Convergent thinking and divergent thinking are two kinds of response by humans to a given problem. Convergent thinking is a type of response to a problem in which a person deduces information and draws conclusions from the data provided to arrive at a single best answer. This type of thinking is mainly used to answer certain problems such as “what is 8 + 8? ” and “what is the sum of the values all the pars? ” among many others. It is also an integral part processes that mainly involve outlining or organizing.
In other words, convergent thinking involves placing together and combining the different pieces of a problem or topic being discussed and into a single, organized structure. On the other hand, divergent thinking is a type of response to a problem in which a person uses the principles, information, and ideas of several types of fields and disciplines in order to arrive at a broader and deeper answer and understanding of the problem.
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In other words, this type of thinking provides the assumption that there are multiple correct answers or solutions to a given problem. It also enables one to select a single answer or solution without necessarily concluding that the other “possible” answers or solutions are incorrect. This type of thinking is mainly used in the creative thinking processes and used in problems that are very broad or diverse in nature. Generally, both convergent and divergent thinking play important roles particularly in creative problem solving.
For example, when answering a certain problem, a person would first use divergent thinking and would dissect the topic in order to analyze and fully understand each of its parts. This also allows the generation of free-flowing and random ideas that he or she can use when answering the problem. After all pertinent and relevant information have been obtained, the person would then resort to convergent thinking in which he or she would organize all the ideas and information and place them back to together into a single, organized structure which he or she would use to finally answer the problem.