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The human brain is incredibly complex and remains a mystery to mankind even today.
However, here is a list of the 6 Types of Thinking to help you understand the structure and patterns of thinking and help you understand the brain better.
1. Thinking: The Psychological Perspective
You might have seen people complaining that they think too much! During adverse situations, you may have also encountered excessive thinking.
However, thinking is a natural process. We can never exclude thoughts from a conscious mind.
It is a result-oriented process. It includes problem-solving and reasoning that leads to decision-making.
Psychologists relate thinking to cognition. It refers to the process of information processing and choosing the correct response.
The integral components of the Thinking Process are:
It is the initial stage of thinking. Here we get to know about any idea.
For example, you feel the need to buy a cellphone. Initially, you form an idea of purchasing.
At this stage, you check for different cellphone brands and their specifications. Your budget and need play a prominent role in choosing the right one.
You also make a list of pros and cons. A list of essential features does play a big role in knowing the suitable gadget.
Based on the above-mentioned stage ideas, you finally decide to purchase the best cellphone to match your needs.
Finally, you purchase the cellphone.
From the above example, you can understand the stages involved in thinking. Starting from the initial knowledge about an idea, you finally make a decision.
Indeed, thinking is a result-oriented process. It involves the complete inclusion of understanding, reasoning, and response. Different types of thinking are based on this thought process model.
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2. 6 Types of Thinking
Thinking decides your actions. It is responsible for designing the structure of consequences as it is result-oriented.
Most psychologists agree that there are 6 types of thinking. These types range from the simplest perceptual thinking to the most complex, critical thinking.
Your thinking skill designs your personality. So, it is essential to know what type of thinker are you.
The personality of an abstract thinker is quite different from a critical one. Likewise, a creative thinker has different personality traits from a convergent thinker.
Eminent Educational Psychologist, Benjamin Bloom, has classified thinking skills into six groups. His work, Bloom’s Taxonomy, on pedagogy has helped understand high school students’ thinking skills.
His classification of types of thinking skills is as follows:
In general phenomenon, the 6 types of thinking skills are, more or less, based on Bloom’s Taxonomy. Now, have a look at them.
2. 1. Creative Thinking
It is a thinking skill based on looking at an issue in an unorthodox manner. Creative thinking is simply thinking out of the box.
This thinking skill is commonly found in artists, writers, and visualizers. While designing an advertising copy, a copywriter thinks out of the box to convince the consumer.
Meanwhile, the new, out-of-the-box ideas are purely based on your past experiences. Two old, existing ideas fuse to bring creative thinking.
Imagination is the soul of creative thinking. People with creative thinking skills never limit themselves to logic.
Many great thinkers and scientists, like Einstein, believe that imagination is crucial in knowledge and circumstances. Great discoveries took place all because of limitless imagination.
Wandering in an unknown direction to discover anything is creative thinking. Columbus wandered in unknown waters to discover the United States of America.
If you have great imagination power and love to explore new ideas, you are blessed with creative thinking skills.
2.2 Critical Thinking
It is one of those types of thinking skills that require advanced cognitive thinking. It relies on problem-solving by putting prejudices, personal beliefs, and presumptions aside.
Basically, critical thinking is the analysis of available facts to make a judgment. It includes conceptualization, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation before a valid judgment.
People with critical thinking skills always look for different consequences before making a decision. They check all the possibilities that may result after a decision.
It is also called an open-minded inquiry. It requires a great amount of reasoning to reach any conclusion.
American biographical drama movie, Critical Thinking (2020) is an inspirational story to find out the practical implementation of open-minded inquiry. Based on the true story of the Miami Jackson High School chess team, it is the best real-life critical thinking presentation.
The chess coach motivates the students, driven by prejudices and presumptions, to transform their perceptions. His efforts lead the chess team to win the US National Chess Championship.
In a nutshell, critical thinking is a high-order cognitive thinking skill. Arguments and finding proper solutions are key traits of a critical thinker.
2. 3. Analytical Thinking
This kind of thinking is one of the important types of thinking skills. It is the ability to collect information and make a decision after analysis.
Analysis in thinking is the breaking down of ideas into smaller parts to get a better understanding. It is a logical phenomenon.
Analysis has been an integral part of logic and mathematics since the time of Aristotle. In A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking writes that Newton discovered gravity as he was sitting under the tree in an analytical mind.
Analytical thinking skill helps interpret and explain the available ideas. Some benefits of this thinking skill are:
- Development of unbiased views.
- Problem-solving tendency.
- Evaluation of both simple and complex ideas.
- Ability to make concrete decisions.
It is one of the types of thinking skills that help find a solution in crucial circumstances. You solve the problem efficiently with a valid backup of refined ideas.
Analytical thinking is an integral part of our daily life. From deciding to wear a dress to finding a dentist appointment, it is used every day.
