Difference Between Divergent Thinking and Convergent Thinking (With Table)

In our daily lives, both convergent and divergent thought is important. Neither is significantly superior to the other. We often need to use these opposing mental mechanisms in tandem to perform well in different tasks. When confronted with a dilemma, we must consider a variety of choices (divergence). After that, we pinpoint our options and choose the correct option (convergence).

Divergent Thinking vs Convergent Thinking

The difference between Divergent and Convergent thinking is that Divergent thinking looks in all directions for a solution, while convergent thinking is more specific and focuses on the ideal option. Convergence suggests the use of existing methods while divergence considers new concepts.

Divergent thinking refers to the process of exploring multiple solutions to a problem. It’s often called “lateral thought” after the term was minted by Edward De Bono. He suggested that problems be solved by indirect and innovative methods as being among the leading experts on innovation.

Convergent Thinking focuses on determining a predetermined solution to a problem. Organized tests, like multiple-choice objects, recognition, and arithmetic problems, often use this method. Convergent thinking is a way of thinking that aims to find a single, well-known solution to a problem. It aims to find the single best, or most frequently right, response to a query.

Comparison Table Between Divergent Thinking and Convergent Thinking

Parameters of ComparisonDivergent ThinkingConvergent Thinking
CharacteristicsDivergent Thinking is more of an instinctual type of thought.Convergent Thinking relies on speed and efficiency while focusing on a single solution to a problem.
Ideas GeneratedDivergent Thinking allows the mind to flow freely in different directions.It lays more emphasis on logic rather than free-flowing.
Direction usedThe divergent Thinking thought process looks in all directions for a solution.It is more linear and focuses indulgently on the best solution.
CertaintyDivergent Thinking explores all the available ideas with a wide range of perspectives to a problem or solution.Since Convergent thinking is more about logic, it focuses more on the certainty part.
Person’s PersonalityPeople who like to explore more ideas and are extrovert in nature rely more on this process.Introvert people with a straightforward approach always opt for Convergent Thinking.

What is Divergent Thinking?

Divergent thinking refers to the process of exploring multiple solutions to a problem. It’s often called “lateral thought” after the term was minted by Edward De Bono. He suggested that problems be solved by indirect and innovative methods as being among the leading experts on innovation. Critical thinking, imaginative artwork, brainstorming ideas, and strategizing are all good examples of how to use this mindset.

That way of thinking necessitates one to think beyond the box and come up with new ideas. The options are limitless. Divergent thinking allows us to see commodities in new and different ways. Concept mapping is the easiest way to put the implications of divergent thought on paper. Visual aids are collections of ideas that branch off in various directions from one another.

When someone is in a “divergent thinking” state, they don’t need to use a ton of reasoning. Remember that they’re growing, not restricting, what’s conceivable. In a short period, several different solutions are investigated, and surprising correlations are made. The ability to visualize complex, multifaceted, multilayered or nuanced items or ideas is a part of Divergent Thinking. In short, complexity and curiosity is part of divergent thinking.

What is Convergent Thinking?

Convergent Thinking focuses on determining a predetermined solution to a problem. Organized tests, like multiple-choice objects, recognition, and arithmetic problems, often use this method. Convergent thinking is a way of thinking that aims to find a single, well-known solution to a problem. It aims to find the single best, or most frequently right, response to a query.

Convergent thinking focuses on remembering the familiar, reapplying strategies, and collecting information stored and highlights tempo, precision, and logic. It works well in cases where a solution is already known and either needs to be remembered or figured out using decision-making techniques. Convergent thinking has the advantage of leading to a single best response, allowing no space for uncertainty. Responses are either correct or incorrect in this perspective. 

The majority of the time, the response collected during the convergent thinking process is the best possible response. Convergent thinking is often related to experience since it entails using common procedures to manipulate established knowledge. Another critical element of creativity is expertise. Convergent thinking is a method used to solve creatively. When anyone uses logical thinking to deal with a problem, they make decisions based on expectations or possibilities.

Main Differences Between Divergent Thinking and Convergent Thinking

  1. Divergent Thinking is more of an instinctual type of thought, whereas Convergent Thinking relies on speed and efficiency while focusing on a single solution to a problem.
  2. Divergent Thinking allows the mind to flow freely in different directions. On the other hand, Convergent Thinking lays more emphasis on logic rather than free-flowing.
  3. The divergent Thinking thought process looks in all directions for a solution. Convergent Thinking is more linear and focuses indulgently on the best solution.
  4. Divergent Thinking explores all the available ideas with a wide range of perspectives to a problem or solution. Since Convergent thinking is more about logic, it focuses more on the certainty part.
  5. People who like to explore more ideas and are extrovert in nature rely more on the Divergent Thinking process. Introvert people with a straightforward approach always opt for Convergent Thinking.

Conclusion

Multiple responses are of equal worth in divergent thinking. Convergent thinking, on the other hand, stipulates that there must be a single best response. Divergent thinking refers to the process of exploring multiple solutions to a problem. It’s often called “lateral thought” after the term was minted by Edward De Bono. Convergent Thinking focuses on determining a predetermined solution to a problem. Organized tests, like multiple-choice objects, recognition, and arithmetic problems, often use this method. Convergence suggests the use of existing methods while divergence considers new concepts.  

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0092656608000044
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0191886909000300
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