Convergent Thinking: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:01 What Is Convergent Thinking?
  • 0:24 Differences between…
  • 1:35 Examples of Convergent…
  • 2:58 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Convergent thinking is a term used to describe the process of finding a single best solution to a problem. Learn about convergent thinking, how it differs from divergent thinking, and more.

Definition

Convergent thinking is the process of finding a single best solution to a problem that you are trying to solve. Many tests that are used in schools, such as multiple choice tests, spelling tests, math quizzes, and standardized tests, are measures of convergent thinking. Traditional intelligence tests, such as the Stanford-Binet, also measure convergent testing.

Differences Between Convergent and Divergent Thinking

How does convergent thinking differ from divergent thinking? Divergent thinking is the process of creating many unique solutions in order to solve a problem. The problem of convergent thinking is systematic and logical, unlike divergent thinking, which is spontaneous and free-flowing. When using convergent thinking, we apply logical steps in order to determine what is the single best solution.

Whenever we use divergent thinking, we search for options instead of just choosing among predetermined options. Convergent thinking relies heavily on logic and less on creativity, while divergent thinking emphasizes creativity. Divergent thinking works best in problems that are open-ended and allow for creativity.

Convergent thinking works best in situations where a single best correct answer exists and it is possible to discover the answer through analyzing available stored information. For example, if someone asked you what 2 + 2 is, you know there is only one solution that works and that you can use your understanding of addition and numbers to find the best answer, which is 4.

Examples of Convergent and Divergent Thinking

Suppose that you were teaching a group of first graders how to detect rhyming words. You present them with the following two questions:

  1. Which word rhymes with slice?
    1. Dice
    2. Sled
    3. Might
    4. Tan
  2. List as many words as you can that rhyme with lead.

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