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Divergent Thinking

Divergent thinking represents the potential for creative thinking and problem solving. It is not synonymous with actual creative behavior but has proven to be a good estimate of it. It is also useful as a construct for empirical research on creativity and in various applied settings. This entry defines divergent thinking and discusses how it is used in education and other applied settings. The theoretical basis is also reviewed.


Divergent thinking is best defined by contrasting it with convergent thinking. Simply put, the former is thinking that moves in different directions and the latter is thinking that moves toward one or a very few correct or conventional answers. “How are automobiles and bicycles alike?” allows divergent thinking; “What is the capital of California?” requires convergent thinking.

Convergent ...

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