Form an idea of . . . . Form or have in mind as an intention, an opinion . . . . Expectation . . . . Implies the use of one's powers of conception, judgment, or inference . . . . Regard, Anticipate, Consider, Reflect on, Ponder, Determine by reflecting, Devise, To call to mind: Remember . . . . The entrance of an idea into one's mind with or without deliberate consideration or reflection . . . . May apply to any mental activity, but used alone often suggests attainment of clear ideas or conclusions
[From Coon, Introduction to Psychology, Exploration and Application]: Thinking
Thinking (or cognition) refers to the mental manipulation of images, concepts, words, rules, symbols, and precepts. It involves attention, pattern recognition, memory, decision making, intuition, knowledge, and more. Images, muscular responses, concepts, and language or symbol are the basic units of thought. It takes many forms, including daydreaming, fantasizing, problem solving. In cognitive psychology the "computer" is the brain, and thinking is the "programming" we seek in understanding, and reasoning (to name but a few). For all their raw power, computers are only able to plan 5 or 6 moves in advance (by considering over 1 billion possibilities). They don't make mistakes in the short run, but they can be beaten by strategy and foresight. In cognitive psychology the "computer" is the brain, and thinking is the "programming" we seek to understand.
Internal representation. At its most basic, thinking is the internal representation of a problem or situation--a chess player who mentally tries out several possible moves before actually touching a chess piece.
Insight. Insight is a sudden mental reorganization of the elements of a problem that makes the solution obvious. Chimps are capable of using sticks to get at increasingly longer sticks in order to get at a bannana.
BASIC UNITS OF THOUGHT. can all be combined in complex thinking. :
l. Images. Most often, a mental representation that has picture-like qualities; an icon.
2. Muscular responses. Internal representations of events in terms of generated, remembered, or imagined muscular sensations.
3. Concepts. A generalized idea representing a category or class of objects or events grouped together on some basis.
4. Language or symbols. A body of words, or symbols, and rules for combining them that is used for communication and thought and is understood by a sizeable community.
MENTAL IMAGERY. Images may involve different senses. A survey of 500 people found that 97 percent have visual images, 92 percent have auditory images, over 50 percent have imagery that included movement, touch, taste, smell, and pain. Most people use images to think and to solve problems.
Synesthesia. Images cross normal sensory barriers. Individual listening to music may experience a burst of colors or tastes as well as sound sensations.
Mentally rotate. Mental images are not necessarily flat, and they can be moved about as needed.
Stored images. They can be used to bring prior experience to bear on problem solving. You might begin by picturing all the uses you have already seen to answere: "How many uses can you think of for an old automobile tire?"
Created images. Used to generate more original solutions. People who have good imaging ability tend to score higher on tests of creativity. A sculptor may completely picture a proposed sculpture before beginning work.
Size of imagery. Picturing things at oversized scale aids in knowing the details.
Muscular imagery. We think with our bodies. We often represent things in a kind of muscular imagery created by actions or implicit (unexpressed ) actions. People who "talk" with their hands are using gestures to help themselves think as well as to communicate. A great deal of information is contained in kinesthetic sensations (feelings from the muscles and joints). As a person talks, these sensations help structure the flow of ideas (Horowitz, 1970). It is impossible not to demonstrate when attempting to describe some things.
Micromovements. Most thinking is accompanied by muscualar tension and micromovements throughout the body. When a subject was asked to imagine that he was hitting a nail with a hammer a burst of activity was recorded in the muscles of the unmoving arm. Ask someone to describe an event and you will probably get an "instant replay."
Concept is an idea that represents a class of objects or events. They are powerful tools because they allow us to think more abstractly, free from distracting details.
Concept formation. It is the process of classifying information into meaningful categories. At its most basic, concept formation involves experience with positive and negative instances of the concept (learning range in size of "dog" and "cat" categories). Adults more often acquire concepts by learning or forming rules. For example, a triangle must be a closed shape with three sides made of straight lines. Rule learning is generally more efficient than examples, but examples remain important. It is unlikely that memorizing a series of rules would allow an uninitiated listener to accurately categorize punk, new wave, fusion, salsa, heavy metal, and rap music.
