Thinking and Intelligence February 4, 2014
When we think of thinking – which psychological perspective might we MOST think it
Thought: Elements of Cognition
• A mental category that groups objects, relations, activities, abstractions, or
qualities having common properties.
• Basic concepts: concepts tat have a moderate number of instances and that are
easier to acquire than those having few or many instances.
• Prototype: an especially representative example of a concept.
• Proposition: A unit of meaning that is made up of concepts and expresses a single
• Cognitive schemas: Integrated mental network of knowledge, beliefs, and
expectations concerning a particular topic or aspect of the world
• Mental images: Mental representation that mirrors or resembles the thing it
represents (occur in most sensory modalities)
How Conscious is Thought?
• Mental processes occurring outside of conscious awareness but accessible to
consciousness when necessary (e.g., driving a car)
• Mental processes occurring outside of and not available to conscious awareness
(e.g., getting the milk out of the fridge).
Types of Nonconscious Processes
• Learning that occurs when you acquire knowledge about something without being
aware of how you did so and without being able to state exactly what it is you
• Mental inflexibility, inertia and obliviousness to the present context.
Reasoning: Drawing conclusions or inferences from observations, facts, or assumptions.
Formal reasoning problems: problems solved using established methods (algorithms
and logic) usually a single correct solution.
Informal reasoning problems: there is often no clearly correct solution.
Deductive Reasoning • When a conclusion follows necessarily from certain premises
• If premises true, conclusion must be true
Examples: all men are mortal. Joe is a man. Therefore Joe is mortal.
Bachelor’s are unmarried men. Bill is unmarried. Therefor