# Six Hats of Critical Thinking

How to use DeBono's six hats of critical thinking

Created by: Stephan Borg, Last modification: 12 Jun 2005 (23:37 UTC)

Taken from http://internet.ggu.edu/university_library/critical/sixhats.html

In his book, Six Thinking Hats, Edward deBono asks you to imagine six coloured hats. Each hat represents a role your mind plays in the critical thinking process. By switching from one hat to another as you think about your topic, you are forced to look at your topic from a variety of perspectives.

For the exercise, start with six sheets of paper - one for each hat. Select a topic or problem that you would like to think about or work on. Decide which of the hats would be good to start with and work your way through all six, jotting down notes on the thoughts that come to you with each hat. The table below identifies the six hats, their characteristics and some of the questions you should ask with each one. You may think of other questions as well. If you have worked a problem through all six hats and have jotted down at least three points for each, you will know that you've covered the major points in the critical thinking process!

In his book, Six Thinking Hats, Edward deBono asks you to imagine six coloured hats. Each hat represents a role your mind plays in the critical thinking process. By switching from one hat to another as you think about your topic, you are forced to look at your topic from a variety of perspectives.

For the exercise, start with six sheets of paper - one for each hat. Select a topic or problem that you would like to think about or work on. Decide which of the hats would be good to start with and work your way through all six, jotting down notes on the thoughts that come to you with each hat. The table below identifies the six hats, their characteristics and some of the questions you should ask with each one. You may think of other questions as well. If you have worked a problem through all six hats and have jotted down at least three points for each, you will know that you've covered the major points in the critical thinking process!

## White hat

### Characteristics

- Used to think about facts, figures, and other objective information (think of a scientist's white lab smock).

### Questions

- What facts would help me further in making a decision?
- How can I get those facts?

## Red hat

### Characteristics

- Used to elicit the feelings, emotions, and other nonrational but potentially valuable senses, such as hunches and intuition (think of a red heart).

### Questions

- How do I really feel?
- What is my gut feeling about this problem?

## Black hat

### Characteristics

- Used to discover why some ideas will not work, this hat inspires logical negative arguments (think of a devil's advocate or judge robed in black).

### Questions

- What are the possible downside risks and problems?
- What is the worst-case senario?

## Yellow hat

### Characteristics

- Used to obtain the positive outlook, this hat sees opportunities, possibilities and benefits (think of the warming sun).

### Questions

- What are the advantages?
- What would be the best possible outcome?

## Green hat

### Characteristics

- Used to find creative new ideas (think of new shoots sprouting from seeds).

### Questions

- What completely new, fresh, innovative approaches can I generate?
- What creative ideas can I dream up to help me see the problem in a new way?

## Blue hat

### Characteristics

- Used as a master hat to control the thinking process (think of the overarching sky, or a "cool" character who's in control).

### Questions

- Review my thoughts.
- Sum up what I've learned and think about what the next logical step is.