Types of concepts:
Conjunctive concept. It refers to a class of objects having more than one feature in common. Sometimes called "and" concepts: To belong to the concept class, an item must have "This feature and this feature and this feature" For example, a motorcycle must have two wheels and an engine and handle bars.
Relational concepts. They classify objects on the basis of their relationship to something else or by the relationship between features of an object. Larger, above, left, north, and upside down are all relaitonal concepts. Another example is sister, which is defined as "a female considered in her relation to another person having the same parents."
Disjunctive concepts. These refer to objects that have at least one of several possible features. These are "either-or concepts." To belong, an item must have "this feature or that feature or another feature." In the game of baseball, a strike is either a swing and a miss or a pitch down the middle or a foul ball. The either-or quality of disjunctive concepts makes them difficult to learn.
Prototypes. In addition to rules and features, most people also use prototypes, or ideal models, to identify concepts. A robin, for instance, is a model bird, whereas an ostrich is not. What this tells us is that not all examples of a concept are equally representative. How do we know when the line is crossed from tall cup to vase? Probably we mentally compare objects to an "ideal" cup. The upshot is taht identifying concepts is difficult when we cannot come up with a prototype relevant to what we see.
Concepts have two types of meaning:
Denotative meaning. The denotative meaning of a word or concept is its exact definition.
Connotative meaning. It is its emotional or personal meaning. Connotations of some one thing can differ.
Osgood's Semantic differential. Method used to measure connotative meaning. When words or concepts are rated on a series of scales, most of their connotative meaning boils down to the dimensions good-bad, strong-weak, and active-passive. Because concepts vary on these dimensions, words or phrases with roughly the same denotative meaning may have very different connotations. For example, I am conscientious; you are careful; he is nit-picking!
Rate this word: JAZZ
Rounded - Angular
Strong - Weak
Smooth - Rough
Passive - Active
Large - Small
Hot - Cold
Bad - Good
Relaxed - Tense
Dry - Wet
Stale - Fresh
Thinking Modes - Thinking (or cognition) refers to the mental manipulation of images, concepts, words, rules, symbols, and precepts. It involves attention, pattern recognition, memory, decision making, intuition, knowledge, and more. Images, muscular responses, concepts, and language or symbol are the basic units of thought. It takes many forms, including daydreaming, fantasizing, problem solving . . . . In addition to thinking that is mechanical, insightful, or based on understanding, we can add that thought may be:
Inductive (going from specific facts or observations to general principles) or deductive (going from general principles to specific situations), logical (proceeding from given information to new conclusions on the basis of explicit rules) or illogical (intuitive, associative, or personal). Creative thinking involves all these styles of thought (in varying combinations) plus fluency, flexibility, and originality (Guilford, 1950). The creativity of your suggestions could be rated in this way (By totaling the number of times you showed fluency, flexibility, and originality, we could rate the creativity of your thinking on this problem--speaking more generally, we would be rating your capacity for divergent thinking (Wallach, 1985):
Fluency is defined as the total number of suggestions you are able to make.
Flexibility is defined as the number of times you shift from one class of possible uses to another.
Originality refers to how novel or unusual your suggestions are.
Divergent Thought. Thinking that produces many ideas or alternatives; a major element in original or creative thought. It is the most widely used measure of creative problem solving. Many possibilites are developed from one starting point.
Convergent Thought. Thinking directed toward discoveryof a single established correct answer; conventional thinking. In routine problem solving or thinking, there is one correct answer, and the problem is to find it. This leads to convergent thought (lines of tought converge on the correct answer).
