Convergent Vs Divergent Thinking

Convergent and Divergent thinking are like two sides of a coin. They are completely in contrast with each other yet extremely important in our daily lives. It's not a must for one to always be in conjunction with another but they tend to function best when used in conjunction.

Differences Between Convergent and Divergent Thinking

Convergent Vs Divergent Thinking, Differences
Convergent Thinking Divergent Thinking
The process of figuring out a concrete solution to any problem is called Convergent Thinking. Divergent thinking is the process of thinking that explores multiple possible solutions in order to generate creative ideas.
It's a straight forward process that focuses on figuring out the most effective answer to a problem. In contrast, divergent thinking refers to opening the mind in various directions and trying out multiple solutions for a problem. 


Its characteristics include

  • Speed
  • Accuracy
  • Logic

Its characteristics include

  • Spontaneous
  • Free-flowing
  • Non-linear
Methods involved in convergent thinking also involve recognizing the previously tried out techniques and reapplying them along with the readily stored information. Divergent thinking relates to figuring out new procedures to solve a problem despite existing solutions.
In mathematics, convergent refers to approaching a definite limit in a series. Divergent thinking generates its name from the idea that there are limitless number of solutions for any given problem, however unrelated they might be, which are then spread on the table to pick out the best one.

Examples:

  1. Variety of tests, such as multiple choice tests, standardized tests, quizzes, spelling tests and similar other tests require convergent thinking, because only one answer can be 100% correct.
  2. A convergent thinker would only regard a person be either sick or healthy.
  3. A medical student can be either a doctor or nothing. 

Examples:

  1. Divergent thinking wouldn't be applicable in multiple choice tests or standardized tests, which require a single absolute answer.
  2. A person can be both sick and healthy. For instance, a man can be under great stress mentally but perfectly fit physically.
  3. A medical student doesn’t always have to be either a doctor or nothing. She could very well make a career switch in the future and be a writer, or a painter, and varieties of other possibilities.

Convergent thinking helps to find out the best possible answer to any problem, which are accurate most of the time, and no room for ambiguity is left.

Although Divergent thinking keeps the options open, a completely accurate answer isn't identified.
The answer procured by such type of thinking is either completely right or 100% wrong, which might not always be the best possible way to go about. Convergent thinking only considers the world as Black and/or White, with no other possibilities. The world isn't always Black and/or White, and a divergent thinker keeps the options open.
A convergent thinker is exactly what the circumstances demand in various situations, such as standardized tests.

Divergent thinker isn’t always able to pin-point the right answer. For instance, in a standardized aptitude test, a convergent thinker might be able to decide the right answer, but the contemplating mind of a divergent thinker might work against him in the situation.

 

Similarities Between Convergent and Divergent Thinking

In theory, convergent and divergent thinking are two completely different aspects of thinking. However, they hold more in common than one might realize. Although they are completely different in terms of the basic meaning of the terms and how they work, the major purpose is the same. Both these thinking processes are implemented in order to explore creativity and find solutions to different problems.

These processes tend to work best when applied in conjunction. Divergent thinking takes place in a free-flowing, spontaneous manner and creates varieties of possible resolutions to another problem. If convergent thinking is applied then after, the very best answer can be picked out from the multiple solutions resulted due to divergent thinking. In this manner, they are correlated.