Information processing, as a thinking skill, involves the brain receiving information (by seeing it, hearing it, touching it, smelling it ... or through a combination of the four senses) from the environment and providing means for acessing (i.e., storing and retrieving) that information for future use.
Critical thinking is the ability to analyze and reason through the bits and pieces of seemingly disparate information. Central to critical thinking is deliberate analysis using reasoning and judgement. When one thinks critically, one judges the authenticity, worth, or accuracy of something.
Essentially, critical thinking is evaluative in nature.
Skills central to critical thinking include having the ability to:
-- distinguish between verifiable facts and value claims
-- distinguish from irrelevant information, claims, or reasons
-- determine the factual accuracy of a statement
-- determine the credibility of a source
-- identifiy ambiguous claims or arguments
-- identify unstated assumptions
-- detect bias
-- identify logical fallacies
-- recognize logical inconsistencies in a line of reasoning
-- determine the strength of an argument or claim
Creative thinking is the process of generating original or new thoughts, designs, or products; as such, it is very similar to the process of "synthesis" (see Bloom, 1956, on the Thinking Skills Reference List in the Resources section). Creative thinking, then, is divergent thinking or working at the edge of one's competence. When a person thinks "creatively," they function fairly closely to the kinds of thinking processes used in problem solving.
The components of creative thinking inlcude:
-- ideational influency, i.e., the ability to produce large numbers of appropriate ideas quickly and easily
-- remote associates, i.e., the ability to retrieve information only remotely associated with the problem at hand
-- intuition, i.e., the abiltiy to reach sound conclusions from minimal evidence