Reframing Convergent and Divergent Thought for the 21st Century
- Liane Gabora, University of British Columbia, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
AbstractConvergent and divergent thought are promoted as key constructs of creativity. Convergent thought is defined and measured in terms of the ability to perform on tasks where there is one correct solution, and divergent thought is defined and measured in terms of the ability to generate multiple solutions. However, these characterizations of convergent and divergent thought presents inconsistencies, and do not capture the reiterative processing, or ‘honing’ of an idea that characterizes creative cognition. Research on formal models of concepts and their interactions suggests that different creative outputs may be projections of the same underlying idea at different phases of a honing process. This leads us to redefine convergent thought as thought in which the relevant concepts are considered from conventional contexts, and divergent thought as thought in which they are considered from unconventional contexts. Implications for the assessment of creativity are discussed.
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