‘THINKING’- A Vital Process of Life

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‘THINKING’- A Vital Process of Life

You’re in your math class and your teacher asks you how to solve an equation. You begin thinking about the ways of solving it. You analyse the problem, you try to recall what you’ve learnt in your previous class, the formula that can be used, the process of solving it and you finally do it. 

Thinking was the most crucial process that assisted you in solving the problem here. Because of the reflexive process of thinking that we go through, we often solve our problems with ease, but we are unaware of it as we are primarily concerned with the end result.

The world we live in today is the outcome of our thinking. Not only in the lives of humans but also in the lives of animals, thinking has been the most significant process. Before we engage in any task, we perform the most basic action: we think.

Thinking is simply the act of using our brain to analyze a problem, find a solution, or think of new ideas.

How do humans think?

The five senses in our body- sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste, bring back information to the brain which affects our thinking and produces actions such as happiness, sadness and anger.

In scientific terms, the brain has around 100 billion nerve cells, known as neurons, that combine to form thoughts. Dendrites and axon terminals, the branch-like tentacles that wrap neurons, allow neurons to communicate with one another. Neurons are capable of transmitting and receiving electrical nerve signals at speeds of up to 200 mph.

What are the common types of thinking?

According to psychology, the most common types of thinking are- creative thinking, analytical thinking, critical thinking, concrete thinking, abstract thinking, divergent thinking, and convergent thinking.

  1. Creative thinking: These thinkers have the ability to come up with new and innovative ideas other than the pre-existing theories and rules.
  2. Analytical thinking: It is the ability to break down something complex into its basic form to assess it.
  3. Critical thinking: They mainly look for additional factors which might have driven them to the ultimate conclusion and they make careful judgements.
  4. Concrete thinking: These thinkers like to think, understand and apply factual knowledge. It involves skills of apt and practical thinking.
  5. Abstract thinking: It is the skill of connecting all the random dots which is usually difficult for others to see. They look for hidden meanings in things and relate them.
  6. Divergent thinking: In this type of thinking, people do not focus on limited sources of information. To find a solution, they look at things from a wider perspective.
  7. Convergent thinking: These thinkers look into a limited number of ideas or perspectives to find a solution rather than looking at things on a larger scale.

How do animals think?

Animals have comparable perspectives on the world as humans. Animals, on the other hand, are limited to vocalisations such as growls, howls, and other gestures to express their thoughts.

Experiments that prove animals can think:

An experiment was conducted on human babies and monkeys. This experiment demonstrated that babies aged 3 to 4 years old could tell the difference between two languages by sucking on their pacifiers when the language was familiar and becoming bored and stopping sucking when the language was new.

Similarly, monkeys stared at the speaker when the language was familiar to them and looked away when the language was new. When sentences are delivered backwards, neither babies nor monkeys can understand them.

Additional tests by Hauser and other researchers reveal that monkeys can count up to four.

Hauser claims that chimpanzees have a rich social and conceptual life, but they are unable to discuss it with one another.

– Rachana

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