The Main Types of Thinking and Understanding Them
Updated on January 31, 2024
5 min read

The Main Types of Thinking and Understanding Them

Table of Contents

The main styles of thinking are critical thinking, analytical thinking, concrete thinking, abstract thinking, creative thinking, divergent thinking, and convergent thinking. These are ways a human being recognizes data processing of thoughts to construct their actions and decisions.

Understanding thinking processes is imperative for creating smart plans, making the right choices and decisions, learning new things, reflecting, and retaining as much information as possible in your memory storage. There are different types of thinkers. On the path of finding out your style of thinking and data processing, it is possible to organize your experiences properly. This process encourages accurate and deep intuitive insights. Your mental and cognitive processes will be under your control. Thus, you can create your learning style, hack your cognition, and expand your memory. It also allows understanding own senses and expressing oneself to others.

Types of Thinking

Having a clear understanding of what kind of thinker you are can help you achieve greater efficiency with learning, processing new information, and memorizing complex concepts. So let’s explore common types in more detail and compare some of them.

Critical Thinking

Individuals with a critical thinking type are eager to learn and gain new knowledge and experiences. A vast range of interests allows becoming a free-thinker and tolerant of varied and diversified views. It also means that your mind is ready to observe, analyze, and synthesize information. There is an array of signs to help you to understand if your thinking is critical. One of them uses multiple sources when learning one topic to deduce reasonable conclusions and shape unbounded opinions. The flexibility of mind and the capability of recognizing your own mistakes are other qualities that critical thinkers possess. Strive to be always well-informed, open-minded, and confident in your reasoning processes. Then one is more able to develop and grow in various directions. Suppose you’ve noticed some barriers that prevent you from thinking reasonably, it is excellent to check critical thinking exercises to strengthen requisite skills for attaining impressive career or academic success, polish reasoning, and nurture creativity.

Analytical Thinking

Analytical and coherent thinking is among the common types of thinking that everyone should develop and grow. It means that your mind is able to gather all needed details and take into account all variables before deciding something or making choices. Analytical thinkers, having a problem, will easily come up with a well-thought-out algorithm of actions to know which step to take next, as they love being challenged. Most types of jobs and occupations require strong skills in applying logical reasoning. For students, having an ability to approach tasks and make conclusions in an unbiased and unprejudiced manner is also quite helpful. Moreover, to attain harmony and consistency of thoughts, you must be ready to have different attitudes when considering matters. Also, your brain must be ready to accept the fact that you might be wrong. Finally, you must perceive every failure and difficulty as a chance to grow and learn.

Concrete Thinking vs. Abstract Thinking

To move further with uncovering different types of thinking, it would be useful to compare abstract and concrete thinkers. The abstract type of thinking refers to our ability to shape ideas and concepts without being tied to physical things. It is a way of thinking that involves symbolism and conceptual forms. Lots of authors, writers, painters, and artists, use abstract thoughts for creating an original piece of art. Abstract thinkers have better performance at work and can capably absorb knowledge due to excellent mind flexibility. Concrete type means to rely on facts and a physical world without perceiving information beyond the existing things. A range of professionals requires a concrete approach, for example, business and financial analysts or industrial engineers. But the winning situation is to combine two types of thinking. Thus, you will efficiently use your abstract thinking skills without limits, and at the same time, you will be able to master the use of clear facts when needed.

Creative Thinking vs. Divergent Thinking

As for creative minds, it is a type of thinking that can be fueled and fostered. Having one issue, creative thinking encourages seeking different solutions and picking the one that will definitely bring the expected results. It is similar to the divergent thought process that involves a free-form and unrestricted method of dealing with a problem. Following a lot of lines of thought, fresh and original ideas will be easily generated.  However, divergent thinking is only a part of the creative processes that occur in our brain. Creative thinking covers much more processes, allowing you to express your thoughts and generate ideas easily. Anyone can practice creativity with a specially designed set of exercises to stay mentally agile and keep memory sharp. Incorporating techniques for boosting the creative mind has a myriad of far-reaching advantages for your brain. So get ready to gain an analytical mind and out-of-box thinking by growing your creative power.

Convergent Thinking

The quality of being able to come up with more than one interpretation is a powerful skill. Although sometimes, accuracy is what is required to get a workable solution to the issue. Convergent types of thinkers refer to individuals capable of bypassing unnecessary things that distract and quickly obtaining the right solution. This skill is at the forefront of every powerful organizational process, where quick decision-making is imperative for success. Relying only on established standards, rules, and criteria, as well as thinking about problems logically, convergent thinkers can be focused and make only firm decisions without not losing time on considering alternatives. However, it must be clear that such a concept is opposite to creativity and must be used properly.

It is believed that most individuals have one prevailing way of thinking while other ways are used to some extent. However, thinking styles can definitely be upgraded. Each cognitive skill can be enhanced, whether it is an ability to concentrate attention on one thing at the expense of everything else or analyze the situation more openly without boundaries. To reach multi-level thinking and get more control over cognitive processes, it is recommended to build a tailor-made brain-boosting strategy. Properly selected mind tools will help you get rid of weaknesses, improve intelligence, and activate different types of thinking when needed the most.

Proven Ways To Grow Your Thinking Skills and Re-Frame Thought Patterns

The most valuable asset that we all have is our brain potential and thinking power. So investing time and effort in building strong memory, evolving different types of thinking, and sharping mental dexterity will pay off and bring outstanding outcomes. The alertness of mind and speedy information processing are the key ingredients for your workplace or university success. Fighting aging signs, boosting self-confidence, and enhancing curiosity are also great bonuses that any individual can have if they incorporate smart mind exercises into their daily schedule.

There is a myriad of obvious ways to sharpen your thinking. It can be reading, learning a new language, starting yoga sessions, or adjusting your diet. However, nothing can be compared with mnemonics and memory techniques, such as the mind palace. With this type of brain training, you will not only tremendously improve your memory skills and lower your level of anxiety and boost your mood. And even if, at first sight, building a memory palace seems like a complicated objective, exercising regularly, anyone can reveal natural brainpower.

Expose the brain to new experiences with a set of techniques, add stimulating and entertaining apps at the same time, and remain mentally active. As a result, you will change how you think, improve your memorizing speed, and regain motivation and inspiration to achieve more remarkable results.


What are the four states of mind?

Your mind can be in a critical or autopilot state  — it is considered a harmful mode that can prevent one from being reasonable. In contrast, the engaged or thinking state is what allows you to stay mentally active.

What is the highest state of mind?

Our emotions, thoughts, and deeper understanding that are beyond our consciousness are something that can be hard to reveal. Thus, our state of unconsciousness is the highest mind level.

Which type of thinking is the best?

The best way to be able to perform mentally in a competent manner is by training and combining several types of thinking.

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