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Woman with pen and paper from Pompeii
Illustration depicting thought.

Thought and thinking are mental forms and processes, respectively ("thought" is both). Thinking allows beings to model the world and to represent it according to their objectives, plans, ends and desires. Words referring to similar concepts and processes include cognition, sentience, consciousness, ideas, and imagination.[1]

Contents

Definition

Representative reactions towards stimuli from internal chemical reactions or external environmental factors. The word comes from Old English . þoht, geþoht, from stem of þencan "to conceive of in the mind, consider" [2]

In common language, the word thinking covers numerous diverse psychological activities. It is sometimes a synonym for “tending to believe,” especially with less than full confidence (“I think that it will rain, but I am not sure”). At other times it denotes the degree of attentiveness (“I did it without thinking”) or whatever is in consciousness, especially if it refers to something outside the immediate environment (“It made me think of my grandmother”).

Biology

A neuron (also known as a neurone or nerve cell) is an excitable cell in the nervous system that processes and transmits information by electrochemical signalling. Neurons are the core components of the brain, the vertebrate spinal cord, the invertebrate ventral nerve cord, and the peripheral nerves. A number of specialized types of neurons exist: sensory neurons respond to touch, sound, light and numerous other stimuli affecting cells of the sensory organs that then send signals to the spinal cord and brain. Motor neurons receive signals from the brain and spinal cord and cause muscle contractions and affect glands. Interneurons connect neurons to other neurons within the brain and spinal cord. Neurons respond to stimuli, and communicate the presence of stimuli to the central nervous system, which processes that information and sends responses to other parts of the body for action. Neurons do not go through mitosis, and usually cannot be replaced after being destroyed, although astrocytes have been observed to turn into neurons as they are sometimes pluripotent.

Psychology

Psychologists have concentrated on thinking as an intellectual exertion aimed at finding an answer to a question or the solution of a practical problem.

Cognitive psychology is a branch of psychology that investigates internal mental processes such as problem solving, memory, and language.

The school of thought arising from this approach is known as cognitivism which is interested in how people mentally represent information processing. It had its foundations in the Gestalt psychology of Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Köhler, and Kurt Koffka [3] , and in the work of Jean Piaget, who provided a theory of stages/phases that describe children's cognitive development. Cognitive psychologists use psychophysical and experimental approaches to understand, diagnose, and solve problems, concerning themselves with the mental processes which mediate between stimulus and response. Cognitive theory contends that solutions to problems take the form of algorithms—rules that are not necessarily understood but promise a solution, or heuristics—rules that are understood but that do not always guarantee solutions. Cognitive science differs from cognitive psychology in that algorithms that are intended to simulate human behavior are implemented or implementable on a computer. In other instances, solutions may be found through insight, a sudden awareness of relationships.

Id, ego, and super-ego are the three parts of the "psychic apparatus" defined in Sigmund Freud's structural model of the psyche; they are the three theoretical constructs in terms of whose activity and interaction mental life is described. According to this model, the uncoordinated instinctual trends are the "id"; the organized realistic part of the psyche is the "ego," and the critical and moralizing function the "super-ego." [4]

The unconscious was considered by Freud throughout the evolution of his psychoanalytic theory a sentient force of will influenced by human desire and yet operating well below the perceptual conscious mind. For Freud, the unconscious is the storehouse of instinctual desires, needs, and psychic drives. While past thoughts and reminiscences may be concealed from immediate consciousness, they direct the thoughts and feelings of the individual from the realm of the unconscious.[5]

For psychoanalysis, the unconscious does not include all that is not conscious, rather only what is actively repressed from conscious thought or what the person is averse to knowing consciously. In a sense this view places the self in relationship to their unconscious as an adversary, warring with itself to keep what is unconscious hidden. If a person feels pain, all he can think of is alleviating the pain. Any of his desires, to get rid of pain or enjoy something, command the mind what to do. For Freud, the unconscious was a repository for socially unacceptable ideas, wishes or desires, traumatic memories, and painful emotions put out of mind by the mechanism of psychological repression. However, the contents did not necessarily have to be solely negative. In the psychoanalytic view, the unconscious is a force that can only be recognized by its effects — it expresses itself in the symptom.[6]

