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Thinking is the Process of Reflection of Objective Reality

The psyche is complex and diverse in its manifestations. There are three main groups of mental phenomena: mental (cognitive) processes, mental states, and mental properties (Macgillivray, 1994). Cognitive process is a dynamic reflection of reality in different forms of psychic phenomena. Cognitive process is for mental phenomena, which has a beginning and end of development, manifested in the form of reaction. It should be borne in mind that the end of the cognitive process is closely connected with the beginning of a new process. Hence the continuity of mental activity in waking man. Cognitive processes are caused by both external influences and stimulation of the nervous system, coming from the internal environment.

Cognitive processes ensure the formation of knowledge and the primary regulation of behavior and human activity. In a complex mental activity, the various processes are connected and form a single stream of consciousness that provides an adequate reflection of reality and the implementation of various activities. Cognitive processes occur with different speed and intensity depending on the characteristics of external influences and individual states (Harris, 1999).

The cognitive processes are the processes that are conditionally selected in the whole structure of the psyche. The allocation of cognitive processes is especially conditional division of the psyche into its constituent elements, which appeared due to a significant impact on the mechanistic view of scientists, psychologists in the period of scientific psychology; this selection can be associated with analytical tendencies in the science of the 19th – early 20th century.

In modern psychology it is assumed that mental processes are closely interrelated and are even merged into a single holistic process called “psyche”. The division of consciousness on the cognitive processes is conventionally, it has no theoretical justification. Currently, the science is developing an integrative approach to the psyche, and the classification of mental processes has rather pedagogical and propaedeutical value, descending on the development of science (Robertsona, 1996).

The interconnection of cognitive processes can be expressed in the fact that, for example, perception is impossible without memory, memorization is impossible without a perception, and attention is impossible without thinking.

There are three types of mental processes: cognitive, emotional- motivational and personal characteristics (Lutgendorf, 1997).

Cognitive processes include: sensation, perception, thought, attention, memory, imagination, speech. Emotional-motivational include: emotions and feelings, states (mood, anxiety, etc.), motivation, will, proactively. Personal characteristics include: character, temperament, motor, intelligence, patience (Longuet-Higgins, 1998).

Sensation is the simplest mental process, which is a reflection of individual mental states and properties of the environment that occurs due to a direct impact on the senses, differentiated perception of internal or external stimuli by the subject with the participation of the nervous system. In psychology, sensation is the first stage of a number of biochemical and neurological processes that begins with exposure of the environmental on the receptors of sensory organ and then leads to the perception or recognition.

Sensation divides in type according to the position of receptor – exteroceptive, interoceptive and proprioceptive; according to the leading analyzer – sensory experience; and according to the interaction of receptors with stimuli – contact and distant.

Generally there are 11 kinds of human feelings, which reach the brain in the form of nerve impulses. The first group includes distant sensations: 1) vision 2) hearing and 3) the sense of smell; the second group consists of contact sensations: 4) tactile 5) the temperature and 6) taste 7) pallesthesia and 8) pain sensitivity; and the third group includes sensations to the body itself. These are sensations which are the reflection of the processes which are going on inside of the body: 9) Vestibular 10) Muscle (kinesthetic/ dynamic / musculoskeletal / proprioception) and 11) interoceptive sensations/ interoception.

Perception is a cognitive process that forms the subjective view on the world. It is the psychic process which is the reflection of a subject or its appearance in general along with its influence on reception surfaces of the senses. Perception is one of the biological psychical functions that determined the complex process of accepting and transferring of information. We receive this information with the help of our senses that form the subjective image of an object that affects the analyzers through the complex of feelings, initiated by this object. As a form of sensory reflection of the object, perception includes detection of an object as a whole, differing of single features in an object, allocation of an informative content in it, that is adequate to its goal (aim) of action and forming of a sense image.

Perception is something much more then transferring of neural impulses to determined parts of a brain by a nervous system. Perception also supposes realizing by a subject the facts of stimulating and also some ideas of it, and in order to make it happen, it is necessary to feel the “entrance” of sensor information, in other words to experience the feeling. In other words, perception is a process of comprehension of stimulation of sensor receptors. We can look at a perception as at a task that consists of concentrating on a sensor signal, analysis and interpretation in order to create a comprehensive image of the surrounding world.

The result of perception is an image. The image is a subjective vision of a world, which is taken by senses. After getting an image, a person (or another subject) produces certain situations, in other words evaluates it, and after that he takes a decision about his further behavior.

Thought (thinking) is a mental process that allows beings to be conscious, make decisions, imagine and, in general, operate on symbols in a rational or irrational manner. It is an element/instance of thinking and is used as its synonym (Hoffrage 2000).

Thought is the highest level of human cognition. It allows obtaining knowledge of such objects, properties and relationships of the real world that cannot be directly perceived by the sensory level of cognition. Forms and laws of thought are studied by logic; the mechanisms of its occurrence are studied by psychology and neurophysiology. Cybernetics examines the thought in connection with the problems of modeling of certain cognitive functions.