2. 4. Divergent Thinking
It is also known as Lateral Thinking. This is the process of creating multiple ideas to solve a problem.
Among the 39 types of thought processes, Divergent thinking is a creative ability of problem-solving by considering a large number of solutions. It is based on spontaneity and creativity.
In day-to-day life, we find several examples of divergent thinking. Some of them are listed below:
- When you choose a different road to reach your destination because of a traffic jam, it demonstrates divergent thinking.
- Writing different captions for a single picture is another divergent thinking skill.
- Renovating your house on a tight budget with several substitutes also comes under this skill.
- Solving any problem that requires multiple choices also exhibits divergent thinking.
Psychologists believe that it is one of the types of thinking that allows self-analysis in a short period of time. There are the following techniques that help stimulate divergent thinking:
The objective of brainstorming is to generate a large number of ideas in a short time period. A group discussion on a topic to find a generalized opinion is one of the best brainstorming activities.
(ii) Keeping a Journal
People often keep a diary to note down their thoughts. It is the best practice of divergent thinking.
The purpose of keeping a journal is to record the ideas you think of spontaneously. It eventually becomes a collection of thoughts used as a source of ideas.
(iii) Free Writing
Non-stop writing on a particular topic without proofreading or any consultation is free Writing. It is a smart activity to gather a large volume of ideas in a short time span.
(iv) Mind Mapping
It is an advanced stage of convergent thinking. Mind mapping is best suited for professionals and students to brainstorm ideas to get a big picture of conclusions.
It is about putting the brainstormed ideas on a visual map. The central topic flowers into several sub-topics and creates several branches of information or data.
Divergent thinking is one of such types of thinking that require originality and creativity. It helps construct new and original ideas. Drawing conclusions from various sources is a trait of divergent thinking.
2. 5. Convergent Thinking
Convergent thinking is just the opposite of Divergent thinking. Here established rules and logical reasoning are applied to solve a problem.
It is one of the common types of thinking that belong to the organized processing of information and data. It requires less creativity and high logical skills.
You might have attempted any multiple-choices question test during your school or college days. It is the most common example of convergent thinking where you need to choose the only correct answer.
In daily life, we frequently apply this thinking skill. Among the 6 types of thinking, it is the most focused and logical skill.
Some common examples of convergent thinking are:
1. Buying the appropriate product from a great number of available options.
2. Choosing the best party dress for a particular occasion.
3. Finding the right home remedy for cough and cold.
4. Making the correct career decision or choosing the best professional course.
All the above-mentioned examples describe your convergent thinking ability. You select the most logical response to any need.
2. 6. Holistic Thinking
Holistic Thinking means creating ideas for the big picture. It is about designing the consequences for the real world.
It is the synthesis of different ideas, making them interconnected on a large pattern. It is one of the most effective types of thinking for problem-solving.
A holistic approach to thinking leads to commonness. It is a humanistic approach that complements not competes with other thoughts.
A holistic thinker never adheres to only one viewpoint. Most of the problems in the real world need a holistic approach to thinking.
To understand holistic thinking in a simplified way, there are some examples:
- In a multi-cultural society, holistic thinking helps find a common pathway to respect all the cultures and find commonality.
- Holistic thinking brings positivity and peace to life. Life is full of good and bad memories. We try to manage things on a bigger scale by including all our experiences.
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3. It teaches us to harmonize with struggles and sufferings with the surrounding joy and love.
If you are a right-brained person, you are a holistic thinker. Such type of thinker believes in self-care and also takes care of others.
If you always look for the bigger picture and tries to connect different situations to get any result, it determines holistic thinking skills. Among the 6 types of thinking, it is the most comprehensive and spontaneous skill.
3. Linear Thinking: The 7th type of Thinking
Besides the 6 types of thinking, some psychologists argue about Linear Thinking as the 7th type of thinking. People with an acute logical mind are linear thinkers.
Mathematicians, data scientists, software programmers, and accountants are linear thinkers. They apply the learned information in different circumstances to solve problems.
In day-to-day life, we also apply linear thinking. All the actions, depending on probability, come under linear thinking.
We often apply our past experiences to handle any new situation. For example, if one teaspoon of sugar is sufficient for a cup of coffee, then 5 teaspoons would be enough for 5 cups of coffee. This is the real-life approach to linear thinking.
The 6 types of thinking skills discussed in this article are:
- Separate skills of different people.
- Skills of a single person who uses them according to situations.
Like individual differences, types of thinking vary from person to person. Each thinking skill has its own importance in the thought process.
If holistic thinking opens a big picture of actions, convergent thinking equally benefits in solving smaller problems. Critical thinking uses out-of-the-box ideas, while analytical thinking breaks down the thoughts to get a concrete solution.
No one can deny the importance of these 6 types of thinking. They have their own role in the thought process.
Each of the 6 types of thinking skills is complementary to one and other. Your judgment relies on the applied thinking skill according to the situation.