Characteristics and advantages of convergent thinking

Find out how it works, when you can use it and what its main benefits are. Characteristics and advantages of convergent thinking.

Characteristics and advantages of convergent thinking
Characteristics and advantages of convergent thinking

Convergent thinking uses logic, common sense, and experience to find the right solution quickly. Find out how it works, when you can use it and what its main benefits are. Characteristics and advantages of convergent thinking.

You've probably heard of divergent or creative thinking, but ... how does convergent thinking fit in? Do you know what it is? When to use them? There are many ways of thinking, reflecting and drawing more or less reliable conclusions. So choosing the best is in itself a skill that improves with experience.

What is convergent thinking?

Convergent thinking as the ability to answer a question properly by organizing the available information logically. In other words, it is the ability to solve problems or answer questions without being creative.

An example of convergent thinking is performing common math operations such as addition.

Thus, people follow established and habitual patterns of problem solving through convergent thinking. They don't "go beyond" this kind of thinking (as they would for divergent thinking) to apply a strategy they used before, at least not in the same way they used it before.

On the other hand, divergent thinking is the process of approaching or solving problems by searching for innovative strategies and solutions. This type of thinking is also known as creative or lateral.

According to an American psychologist   Joy Paul Guilford, innovation processes change both types of thinking. One of its goals is also to find more effective solutions.

How does convergent thinking work?

As you can see, it can be said that convergent thinking is the antagonist of divergent (creative) thinking. It's the type of thinking that doesn't focus on all possibilities (even those that require more imagination), but tries to find the most appropriate solution quickly and accurately.

To do this, people use information that we think will help us solve the problem, but do not envision alternative or unusual scenarios as is the case with divergent thinking. So in this respect it is quite a narrow thought process.

When is it most useful?

Convergent thinking may seem more limiting because it is not inventive or creative, but it can be useful in certain situations.

For example, in situations where one correct answer can be obtained through a logical decision-making process.

Features of convergent thinking

This type of thinking usually gives you uncertain answers. In addition, it is based on common sense and logic, and you resort to whatever information is available to quickly find a precise answer to it.

Moreover, convergent thinking is about the knowledge we already have. This is because you use standard data when applying them.

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Finally, you also use critical thinking. It's the kind based on information, prior knowledge, logic, statistics, and probabilities.

Advantages of convergent thinking

What are the benefits of using this type of thinking over another? Here are the two most important:

It is perfect for problems that do not require a better solution

Convergent thinking can help you make decisions. According to the psychologist, decision-making includes all those processes by which a person chooses one of the many possible options among the available ones. To do this, a person relies on many factors surrounding the situation.

Applying this type of thinking to your daily life comes in handy for most problems. Are you going to look at the map every day to get from home to work? Are you going to keep looking for a recipe to improve this stew that's already quite tasty?

That's why there are times when you don't need better results, and the solutions and strategies you already know are enough. This is the arena where convergent thinking gives confidence and is therefore the best choice.

Uses little cognitive resources

Using the strategies you already know saves your mental energy. You already know those familiar paths, trails, or routes, so they're predictable.

For example, you know that turning on the heating will warm you up in cold weather. You also know that stretching will ease back pain. Think about it, you are basically doing these types of actions automatically.

So this kind of thinking is easy to apply because people make a lot of decisions every day without even realizing it.

Learning and thinking

Convergent thinking can be useful in many ways. Thus, knowing its characteristics can help to improve its use and effectiveness. There are many types of thinking, and the usefulness of each of them, the choice of better or worse, will depend on the circumstances of the circumstances: the purpose and nature of the problem itself.

It is important to analyze the context in depth, learn about reaction possibilities (and create them, if they do not exist, to stimulate the imagination), develop a plan of action and execute it to achieve the desired response.

Even though you will make thousands of mistakes, fortunately you will learn from them. Remember that experience is a demanding teacher; first he puts you to the test, and then he gives you a lesson.