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- Main article: Inductive deductive reasoning
Convergent and divergent thinking are the two types of human response to a set problem that were identified by J. P. Guilford.
Convergent production is the deductive generation of the best single answer to a set problem, usually where there is a compelling inference. For example, find answers to the question What is the sum of the internal angles of a triangle?
Divergent production is the creative generation of multiple answers to a set problem. For example, find uses for 1 metre lengths of black cotton.
Guilford observed that most individuals display a preference for either convergent or divergent thinking. Scientists and engineers typically prefer the former and artists and performers, the latter.
There is a movement in education that maintains divergent thinking might create more resourceful students. Rather than presenting a series of problems for rote memorization or resolution, divergent thinking presents open-ended problems and encourages students to develop their own solutions to problems.
Divergent or synthetic thinking is the ability to draw on ideas from across disciplines and fields of inquiry to reach a deeper understanding of the world and one's place in it.