The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to thought (thinking):
Thought (also called thinking) - the mental process in which beings form psychological associations and models of the world. Thinking is manipulating information, as when we form concepts, engage in problem solving, reason and make decisions. Thought, the act of thinking, produces thoughts. A thought may be an idea, an image, a sound or even an emotional feeling that arises from the brain.
Nature of thought
Thought (or thinking) can be described as all of the following:
- An activity taking place in a:
- brain - organ that serves as the center of the nervous system in all vertebrate and most invertebrate animals (only a few invertebrates such as sponges, jellyfish, adult sea squirts and starfish do not have a brain). It is the physical structure associated with the mind.
- computer (see § Machine thought below) - general purpose device that can be programmed to carry out a set of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Since a sequence of operations (an algorithm) can be readily changed, the computer can solve more than one kind of problem.
- An activity of intelligence - intelligence is the intellectual prowess of which is marked by cognition, motivation, and self-awareness. Through intelligence, living creatures possess the cognitive abilities to learn, form concepts, understand, apply logic, and reason, including the capacities to recognize patterns, comprehend ideas, plan, problem solve, make decisions, retaining, and use language to communicate. Intelligence enables living creatures to experience and think.
- A type of mental process - something that individuals can do with their minds. Mental processes include perception, memory, thinking, volition, and emotion. Sometimes the term cognitive function is used instead.
- Thought as a biological adaptation mechanism
Types of thoughts
Content of thoughts
Types of thought (thinking)
Listed below are types of thought, also known as thinking processes.
Classifications of thought
Emotional intelligence (emotionally based thinking)
- Problem solving steps
- Process of elimination
- Systems thinking
- Problem-solving strategy - steps one would use to find the problem(s) that are in the way to getting to one's own goal. Some would refer to this as the 'problem-solving cycle' (Bransford & Stein, 1993). In this cycle one will recognize the problem, define the problem, develop a strategy to fix the problem, organize the knowledge of the problem cycle, figure-out the resources at the user's disposal, monitor one's progress, and evaluate the solution for accuracy.
- Abstraction - solving the problem in a model of the system before applying it to the real system
- Analogy - using a solution that solves an analogous problem
- Brainstorming - (especially among groups of people) suggesting a large number of solutions or ideas and combining and developing them until an optimum solution is found
- Divide and conquer - breaking down a large, complex problem into smaller, solvable problems
- Hypothesis testing - assuming a possible explanation to the problem and trying to prove (or, in some contexts, disprove) the assumption
- Lateral thinking - approaching solutions indirectly and creatively
- Means-ends analysis - choosing an action at each step to move closer to the goal
- Method of focal objects - synthesizing seemingly non-matching characteristics of different objects into something new
- Morphological analysis - assessing the output and interactions of an entire system
- Proof - try to prove that the problem cannot be solved. The point where the proof fails will be the starting point for solving it
- Reduction - transforming the problem into another problem for which solutions exist
- Research - employing existing ideas or adapting existing solutions to similar problems
- Root cause analysis - identifying the cause of a problem
- Trial-and-error - testing possible solutions until the right one is found
- Troubleshooting -
- Problem-solving methodology
- Abstract thinking
- Adaptive reasoning
- Analogical reasoning
- Analytic reasoning
- Case-based reasoning
- Critical thinking
- Defeasible reasoning - from authority: if p then (defeasibly) q
- Diagrammatic reasoning - reasoning by means of visual representations. Visualizing concepts and ideas with of diagrams and imagery instead of by linguistic or algebraic means
- Emotional reasoning (erroneous) - a cognitive distortion in which emotion overpowers reason, to the point the subject is unwilling or unable to accept the reality of a situation because of it.
- Fallacious reasoning (erroneous) - logical errors
- Historical thinking
- Intuitive reasoning
- Lateral thinking
- Logic / Logical reasoning
- Abductive reasoning - from data and theory: p and q are correlated, and q is sufficient for p; hence, if p then (abducibly) q as cause
- Deductive reasoning - from meaning postulate, axiom, or contingent assertion: if p then q (i.e., q or not-p)
- Inductive reasoning - theory formation; from data, coherence, simplicity, and confirmation: (inducibly) "if p then q"; hence, if p then (deducibly-but-revisably) q
- Moral reasoning - process in which an individual tries to determine the difference between what is right and what is wrong in a personal situation by using logic. This is an important and often daily process that people use in an attempt to do the right thing. Every day for instance, people are faced with the dilemma of whether or not to lie in a given situation. People make this decision by reasoning the morality of the action and weighing that against its consequences.
- Probabilistic reasoning - from combinatorics and indifference: if p then (probably) q
- Proportional reasoning - using "the concept of proportions when analyzing and solving a mathematical situation."
- Rational thinking
- Statistical reasoning - from data and presumption: the frequency of qs among ps is high (or inference from a model fit to data); hence, (in the right context) if p then (probably) q
- Synthetic reasoning
- Verbal reasoning - understanding and reasoning using concepts framed in words
- Visual reasoning - process of manipulating one's mental image of an object in order to reach a certain conclusion - for example, mentally constructing a piece of machinery to experiment with different mechanisms
Organizational thought (thinking by organizations)
Aspects of the thinker
Aspects of the thinker which may affect (help or hamper) his or her thinking:
Properties of thought
Fields that study thought
Thought tools and thought research
History of thinking
History of reasoning
Nootropics (cognitive enhancers and smart drugs)
Substances that improve mental performance:
Organizational thinking concepts
Teaching methods and skills
Awards for acts of genius
Persons associated with thinking
Scientists in fields that study thought
Scholars of thinking
Awareness and perception
Learning and memory
- ^ Dictionary.com, "mind": "1. (in a human or other conscious being) the element, part, substance, or process that reasons, thinks, feels, wills, perceives, judges, etc.: the processes of the mind. 2. Psychology. the totality of conscious and unconscious mental processes and activities. 3. intellect or understanding, as distinguished from the faculties of feeling and willing; intelligence."
- ^ Google definition, "mind": "The element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness." 
- ^ Tirri, Nokelainen. Measuring Multiple Intelligences and Moral Sensitivities in Education. Springer. ISBN 978-94-6091-758-5.
- ^ Danko Nikoli? (2014). "Practopoiesis: Or how life fosters a mind. arXiv:1402.5332 [q-bio.NC].".
- ^ "Definition of: Moral Reasoning". Retrieved 2011.
- ^ "Dictionary Search > proportional reasoning - Quizlet".
- ^ "History of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy". National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists. Retrieved 2011.