Convergent and Divergent
Hudson (1967) studied English schoolboys, and found that conventional measures of intelligence did not always do justice to their abilities. The tests gave credit for problem-solving which produced the "right" answer, but under-estimated creativity and unconventional approaches to problems.
He concluded that there were two different forms of thinking or ability in play here:
One he called "convergent" thinking, in which the person is good at bringing material from a variety of sources to bear on a problem, in such a way as to produce the "correct" answer. This kind of thinking is particularly appropriate in science, maths and technology.
Because of the need for consistency and reliability, this is really the only form of thinking which standardised intelligence tests, (and even national exams) can test
The other he termed "divergent" thinking. Here the student's skill is in broadly creative elaboration of ideas prompted by a stimulus, and is more suited to artistic pursuits and study in the humanities.
In order to get at this kind of thinking, he devised open-ended tests, such as the "Uses of Objects" test
Uses of Objects Test
Below are five everyday objects. Think of as many different uses as you can for each:
- A barrel
- A paper clip
- A tin of boot polish
- A brick
- A blanket
(No time limit: usually completed in 15 minutes)
From Hudson 1967
See the use Kolb makes of this distinction in discussing forms of knowledge