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Difference Between Concrete and Abstract Thinking

thinking-man-pdConcrete vs Abstract Thinking

People always think differently. Some may think in concrete terms and some in abstract terms. Concrete thinking refers to the thinking on the surface whereas abstract thinking is related to thinking in depth.

Concrete thinking does not have any depth. It just refers to thinking in the periphery. On the other hand, abstract thinking goes under the surface. A person having concrete thinking looks at the Statue of Liberty and only sees it as a lady with a torch. A person with abstract thinking will see the Statue of Liberty differently. He may think of it as a symbol of liberty and freedom. The Statue of Liberty is just a piece of concrete for the person with concrete thinking and it is a piece of art for the person with abstract thinking.

Concrete thinking is just regarding the facts. On the other hand abstarct thinking goes down below the facts. While some mental process is involved in abstract thinking, no such effort is evolved in concrete thinking. A person with concrete thinking does not think beyond the facts. They do not have the ability to think beyond a certain limit. Concrete thinkers only have a generalized concept for all things. On the other hand, abstract thinkers have a very specific concept of things.

When compared to concrete thinking, abstract thinking is about understanding the multiple meanings.

When abstract thinking is based on ideas, concrete thinking is based on seeing and also on facts. Abstract thinking may be referred to the figurative description whereas concrete thinking does not think so.

Summary
1. Concrete thinking does not have any depth. It just refers to thinking in the periphery. On the other hand, abstract thinking goes under the surface.
2. Concrete thinking is just regarding the facts. On the other hand abstract thinking goes down below the facts.
3. Abstract thinking may be referred to the figurative description whereas the concrete thinker does not think so.
4. Unlike the concrete thinking, abstract thinking involves some mental process.
5. A person with concrete thinking does not think beyond the facts. They do not have the ability to think beyond a certain limit.
6. When compared to concrete thinking, abstract thinking is about understanding the multiple meanings.
7. While abstract thinking is based on ideas, concrete thinking is based on what the person sees as well as the facts.


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8 Comments

  1. hey,
    description is very simple and easy….

  2. Studying for my Nursing NCLEX-RN exam tonight. Didn’t quiet understood concrete vs. abstract until now.

    Thank you so much for making it more understandable.

  3. Why do you only see two ways of thinking?

  4. I feel that this is really biased. If “no such effort is evolved in concrete thinking,” (which should be “involved” not evolved) then how is it that there have been many concrete thinking geniuses?
    Many people don’t have the ability think concretely. Which can be a very beneficial way of looking at things.

  5. This is a very clear and easily understood article…thank goodness!!! this will really help in my nursing exams.

  6. A very one sided argument there is more too thinking concretely than that friend.

  7. There are more ways of thinking but this article is written to contrass these two only.

  8. $5 bucks the person who submitted the article sees his/her self as an abstract thinker.

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