Thought is a product of new knowledge, the active form of creative reflection and transformation of human reality. Thinking produces such a result, that doesn’t exist in reality. The difference between thinking and other psychological processes is also in the fact that it is almost always associated with the presence of a problem situation, the problem that should be solved, and actively change of the conditions in which this problem is given.

Thinking as opposed to other cognitive processes is performed in accordance with certain logic.

There are several types of thinking (thought):

Theoretical conceptual thinking is thought that person uses in the process of finding a solution; he drawn to the concepts, performs an action in the mind, not dealing directly with the experience obtained through the senses. Theoretical conceptual thinking is common for scientific theoretical research.

Theoretical creative thinking is different because the material that is used by man to solve the problem, are not concepts, judgments or conclusions, but images (author, date). They are either directly retrieved from memory or are created by imagination. Such kind of thought is usually used by people who work with literature, arts; who does creative work, dealing with images.

Clearly – figurative thought is the thought process that is directly related to the perception of reality thinking of person and cannot be performed without him. Thinking clearly-figuratively, a person is tied to reality, and images that are necessary for the thinking are represented in his short-term memory.

Clearly – valid thought is the process that presents a practical transformed activity, undertaken by a person with real objects. This type of thinking is widely represented among people engaged in actual production work, whose result is the creation of a specific tangible product.

Theoretical conceptual and theoretical imagery in fact, both co-exist. They complement each other. Theoretical conceptual thinking gives the exact synthesis of reality; and the theoretical imagery allows receiving a specific subjective perception of it. Without one or another kind of thinking our perception of reality could not be as deep, versatile, accurate and rich, as it actually is now.

The difference between the theoretical and practical modes of thought is that “they are differently associated with the practice” (Sutherland, 2004). The work of practical thinking is mainly aimed at the resolution of specific individual problems, while the work of theoretical thinking is mainly aimed at finding common patterns.

Thinking rises to a higher level with the development of its scientific outlook, sense of responsibility, strong-willed qualities, professional orientation of the person, and the accumulation of experience in conditions close to real.

Thinking is a continuous interaction between the thinking subject and object of knowledge. This interaction is always carried out in order to resolve any problem; it is based on the analysis and synthesis and has a new synthesis as a result. Thus, we can assume that the concerns, analysis, synthesis and generalization are common psychological patterns of thinking.

Memory is the ability to reproduce past experience, one of the basic properties of the nervous system, reflected in the ability to store information for a long time and repeatedly enter it in the sphere of consciousness and behavior. There are several types of memory processes: preservation and reproduction, recognition, and remembering itself. There is voluntary and involuntary memory, direct and indirect, short and long term. Specific types of memory are: motor (memory-habit), emotional or affective (memory of “feelings”), imaginary and verbal-logical (Gathercole, 1998).

Impressions that a person receives about the world, leave some trace, are stored, secured, and if necessary, is reproduced. These processes are called memory.

So, memory can be defined as the ability to receive, store and reproduction of experience. Different instincts, innate and acquired mechanisms of behavior are nothing like imprinted, hereditary or acquired individual life experience.

Memory is instantaneous, short, swift, long-term, genetic, visual, auditory, motor, emotional, etc. Memory development in general, depends on the person and his activities. And it directly depends on the normal functioning and development of other cognitive processes. Working on any process, a person develops and trains the memory even without noticing this.

Human memory can be defined as physiological and cultural processes operating in the life functions of storing, preserving and reproducing information. Memory is a vital fundamental human faculty. It is impossible to have normal functioning of the personality and its development without memory. It can be easily seen, if we pay attention to people with severe memory disorders.

In general, a person’s memory can be represented as a kind of instrument to the accumulation and use of life experience (Ogden, 2001).

Attention. None mental process can proceed in a purposeful and productive way, if a person does not focus his attention on the fact that he accepts or does. We can look at an item and not to notice it or see very badly. Absorbed in his thoughts, a person cannot hear conversations that are conducted with him, even though the sound of voices reached his hearing aid. We cannot feel pain, if our attention is directed to something else (Maric, 2011). On the contrary, deeply concentrating on any subject or activity, a person notices all the details of the subject and acts very efficiently. And fixing his attention on sensations, we increase our sensitivity.

Attention is the direction and focus of consciousness at some object, phenomenon or activity. It is a person’s ability to concentrate his cognitive processes on one object and study it. Attention causes a successful orientation of the subject in the world and provides a full and clear reflection of it in mind. The object of attention is at the center of our consciousness, everything else is perceived weak, vague, but the focus of our attention can vary.

Attention is not independent mental process, as it can not occur outside of other processes. We carefully and attentively listen, look, think and do. Thus, attention is only a property of different mental processes (Robertsona, 1996).

