Neuroscience

If you can remember it, you can remember it wrong

(Medical Xpress)—Native peoples in regions where cameras are uncommon sometimes react with caution when their picture is taken. The fear that something must have been stolen from them to create the photo is often inescapable. ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Exploring the neural underpinnings of mind wandering

Mind wandering occurs when a person's attention shifts from things that are happening in her present environment to internal thought processes. For instance, while cooking or attending a lesson, one might start thinking about ...

Neuroscience

Another step toward creating brain-reading technology

A team of researchers at the University of California's Department of Neurological Surgery and the Center for Integrative Neuroscience in San Francisco has taken another step toward the development of a device able to read ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Probing how Americans think about mental life

When Stanford researchers asked people to think about the sensations and emotions of inanimate or non-human entities, they got a glimpse into how those people think about mental life.

Psychology & Psychiatry

Research shows seven-year-olds can think strategically

(Medical Xpress)—A study by Melissa Koenig of the University of Minnesota and colleagues shows that by the time they reach the age of seven, children can think strategically, in an adult manner. The researchers found that ...

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Mind

The concept of mind ( /ˈmaɪnd/) is understood in many different ways by many different traditions, ranging from panpsychism and animism to traditional and organized religious views, as well as secular and materialist philosophies. Most agree that minds are constituted by conscious experience and intelligent thought. Common attributes of mind include perception, reason, imagination, memory, emotion, attention, and a capacity for communication. A rich set of unconscious processes are also included in many modern characterizations of mind.

Theories of mind and its function are numerous. Earliest recorded speculations are from the likes of Zoroaster, the Buddha, Plato, Aristotle, and other ancient Greek, Indian and, later, Islamic and medieval European philosophers. Pre-modern understandings of the mind, such as the neoplatonic "nous" saw it as an aspect of the soul, in the sense of being both divine and immortal, linking human thinking with the un-changing ordering principle of the cosmos itself.

Which attributes make up the mind is much debated. Some psychologists argue that only the "higher" intellectual functions constitute mind, particularly reason and memory. In this view the emotions—love, hate, fear, joy—are more primitive or subjective in nature and should be seen as different from the mind as such. Others argue that various rational and emotional states cannot be so separated, that they are of the same nature and origin, and should therefore be considered all part of what we call the mind.

In popular usage mind is frequently synonymous with thought: the private conversation with ourselves that we carry on "inside our heads." Thus we "make up our minds," "change our minds" or are "of two minds" about something. One of the key attributes of the mind in this sense is that it is a private sphere to which no one but the owner has access. No one else can "know our mind." They can only interpret what we consciously or unconsciously communicate.

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