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62 Types of Thinking

 , October 15, 2018 updated on March 25, 2023
Thinking is the process of using the mind. This can be done to develop strategy, solve problems, make decisions, complete tasks, socialize, cultivate yourself or simply for the joy of it. People commonly think in a large number of different modes. This can be unintentional where moods or situations switch your thought processes. Different types of thinking can also be used strategically to produce results in life. The following are common types of thinking.
Pragmatism
Dealing the messy realities of the real world in a grounded and flexible way.
Intentionality
The ability to formulate your own intentions.
Design thinking
Seeing design as a way to solve a broad range of problems.
Generative optimism
Using an optimistic and unconstrained frame of mind to generate ideas.
Defensive pessimism
Using a critical view to validate ideas.
Practical thinking
Concern with the usefulness of things as opposed to higher level viewpoints such as aesthetics or emotion.
Introspection
The ability to examine your own thoughts, mood, emotions and character.
Intuition
Knowing things without conscious thought.
Analytical thinking
Breaking things down into parts.
Logical thinking
Systematic thinking designed to determine truth without fallacy or bias.
Cold logic
Systematic thinking that neglects human realities. For example, thinking only in terms of money and ignoring how people are impacted.
Creative thinking
Generating non-obvious ideas.
Critical thinking
Evaluation and critique.
Reflective thinking
Deep thinking that considers things at different levels.
Strategic thinking
Planning how to achieve goals in an environment of constraints and competition.
Tactical thinking
Looking for opportunity and risk in fast moving situations.
Systems thinking
Considering the end-to-end impact of change to complex things.
Divergent thinking
Thinking about problems that have no correct answer.
Convergent thinking
Finding the unambiguous correct answer to a problem.
Reasoning
Systematic and reasonable thinking.
Rational thinking
Logic + consideration of human realities.
Deductive reasoning
Working from the general to the specific.
Inductive reasoning
Working from the specific to the general.
Analogical reasoning
Using analogies to reduce complexity or to look at things from new perspectives.
First principles
Using guidelines with broad explanatory power known as first principles.
Big-picture
Thinking about all possibilities without concern for details.
Myoptic thinking
Optimizing the same thing over and over again without concern for the big picture.
Diligence
Paying attention to detail and doing things correctly.
Realism
Accurate thinking that lacks color or optimism.
Pessimism
Overestimating risk and underestimating the good and potential in things and people.
Nihilism
Feeling that nothing has any value or meaning.
Cynicism
An inaccurately dark view.
Skepticism
Not believing in anything without absolute proof.
Objectivity
Trying to remove your own subjective viewpoint from your analysis.
View from nowhere
An attempt at objectivity that becomes terribly dislodged from reality.
Evidence-based thinking
Referencing data in your thinking. This is far from foolproof as logic based on data can certainly be wrong.
Confirmation bias
Looking for data to support what you want to believe.
Motivated reasoning
Logical reasoning that is shaped by your motivations such that it may be incorrect.
Black and white thinking
Assigning things into categories such as good and bad without examining the complexities in-between.
Conceptual thought
Thinking using abstract concepts. A high level human ability.
Heuristics
Using approximations based on limited information.
Imagination
The ability to thinking about that which doesn't exist yet.
Idealism
The belief that ideas shape the world such that imagination is the source of value creation.
Counterfactual thinking
Thinking about how the past could have been different.
Emergent thinking
Viewing thought as a process where one thought leads to another and new ideas emerge.
Constructive thinking
Thinking about how to build things up.
Win-win thinking
Trying to find ways that everyone wins.
Abundance mindset
The belief that there is enough for everyone such that the successes of others don't diminish your own.
Scarcity mindset
The belief that there isn't enough such that other people are taking from you.
Win-lose thinking
The belief that others must lose for you to win.
Stoicism
The belief that it is only your own virtue that matters such that you are indifferent to both good and bad fortune.
Social thinking
Thinking about social things and the social, emotional and cognitive state of others.
Collaborative thinking
Using social processes and communication to solve problems or make decisions.
Playful thinking
Thinking in a joyful and non-serious way.
Fluid intelligence
The ability to learn and adapt to novel situations.
Crystallized intelligence
The ability to apply knowledge and experience.
Spatial reasoning
The ability to think about objects and movement in 3d space.
Visual thinking
Thinking in pictures.
Embodied cognition
Thinking with movement of the body.
Biases
Biases are flawed patterns of thought that are common in human thinking.
Wishful thinking
Thinking that things will happen simply because you want them to happen.
Magical thinking
Applying magical qualities to things such as science and technology without being able to explain how these things work.