In developmental psychology, Jean Piaget was a pioneer in the study of the development of thought from birth to maturity. In his theory of cognitive development, thought is based on actions on the environment. That is, Piaget suggests that the environment is understood through assimilations of objects in the available schemes of action and these accommodate to the objects to the extent that the available schemes fall short of the demands. As a result of this interplay between assimilation and accommodation, though develops through a sequence of stages that differ qualititatively from each other in mode of representation and complexity of inference and understanding. That is, thought evolves from being based on perceptions and actions at the sensorimotor stage in the first two years of life to internal representations in early childhood. Subsequently, representations are gradually organized into logical structures which first operate on the concrete properties of the reality, in the stage of concrete operations, and then operate on abstract principles that organize concrete properties, in the stage of formal operations.[7] In recent years, the Piagetian conception of thought was integrated with information processing conceptions. Thus, thought is considered as the result of information processing mechanisms that are responsible for the representation and processing of information. In this conception, speed of processing, cognitive control, and working memory are the main functions underlying thought. In the neo-Piagetian theories of cognitive development, the development of thought is considered to come from increasing speed of processing, enhanced cognitive control, and increasing working memory.[8]

Sociology

Social psychology is the study of how people and groups interact. Scholars in this interdisciplinary area are typically either psychologists or sociologists, though all social psychologists employ both the individual and the group as their units of analysis.[9]

Despite their similarity, psychological and sociological researchers tend to differ in their goals, approaches, methods, and terminology. They also favor separate academic journals and professional societies. The greatest period of collaboration between sociologists and psychologists was during the years immediately following World War II.[10] Although there has been increasing isolation and specialization in recent years, some degree of overlap and influence remains between the two disciplines.[11]

The Collective unconscious, sometimes known as collective subconscious, is a term of analytical psychology, coined by Carl Jung. It is a part of the unconscious mind, shared by a society, a people, or all humanity, in an interconnected system that is the product of all common experiences and contains such concepts as science, religion, and morality. While Freud did not distinguish between an "individual psychology" and a "collective psychology", Jung distinguished the collective unconscious from the personal subconscious particular to each human being. The collective unconscious is also known as "a reservoir of the experiences of our species."[12]

In the "Definitions" chapter of Jung's seminal work Psychological Types, under the definition of "collective" Jung references representations collectives, a term coined by Lucien Lévy-Bruhl in his 1910 book How Natives Think. Jung says this is what he describes as the collective unconscious. Freud, on the other hand, did not accept the idea of a collective unconscious.

Philosophy

Philosophy of mind is a branch of modern analytic philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness and their relationship to the physical body, particularly the brain. The mind-body problem, i.e. the relationship of the mind to the body, is commonly seen as the central issue in philosophy of mind, although there are other issues concerning the nature of the mind that do not involve its relation to the physical body.[13]

The mind-body problem

The mind-body problem concerns the explanation of the relationship that exists between minds, or mental processes, and bodily states or processes.[13] The main aim of philosophers working in this area is to determine the nature of the mind and mental states/processes, and how—or even if—minds are affected by and can affect the body.

Our perceptual experiences depend on stimuli which arrive at our various sensory organs from the external world and these stimuli cause changes in our mental states, ultimately causing us to feel a sensation, which may be pleasant or unpleasant. Someone's desire for a slice of pizza, for example, will tend to cause that person to move his or her body in a specific manner and in a specific direction to obtain what he or she wants. The question, then, is how it can be possible for conscious experiences to arise out of a lump of gray matter endowed with nothing but electrochemical properties. A related problem is to explain how someone's propositional attitudes (e.g. beliefs and desires) can cause that individual's neurons to fire and his muscles to contract in exactly the correct manner. These comprise some of the puzzles that have confronted epistemologists and philosophers of mind from at least the time of René Descartes.[14]

