Divergent and convergent thinking

  • The fact that the human race has been able to become the cutting edge of evolution can be attributed to mainly two abilities, namely intelligence and creativity. While the first enables us to reason, solve problems, learn from experience, and think abstractly; the latter enables us to change our way of thinking and generate novel strategies for overcoming obstacles we face. It can be concluded that each aspect of our life in regard to innovation and scientific progress can be attributed to either intelligence or creativity, or as I will demonstrate in the course of this work: the interaction of both. For the scope of this work, the structure-of-intellect model by Joy Paul Guilford is of particular relevance as he introduced the idea that intelligence encompasses different dimensions of operations, products and contents (see Chapter 2.1). Within this model, divergent and convergent thinking are conceptualized as two distinct operations. Divergent thinking is defined as the production of a set of ideas in regard to a given problem, while convergent thinking encompasses deductive processes that lead to one single solution (Guilford, 1967). In this dissertation, I will present a literature review on intelligence (Chapter 2.1) and creativity (Chapter 2.2). I will continue to introduce and specify the processes of divergent and convergent thinking (Chapter 3) and how both are assessed and researched within the scope of creative cognition (Chapter 4). As working memory (besides other related processes, such as cognitive control) are related to both, divergent and convergent thinking, I will highlight the role of working memory in this regard (Chapter 5). Furthermore, I will present a comprehensive overview on neurocognitive underpinnings and mechanisms of both divergent and convergent thinking, as well as on neural correlates of working memory (Chapter 6). Subsequently, I will introduce two investigations in which neural oscillatory activity of divergent and convergent thinking was investigated beyond their shared working memory-related activity, for the visuo-spatial (Study 1; Chapter 7) as well as the verbal knowledge domain (Study 2; Chapter 8). Finally, comparisons across both knowledge domains as well as further theoretical considerations are described in a theoretical paper (Study 3; Chapter 9). Following these investigations, I will provide a general discussion including impulses in regard to future directions (Chapter 10). Lastly, overarching results will be summarized in the conclusion (Chapter 11).

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Author:Vera Eymann
Subtitle (German):Investigating underlying neural mechanisms and the significance for creativity and intelligence
Advisor:Daniela Czernochowski
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Cumulative document:Yes
Language of publication:English
Date of Publication (online):2024/06/25
Year of first Publication:2024
Publishing Institution:Rheinland-Pfälzische Technische Universität Kaiserslautern-Landau
Granting Institution:Rheinland-Pfälzische Technische Universität Kaiserslautern-Landau
Acceptance Date of the Thesis:2024/06/18
Date of the Publication (Server):2024/06/26
Page Number:VIII, 164
Faculties / Organisational entities:Kaiserslautern - Fachbereich Sozialwissenschaften
DDC-Cassification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
Licence (German):Creative Commons 4.0 - Namensnennung, nicht kommerziell, keine Bearbeitung (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)