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 process 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.
Neural Network explanation: Thoughts are created by the summation of neural outputs and connections of which vectors form. These vectors describe the magnitude and direction of the connections and action between neurons. The graphs of these vectors can represent a network of neurons whose connections fire in different ways over time as synapses fire. These large thought vectors in the brain cause other vectors of activity. For example: An input from the environment is received by the neural network. The network changes the magnitude and outputs of individual neurons. The altered network outputs the symbols needed to make sense of the input.
Types of thoughts
Concept – Mental representation or an abstract object
Abstract concept – Metaphysics concept covering the divide between two types of entities
Concrete concept – Metaphysics concept covering the divide between two types of entities
Conjecture – Proposition in mathematics that is unproven
Critical systems thinking – systems thinking multimethodology for understanding and designing stakeholder interventionPages displaying wikidata descriptions as a fallback
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 – Process of generalisation – solving the problem in a model of the system before applying it to the real system
Analogy – Cognitive process of transferring information or meaning from a particular subject to another – using a solution that solves an analogous problem
Brainstorming – Group creativity technique – (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 – Process of understanding a complex topic or substance – breaking down a large, complex problem into smaller, solvable problems
Hypothesis testing – Method of statistical inferencePages displaying short descriptions of redirect targets – assuming a possible explanation to the problem and trying to prove (or, in some contexts, disprove) the assumption
Lateral thinking – Manner of solving problems – approaching solutions indirectly and creatively
Means-ends analysis – Problem solving techniquePages displaying short descriptions of redirect targets – choosing an action at each step to move closer to the goal
Morphological analysis – Exploration of possible solutions – assessing the output and interactions of an entire system
Proof – Sufficient evidence/argument for truth – try to prove that the problem cannot be solved. The point where the proof fails will be the starting point for solving it
Reduction – transformation of one computational problem to another, used to show that the second problem is as difficult as the firstPages displaying wikidata descriptions as a fallback – transforming the problem into another problem for which solutions exist
Research – Systematic study undertaken to increase knowledge – employing existing ideas or adapting existing solutions to similar problems
Root cause analysis – Method of identifying the fundamental causes of faults or problems – identifying the cause of a problem
Defeasible reasoning – Reasoning that is rationally compelling, though not deductively valid – from authority: if p then (defeasibly) q
Diagrammatic reasoning – reasoning by the mean of visual representationsPages displaying wikidata descriptions as a fallback – reasoning by means of visual representations. Visualizing concepts and ideas with of diagrams and imagery instead of by linguistic or algebraic means
Emotional reasoning – a cognitive process by which one's own emotional reaction is used to prove something is truePages displaying wikidata descriptions as a fallback (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 – Argument that uses faulty reasoningPages displaying short descriptions of redirect targets (erroneous) – logical errors
Heuristic – Problem-solving method that is sufficient for immediate solutions or approximationss
Abductive reasoning – Form of logical inference which seeks the simplest and most likely explanation – 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 – Form of reasoning – from meaning postulate, axiom, or contingent assertion: if p then q (i.e., q or not-p)
Inductive reasoning – Method of logical reasoning – theory formation; from data, coherence, simplicity, and confirmation: (inducibly) "if p then q"; hence, if p then (deducibly-but-revisably) q
Moral reasoning – Study in psychology that overlaps with moral philosophy – 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 – use of probability and logic to deal with uncertain situationsPages displaying wikidata descriptions as a fallback – from combinatorics and indifference: if p then (probably) q
Rational thinking – Quality of being agreeable to reasonPages displaying short descriptions of redirect targets
Semiosis – sign processPages displaying wikidata descriptions as a fallback
Statistical reasoning – Study of the collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of dataPages displaying short descriptions of redirect targets – 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 – Semantic distinction in philosophyPages displaying short descriptions of redirect targets
Verbal reasoning – understanding and reasoning using concepts framed in wordsPages displaying wikidata descriptions as a fallback – 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
Qualitative reasoning – automated reasoning about continuous aspects of the physical world, such as space, time, and quantity, for the purpose of problem solving and planning using qualitative rather than quantitative information
^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."