Divergent Thinking

  • Mark A. Runco
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6616-1_430-2



The theory of divergent thinking is among the most useful in all of creativity studies. Many people equate divergent thinking with creativity, which is not an accurate view since (a) divergent thinking is a useful concept outside of assessment and testing and (b) creativity requires various things and not just divergent thinking. That being said, tests of divergent thinking are the most commonly used estimates of the potential for creative thinking. But divergent thinking tasks are also useful as exercises, even when there is no need or interest in measurement, and the theory of divergent thinking is useful when attempting to understand creative thought, even when there is no need for application, data, or assessment. It is a good theory. It holds up well when the criteria for what makes a good theory (e.g., broad coverage, testable hypotheses, parsimony) are used to evaluate it. This entry starts...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Guilford JP. Creativity, intelligence, and their educational implications. EDITS: San Diego; 1968.Google Scholar
  2. Runco MA, editor. Divergent thinking. Norwood: Ablex Publications; 1991.Google Scholar
  3. Runco MA, editor. Divergent thinking and creative ideation. Cresskill: Hampton Press; 2012.Google Scholar
  4. Torrance EP. Why fly? Norwood: Hampton Press; 1995.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.American Institute for Behavioral Research and TechnologyVistaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Igor N. Dubina
    • 1
  1. 1.Economic Information SystemsAltai State UniversityBarnaulRussia