How to write an essay – Thinking as a concept in psychology

Thinking is a psychological-cognitive process of reflecting complex connections in the human mind and the relationship between objects and phenomena of the surrounding world. The task of thinking is the disclosure of relations between objects, the identification of ties, and the separation of them from accidental coincidences. Thinking operates with concepts and assumes the functions of generalization and planning. The concept of thinking is the higher cognitive process, which essentially distinguishes it from other processes that help people to orient themselves in the environment since in this concept all the cognitive processes are traced. Thinking is a process, and complex, proceeding in the mind of man and possible without manifestation of visible actions.

The difference between thinking and other mental processes of cognition is that it is always associated with an active change in the conditions in which a person is. Thinking is always aimed at solving a problem. In the process of thinking, a purposeful and expedient transformation of reality takes place. The process of thinking is continuous and proceeds throughout life, transforming along the way, in connection with the influences of such factors as age, social status, and stability of the habitat. The peculiarity of thinking is its indirect character. What a person cannot know directly, he knows indirectly. Thinking is distinguished by types, processes, and operations. The notion of intellect is inextricably linked with the concept of thinking. Intellect is a common ability to cognize and solve problems without trial and error. Intellect is considered as the level of mental development reached by a certain age, which manifests itself in the stability of cognitive functions, as well as in the degree of mastering of skills and knowledge. Intellect as an integral part of thinking, its component, and a generalizing concept.

Thinking as a concept in psychology

When looking for examples on how to write an essay about thinking, it’d be good to discuss thinking as a concept in psychology.

In the process of thinking and perception, a person perceives the world around him as a result of his direct, sensual reflection, and this concept is interpreted as thinking. Thinking is the process of reflecting reality in the human mind through the synthesis and analysis of all cognitive processes. In practice, thinking as a separate mental process does not exist, it is present in all cognitive processes: in perception, attention, imagination, memory, speech.

Thinking is a single mental cognitive process, but it is realized with the help of a number of subprocesses, each of which is an independent and, at the same time, integrated with other cognitive forms. The higher forms of these processes are necessarily connected with thinking, and the degree of its participation determines the level of their development. No regularity can be perceived directly by the senses. An example is any conscious human activity – looking out the window we can say that the wet roof or puddles mans that it was raining; standing at the traffic light, we expect green light, as we realize that this signal serves as a motivation for action. In either case, we perform a thought process, i.e. we reflect the essential connections between the phenomena by comparing the facts.

For cognition, it is not enough just to notice the connection between phenomena, it is necessary to establish that this relationship is a common property of things. According to this generalized basis, a person solves specific problems. Thinking gives an answer to questions that cannot be obtained by the simplest sensory reflection. Through thinking, people correctly orient themselves in the world around them, using previously obtained generalizations in a new, concrete setting. Human activity is reasonable due to the knowledge of laws, the interconnections of objective reality. The main task with which the thought process begins is the formulation of the problem and the determination of the ways to solve it. In order to solve the problem as a result of the thought process, it is necessary to arrive at a more adequate cognition. To such an increasingly adequate knowledge of its subject and the solution of the task confronting it, thinking proceeds through a variety of operations that constitute various interrelated and mutually transient aspects of the thinking process.

The establishment of universal relationships, the generalization of the properties of a homogeneous group of phenomena, the understanding of the essence of a concrete phenomenon as a variety of a certain class of phenomena is such an essence of human thinking. The definition of thinking most often includes the following signs:
  • The mental process that provides the orientation of the subject in intersubject communications and relationships, by exposing objects to each other, by using tools and means of measurement, and by incorporating signs and symbols into the organization of thinking.
  • The process, initially arising on the basis of practical actions and directly-sensory cognition.
  • The process, as it develops, goes beyond the limits of practical action.
  • The process, the result of which is a generalized reflection of reality on the basis of intersubject communications and relationships.
  • A process that always proceeds with reliance on existing knowledge.
  • It comes from living contemplation, but it does not boil down to it.
  • The process is connected with the practical activity of a person.

All the above points are directly related and more clearly understood when considering such structural units as types of thinking.

Types of thinking

Talking about types of thinking is very important if you want to know how to write an essay on thinking. In psychology, there is a somewhat conditional classification of types of thinking according to these principles:
  • The genesis of development
  • The nature of the tasks being solved
  • The degree of deployment
  • The degree of novelty and originality
  • Means of thinking
  • Functions of thinking, etc.

The genesis of development

According to the genesis of development, there are the following kinds of thinking:
  • Visual and effective
  • Visual- figurative
  • Verbal-logical
  • Abstract-logical

Visual and effective thinking is a kind of thinking based on direct perception of objects in the process of dealing with them. This thinking is the most elementary kind of thinking that arises in practical activities and is the basis for the formation of more complex kinds of thinking.

Visual-figurative thinking is a kind of thinking characterized by reliance on representations and images. With visual-figurative thinking, the situation is transformed in terms of image or presentation.

Verbal-logical thinking is a kind of thinking that help logical operations with concepts. With verbal-logical thinking, in terms of logical concepts, a subject can cognize significant regularities and unobservable relationships of the reality under investigation.

