with the creative imagination and imagination. It feels that our capability– and choice t0– do this continually in some methods specifies us as types.

Moreover, it’s not a huge leap to say that the ability and tendency to think critically and carefully and creatively supersedes content knowledge in importance, but that’s a discussion for another day. In essence, it is our position that critical thinking is of huge importance for students, and as such is a big part of our content and mission at TeachThought.

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3 Modes Of Thinking: Lateral, Divergent & Convergent Thought

1. Convergent Thinking

Summary: Using logic

Wikipedia Excerpt & Overview

‘Convergent thinking is a term coined by Joy Paul Guilford’ (who also coined the term for the ‘opposite’ way of thinking, ‘Divergent Thinking’).

‘It generally means the ability to give the “correct” answer to standard questions that do not require significant creativity, for instance in most tasks in school and on standardized multiple-choice tests for intelligence.

Convergent thinking is often used in conjunction with divergent thinking. Convergent thinking is the type of thinking that focuses on coming up with the single, well-established answer to a problem.[1] Convergent thinking is used as a tool in creative problem-solving. When an individual is using critical thinking to solve a problem they consciously use standards or probabilities to make judgments.[2] This contrasts with divergent thinking where judgment is deferred while looking for and accepting many possible solutions.’

2. Divergent Thinking

Summary: Using imagination

Also called: Creative Thinking or Horizontal Thinking

Wikipedia Excerpt & Overview

‘Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. It is often used in conjunction with its cognitive colleague, convergent thinking, which follows a particular set of logical steps to arrive at one solution, which in some cases is a ‘correct’ solution. By contrast, divergent thinking typically occurs in a spontaneous, free-flowing, ‘

By contrast, divergent thinking typically occurs in a spontaneous, free-flowing, ‘non-linear’ manner, such that many ideas are generated in an emergent cognitive fashion. Many possible solutions are explored in a short amount of time, and unexpected connections are drawn. After the process of divergent thinking has been completed, ideas and information are organized and structured using convergent thinking.’

3. Lateral Thinking

Summary: Using both Convergent and Divergent Thinking

Also called: ‘Thinking Outside the Box’

Wikipedia Excerpt & Overview

‘Lateral thinking is solving problems through an indirect and creative approach, using reasoning that is not immediately obvious and involving ideas that may not be obtainable by using only traditional step-by-step logic.

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To understand lateral thinking, it is necessary to compare lateral thinking and critical thinking. Critical thinking is primarily concerned with judging the truth value of statements and seeking errors. Lateral thinking is more concerned with the “movement value” of statements and ideas. A person uses lateral thinking to move from one known idea of creating new ideas.’

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