See also

References

  1. ^ Webster's II New College Dictionary, Webster Staff, Webster, Houghton Mifflin Company, Edition: 2, illustrated, revised Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1999, ISBN 0395962145, 9780395962145, pg. 1147
  2. ^ Harper, Douglas. "Etymology of Thought". Online Etymology Dictionary. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=Thought. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  3. ^ Gestalt Theory, By Max Wertheimer, Published by Hayes Barton Press, 1944, ISBN 1593776950, 9781593776954
  4. ^ Teach Yourself Freud, By Ruth Snowden, Edition: illustrated, Published by McGraw-Hill, 2006, ISBN 0071472746, 9780071472746, p. 107.
  5. ^ Geraskov, Emil Asenov The internal contradiction and the unconscious sources of activity. The Journal of Psychology November 1, 1994 Retrieved from [1] April 17, 2007
  6. ^ The Cambridge companion to Freud, By Jerome Neu, Published by Cambridge University Press, 1991, pg, 29, ISBN 052137779X, 9780521377799
  7. ^ Piaget, J. (1951). Psychology of Intelligence. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul
  8. ^ Demetriou, A. (1998). Cognitive development. In A. Demetriou, W. Doise, K. F. M. van Lieshout (Eds.), Life-span developmental psychology (pp. 179-269). London: Wiley.
  9. ^ Social Psychology, David G. Myers, McGraw Hill, 1993. ISBN 0070442924.
  10. ^ Sewell, W. H. (1989). Some reflections on the golden age of interdisciplinary social psychology. Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 15.
  11. ^ The Psychology of the Social, Uwe Flick, Cambridge University Press, 1998. ISBN 0521588510.
  12. ^ Jensen, Peter S., Mrazek, David, Knapp, Penelope K., Steinberg, Laurence, Pfeffer, Cynthia, Schowalter, John, & Shapiro, Theodore. (Dec 1997) Evolution and revolution in child psychiatry: ADHD as a disorder of adaptation. (attention-deficit hyperactivity syndrome). Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 36. p. 1672. (10). July 14, 2007.
  13. ^ a b Kim, J. (1995). Honderich, Ted. ed. Problems in the Philosophy of Mind. Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 
  14. ^ Companion to Metaphysics, By Jaegwon Kim, Gary S. Rosenkrantz, Ernest Sosa, Contributor Jaegwon Kim, Edition: 2, Published by Wiley-Blackwell, 2009, ISBN 1405152982, 9781405152983

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

This page is for quotes about the processes of Thought

Contents

Sourced

  • Thought must be divided against itself before it can come to any knowledge of itself.
    • Aldous Huxley (1894–1963), English author. ‘Wordsworth in the Tropics’, Do What You Will (1929)
  • Thought is the seed of action; but action is as much its second form as thought is its first.
    • Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), American essayist, poet and philosopher. ‘Art’, Society and Solitude (1870)
  • Thought is free.
    • William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist and poet. Maria, in Twelfth Night, Act 1, sc. 3, l. 69
  • Learning to see the structures within which we operate begins a process of freeing ourselves from previously unseen forces and ultimately mastering the ability to work with them and change them.
  • A thought is not a solid structure. It is liable to change over time.
    • David 'Dave' 'DJ-DAVI-C' Curtis
  • "Think about the layout of our supermarkets, and of our shopping centers, the about the layout of our bookstores, our fashion industry. Think about our transportation system, its the genious of God that works in us. Think about the great thinkers of our time and those times before and in antiquity. Think about Aristotle, Plato and Socretes and Memonodes and Pythorgorus Hariclitus and Rodan and George Washington Carver and Booker T Washington and Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Edison and Oprah Winfrey and those liberation thinkers like Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth and Marcur Garvy and Ganhdi and Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela Think about it my brothers and sisters, Cesar Sevese and George Washington Carver and Booker T Washington, Adam Clayton Powell ectera. Think about them! , They were (thinkers). Pitful our generation and our people today. Here it is 2008, and we're worse off now than we've ever been because our young people do not have the ability to (think).Think about it! How pitiful we are, here they are on drugs, on herioin, on cocaine, alcoholics. Here they are at the disposal of these kingpins and ectera, beacuse they can't (think).Here they are making gangs families because they can't (think)."
    • Archbishop LeRoy Bailey, senior-From a sermon entitled: An Abundant Overflowing Thought delivered Feburary 24, 2008

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)

Reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • Every man has some peculiar train of thought which he falls back upon when he is alone. This, to a great degree, moulds the man.
    • Dugald Stewart, p. 581.
  • They are never alone that are accompanied with noble thoughts.
  • Every thought willingly contemplated, ever word meaningly spoken, every action freely done, consolidates itself in the character, and will project itself onward in a permanent continuity.
  • We cannot keep thieves from looking in at our windows, but we need not give them entertainment with open doors.
    • Thomas Adams, p. 582.
  • Be not troubled by the wanderings of your imagination which you cannot restrain. How often do we wander through the fear of wandering and the regret that we have done so. What would you say of a traveler who, instead of constantly advancing in his journey, should employ his time in anticipating the falls he might suffer, or in weeping over the place where one had happened?