Thinking

This is the complete list of articles we have written about thinking.
Abductive Reasoning
Abstract Thinking
Abstraction
Aesthetics
Analogy
Analysis Paralysis
Analytical Thinking
Anomie
Argument
Argument From Silence
Arrow Of Time
Assertions
Automaticity
Backward Induction
Base Rate Fallacy
Benefit Of Doubt
Big Picture
Brainstorming
Call To Action
Catch 22
Causality
Choice Architecture
Circular Reasoning
Cognition
Cognitive Abilities
Cognitive Biases
Cold Logic
Collective Intelligence
Complexity Bias
Concept
Consciousness
Constructive Criticism
Convergent Thinking
Counterfactual Thinking
Creative Tension
Creeping Normality
Critical Thinking
Culture
Curse Of Knowledge
Decision Fatigue
Decision Framing
Decision Making
Defensive Pessimism
Design Thinking
Divergent Thinking
Educated Guess
Emotional Intelligence
Epic Meaning
Essential Complexity
Excluded Middle
Failure Of Imagination
Fallacies
Fallacy Fallacy
False Analogy
False Balance
False Dichotomy
False Equivalence
First Principles
Formal Logic
Four Causes
Fuzzy Logic
Gambler's Fallacy
Generalization
Golden Hammer
Good Judgement
Grey Area
Groupthink
Heuristics
Hindsight Bias
Hope
Idealism
Ideas
If-By-Whiskey
Illogical Success
Imagination
Independent Thinking
Inductive Reasoning
Inference
Influencing
Informal Logic
Information
Information Cascade
Introspection
Intuition
Inventive Step
Learning
Lifestyle
Logic
Logical Argument
Logical Thinking
Ludic Fallacy
Magical Thinking
Meaning
Mental Experiences
Mental State
Mindset
Misuse of Statistics
Motivated Reasoning
Natural Language
Nirvana Fallacy
Norms
Not Even Wrong
Objective Reason
Objectivity
Opinion
Overthinking
Perception
Personal Values
Perspective
Positive Thinking
Practical Thinking
Pragmatism
Premise
Problem Solving
Proof By Example
Propositional Logic
Prosecutor's Fallacy
Radical Chic
Rational Thought
Realism
Reality
Reason
Reasoning
Red Herring
Reflective Thinking
Reification
Relativism
Salience
Scarcity Mindset
Scientism
Selective Attention
Serendipity
Situational Awareness
Sour Grapes
State Of Mind
Storytelling
Subjectivity
Systems Thinking
Thinking
Thought Experiment
Unknown Unknowns
Visual Thinking
Want To Believe
Whataboutism
Win-Win Thinking
Wishful Thinking
Worldview
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Abstraction

The definition of abstraction with examples.

Cognition

The common types of cognition with examples.

Faulty Reasoning

A list of common logical errors.

Ideas

The definition of idea with examples.

Thinking Examples

Examples of different types of thinking.

Cognitive Biases

A list of common cognitive biases explained.

Critical Thinking

A disciplined, systematic analysis of evidence that arrives at an opinion, judgement or critique.

Fallacies

A list of logical fallacies.

Logic

A few logic terms explained.

Motivation

An overview of motivation.

Rational Thought

The difference between rational thought and logic.

Thought Processes

A list of thinking approaches and types.
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