Abstract-logical (abstract) thinking is a kind of thinking based on the isolation of the essential properties and connections of the object and distraction from other, inessential.

The nature of the tasks being solved

According to the nature of the tasks being solved, there are the following kinds of thinking:
  • Theoretical
  • Practical

Theoretical thinking is the thinking based on theoretical reasoning. Practical thinking is based on the basis of judgments and inferences founded on solving practical problems. Theoretical thinking is the knowledge of laws and rules. The main task of practical thinking is the development of means of practical transformation reality: setting goals, creating a plan, project, scheme.

The degree of deployment

According to the degree of deployment, the thinking can be:
  • Discursive
  • Intuitive

Discursive (analytical) thinking is thinking, mediated with the logic of reasoning, not perception. Analytical thinking is deployed in time, has clearly expressed stages, is represented in the mind of the thinking person. Intuitive thinking is the thinking based on direct sensory perceptions and direct reflection effects of objects and phenomena of the objective world. Intuitive thinking is characterized by rapidity of flow, the absence of clearly defined stages, and is minimally conscious.

The degree of novelty and originality

According to the degree of novelty and originality, thinking can be:
  • Reproductive
  • Productive (creative)

Reproductive thinking is based on images and representations gleaned from some specific sources. Productive thinking is based on creative imagination.

Means of thinking

According to the means of thinking, thinking can be:
  • Verbal
  • Visual

Visual thinking is based on images and representations subjects. Verbal thinking is thinking, operating with abstract sign structures. It is established that for a full-fledged mental work, one person needs to see or represent objects, others prefer to operate abstract sign structures.

Functions of thinking

According to the functions, thinking can be:
  • Critical
  • Creative

Critical thinking is aimed at identifying shortcomings in judgments of other people. Creative thinking is associated with the discovery in principle new knowledge, with the generation of their own original ideas, and not with evaluation other people’s thoughts.

Basic thinking operations

Human thought activity is a solution to a variety of thought problems aimed at revealing the essence of something. A thought operation is one of the ways of thinking activity, through which a person solves mental problems.

Analysis is the mental division of objects, objects or situations to distinguish components; mental isolation from the whole of its sides, actions, relationships. It should be noted that to induce this operation it is possible as a division of the original concept into parts, and the source material can be a part of some concept, making mental operations over which one can come to the solution of the problem.
Synthesis is the inverse of the analysis of the operation under which the whole is restored, the connections and regularities are found, the parts, properties, actions, relationships are combined into one.

Analysis and synthesis in thinking are interrelated. These operations were formed in the practical activities of man. In labor activity people constantly interact with objects and phenomena. Practical mastering of them led to the formation of mental operations of analysis and synthesis. Analysis and synthesis, as a rule, are in unity, one without the other is not possible by definition. It is precisely these patterns that classify thinking as the most complex process of cognition, which proceeds unconsciously, is prompted by situations and depends on such aspects as genetic information and the philosophy of a person’s worldview.

Abstraction is a process of mental abstraction from certain features, aspects of a particular, the isolation of any single feature. This is the isolation of any aspect or aspect of the phenomenon, which in reality as independent do not exist. It is carried out on the basis of analysis, synthesis and comparison operations. The result of this operation is often the formation of concepts.

The generalization is the rejection of individual features, while preserving the common, with the disclosure of essential links. There is a connection with a class of objects and phenomena, allows you to operate not by individual objects, but by their specific classes; to fix ways to achieve goals; to replace the knowledge of a multitude of cases with the knowledge of one principle.

Forms of thinking

Cognition of reality, and its objective reflection, is a complex multi-level process, one of the structural units of which is the concept. The results of cognitive activity of people are fixed in the form of concepts. To know an object is to reveal its essence.

The concept is a reflection of the essential attributes and properties of objects and phenomena. In this case, the unique characteristics of each phenomenon are gathered together, synthesized. To understand this process, to display, it is necessary to study the subject thoroughly, to establish its connections with other objects. The concept of an object arises from many judgments and inferences about it. The formation of concepts is the result of a long, complex and active mental, communicative and practical activity of people, the process of their thinking. The concept is an acquired finite characteristic, even abstract or generalized. When a new concept occurs, its assimilation takes place. To master the concept is to understand its content, to be able to distinguish essential features, to know its boundaries (volume), its place among other concepts in order not to be confused with similar concepts; to be able to use this concept in cognitive and practical activities.

Another method of thinking is called inference. Inference is the deduction of a subjectively new proposition from already known judgments that are currently available in the social and historical experience of mankind and the personal practical experience of the subject of mental activity. Inference as a form of obtaining knowledge is possible only if the laws of logic are observed. Inferences are inductive, deductive, and analogous.

Judgment is a form of thinking reflecting objects of reality in their connections and relationships. Every proposition is a separate thought about something. Judgments are formed in two main ways:
  • Directly, when they express what is perceived in them
  • Indirectly – by inference or reasoning
Judgments can be:
  • True
  • False
  • Common
  • Private
  • Single

Now you know how to write an essay on thinking in a professional way.

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