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Convergent Thinking

It consists of those abilities, e.g., good memory and logical ability, etc., which help a person get to the right solution to a problem. It also consists of mechanisms of thought that help the person get a good definition of the problem when the problem is complex or vague, to analyze the problem in depth, to select a solution (for the method of getting a solution) out of many that may be available, to put together a solution (i.e., to synthesize a solution) and to refine a solution and make an efficient one.

Convergent thinking is rational in nature. In this the information provides one right answer or recognized best or conventional answer. It is also required to grasp an unclear problem. Categorization, logical thinking, analysis, comparing, evaluation are critical factors in this phase of problem-solving. Problems are such that thee is only one right answer or at best a few right answers and these answers can easily be discriminated from the many wrong ones.

Mechanism of Convergent Thinking

Important mechanisms of convergent thinking are discussed below:

(i)    Certificatory Mechanism. A problem is an unmet goal or an unwanted effect often accompanied by insufficient information as to what is wrong, why it is wrong, how to set it right and/or what would constitute setting the problem right ? It incorporates phases like:

(a)    Verbalizing the problem.
(b)    Listing the components of the problem.
(c)    Analogies and comparisons.

(ii)    Analytical Mechanism. It involves several related processes of clarification like:
(a)    breaking down a problem into its components (factoring of the problem);
(b)    seeking relationships among components;
(c)    identifying components of a problem into more abstract forms;
(d)    identifying issues, constraint variables;
(e)    imposing constraints on a problem like making assumptions, establishing criteria of evolution;
(f)    costing or selecting by comparing and evaluating alternatives,
(g)    working backwards from a solution to the present situation, and
(h)    building a model of the problem situating and manipulating its components to see alternative outcomes.

(iii)    Synthesis Aiding Mechanism. It deals with various strands of thought or the various parts of a complex situation in the form of brief notes which generally trigger the act of synthesis. Synthesis is the act of seeing the pattern among components, the whole in the parts, the unity in the diversity. A mechanism that aids synthesis once the analysis is completely made includes:

(a)    Incubation,
(b)    inconsistent or extreme elements, and
(c)    broad model.

(iv)    Optimizing Mechanism. Optimizing is the process of refining a solution until the solution is of acceptable quality. It involves a number of mechanisms such as:

(a)    substitution of Paris,
(b)    addition of components,
(c)    deletion of unnecessary ingredients,
(d)    modification of elements,
(e)    alteration of the relations between the components, and
(f)    formalizing the criteria for evaluating potential solutions.

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