Lateral Reasoning

An hourglass (or sandglass, sand timer, sand clock or egg timer) is a device used to measure the passage of time. It comprises two glass bulbs connected vertically by a narrow neck that allows a regulated flow of a substance (historically sand) from the lower bulb to the upper one. Typically the upper and lower bulbs are symmetric so that the hourglass will measure the same duration regardless of orientation. The specific duration of time a given hourglass measures is determined by factors including the quantity and coarseness of the particulate matter, the bulb size, and the neck width.


Deductive reasoning (“top-down logic”) contrasts with inductive reasoning (“bottom-up logic”): in deductive reasoning, a conclusion is reached reductively by applying general rules which hold over the entirety of a closed domain of discourse, narrowing the range under consideration until only the conclusion(s) remains. In deductive reasoning there is no epistemic uncertainty. In inductive reasoning, the conclusion is reached by generalizing or extrapolating from specific cases to general rules resulting in a conclusion that has epistemic uncertainty.


Inductive reasoning is a method of reasoning in which the premises are viewed as supplying some evidence, but not full assurance, of the truth of the conclusion. It is also described as a method where one’s experiences and observations, including what are learned from others, are synthesized to come up with a general truth. Many dictionaries define inductive reasoning as the derivation of general principles from specific observations (arguing from specific to general), although there are many inductive arguments that do not have that form.


Lateral thinking is a manner of solving problems using an indirect and creative approach via reasoning that is not immediately obvious. It involves ideas that may not be obtainable using only traditional step-by-step logic. Considered pseudo-science by some, the term was first used in 1967 by Edward de Bono in his book The Use of Lateral Thinking. Edward de Bono also links lateral thinking with humour, arguing there’s a switch-over from a familiar pattern to a new, unexpected one. It is this moment of surprise, generating laughter and new insight, which facilitates the ability to see a different thought pattern which initially was not obvious. According to de Bono, lateral thinking deliberately distances itself from the standard perception of creativity as “vertical” logic, the classic method for problem solving.


Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. It typically occurs in a spontaneous, free-flowing, “non-linear” manner, such that many ideas are generated in an emergent cognitive fashion. Many possible solutions are explored in a short amount of time, and unexpected connections are drawn. Following divergent thinking, ideas and information are organized and structured using convergent thinking, which follows a particular set of logical steps to arrive at one solution, which in some cases is a “correct” solution.


Convergent thinking is the type of thinking that focuses on coming up with the single, well-established answer to a problem. It is oriented toward deriving the single best, or most often correct answer to a question. Convergent thinking emphasizes speed, accuracy, and logic and focuses on recognizing the familiar, reapplying techniques, and accumulating stored information. It is most effective in situations where an answer readily exists and simply needs to be either recalled or worked out through decision making strategies. A critical aspect of convergent thinking is that it leads to a single best answer, leaving no room for ambiguity. In this view, answers are either right or wrong. The solution that is derived at the end of the convergent thinking process is the best possible answer the majority of the time.

Extroversion vs Introversion

The traits of extraversion (or extroversion) and introversion are a central dimension in some human personality theories. Introversion and extraversion were introduced into psychology by Carl Jung, although both the popular understanding and current psychological usage vary. Extraversion tends to be manifested in outgoing, talkative, energetic behavior, whereas introversion is manifested in more reflective and reserved behavior. Jung defined introversion as an “attitude-type characterised by orientation in life through subjective psychic contents”, and extraversion as “an attitude-type characterised by concentration of interest on the external object”. Extraversion and introversion are typically viewed as a single continuum, so to be high in one necessitates being low in the other. Jung provides a different perspective and suggests that everyone has both an extraverted side and an introverted side, with one being more dominant than the other. Virtually all comprehensive models of personality include these concepts in various forms.

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