Kinds of Thinking
Thinking may be of many kinds, such as, reveries, controlled association, reasoning, conceptual thinking, imagination, day-dreams, night-dreams, creative thought and so on. These various kinds of thinking are not separate and distinct but grade into one another. The material made use of in all types of thinking is of the same kind and hence, it is not possible to distinguish types of thinking by the objects of thought. It is possible, however, to make distinctions between different thinking activities on the basis of the manner or method in which the material of thought is employed. “Thinking may vary in at least two important ways: (i) in the kind and amount of control of the process by the thinking individual and (ii) in the degree of correspondence between the original experience and the representation of that experience in the thought.”
We will now take up the first variable degree of control and will make an effort to fit into it various examples of thinking along a scale of degree or amount of control. At one extreme of the scale there are day-dreaming, night-dreaming and reverie which have a very small amount of control. At the other extreme of the scale, there are reasoning and creative thinking which the highly controlled kinds of thinking are. Between these two extremes, there are other varieties of thinking which can be easily described in terms of the kind and amount of control. “The other distinguishing variable is the degree to which a thought is a faithful reproduction of past experiences, or the amount of correspondence between the thought and the actual experience.” Taking this variable into consideration, we can also find out types of thought that vary between the two extremes. At one extreme there are thoughts’ which are extremely faithful in reproducing past experiences.
We may take in this category the recollections or memories of past events which arc almost perfect recollections. But it is to be remembered that usually in our recollection of past events, errors and omissions creep in recalling names and telephone numbers, dates, prices, etc. Reproduction is the exact duplication of the actual fact. Thus, this type of thinking is the one extreme in terms of this variable. On the other extreme, we have imaginative recall. In imagination, the arrangement of details is different from actual facts to quite a great extent. There is no doubt, that the materials of imagination are the recalled facts of previous experience, but the facts are re-set in such a spatial and temporal arrangement that they look entirely different from the actual experience.
Problem-Solving At the Animal Level Unlearned and Habitual Problem-Solving Behaviour
There are some lower animals which appear to satisfy their wants in blind, mechanical ways which are determined by their inherited organic structure. Animals react in fixed unlearned ways to certain situations. Some Early Childhood Care and Education educators have given examples like, the food wants of certain bees are satisfied by their terroristic and immutable positive reaction to odour of flowers. Such instinctive reaction to difficulties is usual and ordinary, but when the difficulties are unique, fixed patterns of reactions often prove Inappropriate, Some animals show habitual behaviour.