The brain is a complicated organ, and how it creates and processes ideas is no exception. No two people think in the same way.
What we think about and how we think about it are both dependent on the individual.
With that in mind, there are still certain basic types of thinking to which we may ascribe. Concrete and abstract are the primary two categories, and we’ll break them down for you below.
What is concrete thinking?
Concrete thinking is a type of thinking that is focused on concrete objects rather than abstract concepts. It is often used in problem-solving, as it can help to break down complex problems into smaller, more manageable pieces.
Concrete thinkers are often good at visualizing problems and finding creative solutions. However, they may struggle with thinking abstractly or outside of the box.
To encourage concrete thinking, try using tangible objects to represent abstract concepts. For example, you could use blocks to represent different elements of a problem or use a poster board to create a visual representation of your thoughts.
By breaking down complex problems into smaller, more manageable pieces, you can make the process of finding a solution much easier.
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The example of concrete thinking
One of the most famous examples of concrete thinking comes from the story of Archimedes and the Golden Crown.
The king had asked Archimedes to determine whether his crown was made of pure gold, or if it was a mixture of gold and silver.
Archimedes couldn’t figure out how to solve the problem. He tried weighing the crown, but it was the same weight as a pure gold crown. He tried measuring its volume, but that didn’t give him any clues either.
Eventually, Archimedes had a Eureka moment while taking a bath. He noticed that the water level rose when he got in the tub, and he realized that he could use this principle to determine the density of the crown.
He measured the amount of water that was displaced when he submerged the crown in a tub of water.
From this, he was able to calculate the density of the crown and determine that it was not made of pure gold.
This story is a great example of how concrete thinking can be used to solve complex problems.
Archimedes was able to take a complex problem and break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces. By doing this, he was able to find a creative solution that he would have otherwise missed.
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What is abstract thinking?
Abstract thinking is the ability to see beyond the literal meaning of something and to understand it on a deeper, more symbolic level.
It is often associated with creativity and imagination, as it allows people to come up with new ideas and concepts that are not constrained by the here-and-now.
Abstract thinking skills are important in many areas of life, from work and school to personal relationships.
For example, when faced with a difficult problem, an abstract thinker will be able to come up with creative solutions that a more literal-minded person might not think of.
In addition, abstract thinkers are often better able to see the big picture and understand complex systems. As a result, they are often better able to find connections between seemingly unrelated things.
Although not everyone is equally gifted in this area, there are ways to improve one’s ability to think abstractly.
For instance, some experts recommend engaging in activities like brainstorming or mind mapping, which can help stimulate the flow of new ideas.
With practice, anyone can learn to think more abstractly and see the world in new and innovative ways.
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The example of abstract thinking
The theory of relativity is a great example of abstract thinking. It was developed by Albert Einstein, who was able to see beyond the literal meaning of things and understand them on a deeper level.
He realized that the laws of physics were not always constant but could change depending on the frame of reference.
This allowed him to develop a completely new understanding of the universe that was not constrained by the limitations of previous thinking.
His theory has had a profound impact on the world and has led to many new and innovative ideas.
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How to improve abstract thinking
There are a few key things you can do to become better at thinking abstractly:
Practice brainstorming or mind mapping
Brainstorming is a popular technique for generating new ideas, and it can also be a helpful way to improve thinking abstractly. When brainstorming, try to suspend judgment and generate as many ideas as possible.
This free-flowing approach can help you to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions. Mind mapping is another useful tool for improving abstract thinking.
To create a mind map, start by writing a central topic in the middle of a page. Then, draw lines outward from the center and add related ideas.
This visually-oriented method can help you to see relationships between ideas and make connections that you might not otherwise have noticed.
By taking some time to brainstorm or mind map on a regular basis, you can help train your brain to think more abstractly and come up with innovative solutions.
When it comes to thinking abstractly, challenge yourself to improve. This means thinking beyond the concrete and tangible and instead thinking about concepts and ideas. This can be difficult at first, but with practice, it will become easier.
To help you get started, here are a few exercises:
- Take a concrete object, such as a pencil, and break it down into its component parts. What are the different materials it is made of? What is its purpose? How does it work?
- Once you have broken down the object, try to think of other ways it could be used. For example, a pencil can be used not only for writing but also for drawing or even sculpting.
- Now that you have thought of other ways to use the object, try to think of other objects that serve the same purpose. For example, a pen can also be used for writing. But what about a computer? It can also be used for writing, but it has many other functions as well.
- Finally, try to think of an abstract concept, such as justice or love. What does it mean? What are some examples of it? Can you think of any other concepts that are similar?
By challenging yourself to improve thinking abstractly, you will open up new ways of understanding the world around you. So get started today and see how far you can go!
Think outside the box
One way to improve thinking abstractly is to think outside the box. That means avoiding confirmation bias and instead focusing on generating new ideas.
To do this, consider problems from different perspectives, and brainstorm possible solutions with a group of people. It can also be helpful to take breaks from work and come back to a problem with fresh eyes.
This will allow you to approach the problem with a new perspective and possibly see things that you missed before.
Additionally, try to find connections between unrelated concepts, as this can help you see problems in a new light. By thinking outside the box, you can improve your ability to think abstractly and come up with creative solutions.
Another way to improve thinking abstractly is to be open-minded. This means being willing to accept new ideas and challenge your existing beliefs.
It can be difficult to do this, but it is essential for improving abstract thinking. When you encounter new information, take the time to consider it without immediately dismissing it.
Instead, try to understand where it is coming from and what it could mean. Additionally, don’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas.
This will help you to broaden your perspective and see things in a new light. By being open-minded, you can improve your ability to think abstractly and come up with innovative solutions.
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Concrete and abstract thinking is the ways of human thinking. Concrete thinking is more simple, while abstract thinking is more complex.
Most people use a combination of both, but some people tend to lean more towards one or the other. If you want to improve your ability to think abstractly, there are a few things you can do.
First, challenge yourself to improve. This means thinking beyond the concrete and tangible and instead thinking about concepts and ideas.
Second, think outside the box. That means avoiding confirmation bias and instead focusing on generating new ideas.
Finally, be open-minded. This means being willing to accept new ideas and challenge your existing beliefs.
By doing these things, you can improve your ability to think abstractly and come up with innovative solutions.