[Coon, Dennis. Introduction to Psychology, Exploration and Application. St. Paul: West Publishing Company, 1989. Chapter: Learning & Cognition]
R E F E R E N C E S
Thought n [ME, fr. OE th÷ht; akin to OE thencan to think -more at Think] [bef. 12c] 1a: the action or process of thinking: Cogitation b: serious consideration: Regard c archaic: Recollection, Rememberance 2a: reasoning power b: the power to imagine: Conception 3: something that is thought: as a: an individual act or product of thinking b: a developed intention or plan [had no __ of leaving home] c: something [as an opinion or belief] in the mind [he spoke his __s freely] d: the intellectual product or the organized views and principles of a period, place, group, or individual [contemporary Western __]
-syn. see Idea -a thought: a little; somewhat [a thought too much vinegar in the dressing]
Thoughtful adj [13c] 1a: absorbed in thought: Meditative b: characterized by careful reasoned thinking 2a: having thoughts: Heedful [became __ about religion] b: given to or chosen or made with heedful anticipation of the needs and wants of others
Thoughtless adj  1a: insufficiently alert: Careless b: Reckless, Rash 2: devoid of thought: Insensate 3: lacking concern for others: Inconsiderate
Think vb [ME thenken, fr. OE thencan; akin to OHG denken to think, L tongÚre to know -more at Thanks] vt [bef. 12c] 1: to form or have in the mind 2: to have as an intention [thought to return early] 3a: to have as an opinion [__ it's so] b: to regard as: Consider [__ the rule unfair] 4a: to reflect on: Ponder [__ the matter over] b: to determine by reflecting [__ what to do next] 5: to call to mind: Remember [he never __s to ask how we do] 6: to devise by thinking -usu. used with up [thought up a plan to escape] 7: to have as an expectation: Anticipate [we didn't __ we'd have any trouble] 8a: to center one's thoughts on [talks and __s business] b: to form a mental picture of 9: to subject to the processes of logical thought [__ things out] -vi 1a: to exercise the powers of judgment, conception, or inference: Reason b: to have in the mind or call to mind a thought 2a: to have the mind engaged in reflection: Meditate b: to consider the suitability [thought of her for president] 3: to have a view or opinion [__s of himself as a poet] 4: to have concern -usu. used with of [a man must __ first of his family] 5: to consider something likely: Suspect [may happen sooner than you __] think better of: to reconsider and make a wiser decision -think much of: to view with satisfaction: Approve -usu. used in negative constructions [I didn't think much of the new car] -Syn. Think, Conceive, Imagine, Fancy, Realize, Envisage, Envision mean to form an idea of. Think implies the entrance of an idea into oneÍs mind with or without deliberate consideration or reflection [I just thought of a good joke]. Conceive suggests the forming and bringing forth and usu. developing of an idea, plan, or design [conceived of a new marketing approach]. Imagine stresses a visualization [imagine youÍre at the beach]. Fancy suggests an imagining often unrestrained by reality but spurred by desires [fancied himself a super athlete]. Realize stresses a grasping of the significance of what is conceived or imaginaed [realized the enormity of the task ahead]. Envisage and Envision imply a conceiving or imagining that is esp. clear or detailed [envisaged a totally computerized operation] [envisioned a cure for the disease]. -Syn. Think, Cogitate, Reflect, Reason, Speculate, Deliberate mean to use one's powers of conception, judgment, or inference. Think is general and may apply to any mental activity, but used alone often suggests attainment of clear ideas or conclusions [teaches students how to think]. Cogitate implies deep or intent thinking [cogitated on the mysteries of nature]. Reflect suggests unhurried consideration of something recalled to the mind [reflecting on fifty years of married life]. Reason stresses consecutive logical thinking [able to reason brilliantly in dabate]. Speculate implies reasoning about things theoretical or problematic [specculated on the fate of the lost explorers]. Deliberate suggests slow or careful reasoning before forming an opinion or reaching a conclusion or decision [the jury deliberated for five hours].
2 Think n : an act of thinking [has another __ coming]
3 Think adj : relating to, requiring, or stimulating thinking
Thinkable adj  1: capable of being comprehended or reasoned about [the ultimate nature of Deity is scarcely __] 2: conceivably possible
1 Thinking n [14c] 1: the action of using one's mind to produce thoughts 2a: Opinion, Judgment [I'd like to know your __ on this] b: thought that is characteristic [as of a period, group, or person] [the current student __ on fraternities]
2 Thinking adj : marked by use of the intellect: Rational [__ citizens]
[Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th Edition. Springfield, MA, USA: Merriam-Webster, Inc. 1995.]
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