The underlying principle behind ‘Six Thinking Hats’ is that people’s brains have different response modes to questions and problems. de Bono associated these modes with particular colours. These modes and their colours are:
- Questions (White) – considering purely what information is available, what are the facts?
- Emotions (Red) – instinctive gut reaction or statements of emotional feeling (but not any justification)
- Critical judgment (Black) – logic applied to identifying flaws or barriers
- Beneficial judgment (Yellow) – logic applied to identifying benefits
- Creativity / new ideas (Green) – statements of provocation and investigation, seeing where a thought goes
- Thinking (Blue) – thinking about thinking
Using cards with pictures of these hats (or, indeed, coloured hats themselves) may help children to focus on particular ways of thinking when approaching artworks and objects.