Splitting is a type of cognitive distortion where one sees a situation from an all-or-nothing perspective. What could we call the type of thinking that is not based on extremes? Would "balanced thinking" work?

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    For me the opposite of seeing only two extremes is seeing nuance. "2. Expression or appreciation of subtle shades of meaning, feeling, or tone:" Balanced thinking would work too as well as nuanced. Interestingly, gradate is a word too, so gradated? You can check a thesaurus.
    – Zebrafish
    Mar 3 '19 at 11:15
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    "Splitting" is the jargon of a particular profession. Are you looking for yet more jargon, or for a word or phrase that a lay person would use?
    – TRomano
    Mar 3 '19 at 11:26
  • How about "scientific"?
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 3 '19 at 13:44
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    @Zebrafish I like "nuanced thinking" :-) Mar 3 '19 at 18:42
  • @TRomano I may need a word for either context. I don't mind using different words for each. I've been researching the topic and have not found a "technical" term, though. The literature tends to be more prolific in labeling an issue than its opposite and more constructive option. Mar 3 '19 at 18:47

Spectral thinking (ie. relating to a thinking on a spectrum)?

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    Hi Post, welcome to EL&U. Is this your novel figurative expression, or is it a recognised phrase that will be readily understood? If it's the latter, please edit your answer to provide a published definition and/or examples. For further guidance, please see How to Answer and take the EL&U Tour. :-) Mar 8 '19 at 6:58

Why not simply "thinking clearly"?

The very activity of thinking itself is already free of such biases. The biases arise from influences external (such as prejudiced beliefs, identification, etc.) to the thinking process itself. When you think clearly, you are said to think without letting those influences taint the thinking process.


Another term for "splitting" is "dichotomous thinking". A straightforward antonym of this would be "non-dichotomous thinking". This isn't a super common term, but it does turn up plenty of relevant results in Google, and it's quite clear on inspection what it means.


I suggest “critical thinking”. Besides being a common phrase (with its own Wikipedia entry!) it captures the idea of reaching a conclusion based on analysis, rather than jumping to a conclusion because of whatever biases or beliefs we may have.

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