Unsourced

  • Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.
  • People should think things out fresh and not just accept conventional terms and the conventional way of doing things.
  • Trying to consciously control your thoughts is like trying to install a faucet on Niagara Falls.
  • Eating is good because it gives you something to do. If you think too much, just order pizza.
    • James Geary
  • It isn't what people think that is important, but the reason they think what they think.
  • The thoughtless are rarely wordless.
    • Howard W. Newton
  • Few people think more than two or three times a year. I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.
  • Sixty minutes of thinking of any kind is bound to lead to confusion and unhappiness.

External links

Wikipedia
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Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Cognition article)

From Wikiversity

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Contents

Introduction

Participants in this learning project are encouraged to explore:

  1. Processes of knowing, understanding, and reasoning that involve being aware of one's thoughts and perceptions.
  2. What is the physical substrate of cognition?
  3. Can man-made machines ever become cognitively active?
  4. What human brain processes generate cognitive experiences?

What is cognition?

  1. Cognition is a general term for all forms of knowing (e.g. attending, remembering, reasoning and understanding concepts, facts, propositions, and rules).
  2. Cognitive processes are how you manipulate your mental contents.
  3. Cognitive psychology is the study of cognition.
  4. Cognitive science is an interdisciplinary field that extends the principles of cognitive psychology to other systems that manipulate information.

Cognition and the brain

EEG

Non-invasive brain scanning allows correlations to be made between human conscious experiences and patterns of brain activity. Studies of both visual[1] and auditory[2] perception allow distinctions to be made between brain regions that do and do not show activity patterns that correlate with conscious experiences. Results from study of brain lesions, application of drugs, and electromagnetic disruption of the function of specific brain regions can be interpreted in combination with results from brain scans.

Cognitive therapy

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." Aristotle

Reading

References

  1. Neural correlates of the visual vertical meridian asymmetry by Taosheng Liu, David J. Heeger, and Marisa Carrasco in Journal of Vision (2007) Volume 6: 1294–1306.
  2. Hierarchical Processing of Auditory Objects in Humans by Sukhbinder Kumar, Klaas E Stephan, Jason D Warren, Karl J Friston and Timothy D Griffithsin in PLoS Comput Biol. (2007) Volume 3:e100.

See also

Wikibooks-logo-en.svg Wikibooks has a book on the topic of Cognitive psychology.
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Wikiversity

Wikipedia

External links


Simple English

Thought is the operation of the brain that allows the "owner" of the brain to solve problems that cannot be solved by instinct. While other animals live mostly by instinct, humans use thought as well as instinct to overcome life's challenges. Without ideas, the world would change slower and less dramatically, in general. Consider a simple example: beavers build dams, humans build skyscrapers.

Contents

Philosophy

Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness and their relationship to the physical body, particularly the brain. The mind-body problem, i.e. the relationship of the mind to the body, is commonly seen as the central issue in philosophy of mind, although there are other issues that have to do with the nature of the mind that do not involve its relation to the real (solid) body.[1]

The mind-body problem

The mind-body problem has to do with the explanation of the relationship that exists between minds, or mental processes, and bodily states or processes.[1] The main aim of philosophers working in this area is to determine the nature of the mind and mental states/processes, and how—or even if—minds are affected by and can affect the body.

Our perceptual experiences depend on stimuli which arrive at our various sensory organs from the external world and these stimuli cause changes in our mental states, ultimately causing us to feel a sensation, which may be pleasant or unpleasant. Someone's desire for a hat, for example, will tend to cause that person to move his or her body in a specific manner and in a specific direction to obtain what he or she wants. The question, then, is how it can be possible for conscious experiences to arise out of a lump of gray matter endowed with nothing but electrochemical properties. A related problem is to explain how someone's propositional attitudes (e.g. beliefs and desires) can cause that individual's neurons to fire and his muscles to contract in exactly the correct manner. These comprise some of the puzzles that have confronted epistemologists and philosophers of mind from at least the time of René Descartes.[2]

References

  • Eric Baum (2004). What is Thought, Chapter Two: The Mind is a Computer Program. MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-02548-5
  1. 1.0 1.1 Kim, J. (1995). Honderich, Ted. ed. Problems in the Philosophy of Mind. Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 
  2. Companion to Metaphysics, By Jaegwon Kim, Gary S. Rosenkrantz, Ernest Sosa, Contributor Jaegwon Kim, Edition: 2, Published by Wiley-Blackwell, 2009, ISBN 1-4051-5298-2, 9781405152983

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