Attention has some features that are manifested in different people in different ways. Thus, the properties of attention include:

  • Stability – the ability for a long time to save the state of attention at some object.
  • Concentration – the ability to focus on one object while distracting from the other.
  • Switch – transfer from one object to another, from one activity to another.
  • Distribution – the ability to disperse attention to large areas, carrying out several activities at once.
  • Volume – the size of information that a person is able to maintain in the field of attention.

Attention, like all other mental processes, has lower and higher forms. The lower forms are represented by involuntary attention, while the higher – by arbitrary. Attention in humans is formed at birth, and the process of its development is interrelated with memory, speech, etc.

So, cognitive processes are individual manifestations of human mental activity that are accepted as rather isolated objects of study. Every mental process has a common object of reflection and a single reflection-regulatory specificity.

Such cognitive processes as sensation, perception, thinking, attention, memory, imagination, speech play an important role in human life. Full development of any human being is impossible without these cognitive processes.

Imagination is the ability of consciousness to create images, views, ideas and manipulate them. It plays a key role in the following mental processes: simulation, planning, creativity, game, human memory. In a broad sense, imagination is any process that takes place “in the images” (Harris, 1999).

According to Gamezo M.V. and Domashenko I. A. imagination is the mental process which means creation of the new images (views) by processing the material of perception and representation received in the previous experience (Macgillivray, 1994). Images of the imagination does not always correspond to reality, they have the elements of fantasy fiction. If imagination conjures up to consciousness the pictures that have nothing or little what corresponds to reality, it is called fantasy. If the imagination is brought to the future, it is called a dream. The process of imagination always takes place in close connection with two other mental processes – memory and thinking.

The imagination has such functions as figurative representation of reality, regulation of emotional states, voluntary regulation of cognitive processes and states of a human, and the formation of an internal plan of activities.

Classification of imagination processes

The imagination processes are classified in the following way:

  • According to the results – reproductive imagination (re-creation of reality as it is itself), productive (creative) imagination (with the relative novelty of images or with the absolute novelty of the images)
  • According to the degree of focus – active imagination (voluntary) which includes re-creative and creative imagination; and passive imagination (involuntary) that includes unintended and unpredictable imagination.
  • According to the type of images – specific and abstract.
  • According to the methods of the imagination – agglutination (connection of the unconnected in the reality objects), amplification (increase or decrease of an object and its parts), schematization (highlighting of the differences and identification of similarities), and typing (allocation of the significant, recurring in uniform phenomena).
  • According to the degree of volitional effort – deliberate and unintentional imagination processes.

Speech is historically formed form of communication between people by means of language constructions that are created on a basic of certain rules. The process of speech assumes forming and formulating of thoughts by language (speech) means on the one hand, and perception of language constructions and their understanding on the other hand.

In such a way, speech is a psycholinguistic process, the form of existence of a human language. Speech is a punctual designation. With the help of speech human understands what the other one tells him. Speech has many meanings (human’s speech, things people are talking about etc). Speech is a language of actions.

Speech is an important part of a human action that allows him to cognize the surrounding world, pass his knowledge and experience to other people, and accumulate them for giving it to future generations.

Being one of the means of expression of thoughts, speech becomes the basic (but not the only one) arrangement of human thinking in its development in ontogeny. The highest, abstract thinking is impossible without speech activity.

Depending on the form of communication, speech activity is divided into oral (speaking and listening) and written (reading and writing).

At the process of the “productive” forms of speech activity – speaking and writing – the following main groups of mental and physiological mechanisms are used:

  • Mechanism of the utterance programming (transferred meaning);
  • A group of mechanisms associated with the construction of the grammatical structure of utterances, finding the right words according to the semantic features, the choice of a particular sound or graphics;
  • Physiological mechanisms to ensure effective implementation of the utterance.

The rules of language construction have ethno-specific features, which are expressed in a system of phonetic, lexical, grammatical and stylistic means and rules of communication in that language. It is tightly integrated with all the mental processes of a human being. The linguistic aspect of the human speech behavior is studied by psycholinguistics. Speech has such features as pithiness, conceptuality, expressiveness, and effectiveness.


So the basic cognitive processes of the human psyche and their role in shaping world viewing by a man were covered. Human beings feel and experience the world with the help of sensations (visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, taste, sensation, balance, etc.). With the perception helps is translating person’s image into the pictures. Sensations are in people’s inner world, they are perceived as properties of objects, their images are localized in space. We may analyze the information about the world via thinking. We are able to create, to plan reasonably life and manage it with imagination. Almost all human material and spiritual culture is the product of imagining and creating by people. Memory helps to store the information about the world. Thinking is the process of reflection of objective reality, constituting a higher level of human cognition. Thinking provides knowledge about the essential relationships, connections and relations of objective reality, performs in the process of knowledge transfer from the “appearance to essence.” In contrast to the experience and perception thinking gives indirect, mediated reflection of reality. With the help of the cognitive processes: sensation, perception, thinking, imagination and memory a man could survive as a species, spread across the planet and get beyond it, into space.



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