Uncovering & Understanding our Thought Processes

In this article we take a look at some of the established research on human thinking processes & patterns, and put forth questions that can help us discover & understand our own thinking patterns.

In this article we take a look at some of the established research on human thinking processes & patterns, and put a few self awareness questions that can help us discover & understand our own thinking patterns.


Two of the most notable ideas in the area of human thought process are Convergent Thinking vs Divergent Thinking by J.P. Guildford, and the idea of Fluid Intelligence comprising of Deductive Reasoning & Inductive Reasoning, by Raymond Cattell.

Convergent Thinking vs Divergent Thinking

Convergent Thinking refers to the thought process when one narrows down the options provided to come to a solution. Divergent Thinking, on the other hand, refers to an individual’s ability to create different scenarios / options to solve a given problem.

Fluid Intelligence and Crystallized Intelligence

Raymond Cattle developed The Culture Fair Intelligence Test (CFIT), that attempts to produce a measure of cognitive abilities that accurately estimated intelligence devoid of sociocultural and environmental influences. To this end, he proposed that general intelligence can be viewed to be  comprised of Fluid Intelligence (Gf) and Crystallized Intelligence (Gc).

Fluid intelligence or fluid reasoning is the capacity to reason and solve novel problems, independent of any knowledge from the past. Fluid reasoning includes inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning. Crystallized intelligence is the ability to use skills, knowledge, and experience. It does not equate to memory, but it does rely on accessing information from long-term memory.

Inductive Reasoning vs Deductive Reasoning

The concepts of Inductive Reasoning & Deductive Reasoning are part of Fluid Intelligence. Inductive reasoning implies deriving one or more probable premises based on a given certain premise. Deductive reasoning, on the other hand, implies deducing a certain conclusion based on multiple related certain conditions.

At a cursory look, Deductive Reasoning might seem to be same as Convergent Thinking, and Inductive Reasoning to be similar to Divergent Thinking. And these actually are, but there are important differences to note. Divergent thinking is more closely tied to Creativity & Original Thought than Inductive Reasoning. Divergent Thinking can include coming up with brand new ideas, whereas in Inductive Reasoning, one is limited to the proximity of the provided certain premise. Similarly Deductive Reasoning is a subset of Convergent Thinking. Convergent Thinking includes Analytical Skills & Deductive Reasoning.

Applications & Questions

The Ideas above have numerous applications related to Parenting, education – policy & content, Organizations – candidate testing & skill development.

Every individual has all of these capabilities with differing experience in their respective application & with differing inclinations. That being said, in order to reach our maximum potential, we must employ all of these thought processes in our professional & personal lives.


Self Awareness Questions

Here are some questions related to these ideas for self Discovery, and related to Parenting.

  • How can you use these thought processes to enrich your personal life, your relationships? Are you limiting yourself by omitting options?
  • How are you using the different thought processes / thinking patterns in your current work?
  • What specific habits in children hinder the development of these thought processes?
  • What specific aspects of the child’s environment hinder the development of these thought processes?
  • In what specific ways do you help your child develop his/her convergent thinking?
  • In what specific ways do you help your child develop his/her divergent thinking?
  • In what specific ways do you help your child develop his/her Inductive Reasoning?
  • In what specific ways do you help your child develop his/her Deductive Reasoning?