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Theories of Human Thinking

Thinking can be characterized in terms of knowledge, skill, intention, performance and achievements of the individual. Language and thought are the basic vehicles of problem-solving which initially and ultimately would depend on the individual himself, the information available to him, his individual himself, the information, his intention or desire to achieve a particular goal, and the kind of activities he engages en route the goal.

 Early experimental psychologists attempted to identify the fundamental building blocks of thought. Just as it is possible to understand a substance terms of its molecular structure, a molecule in terms of its atoms, or atoms in terms of its elementary particles, it should be possible to understand it s elementary particles, it should be possible to understand its behavior into arms of its fundamental components and some forms of associations among them. The analysis of ht structure forms of associations among them. The analysis of the structure of thought has led psychologists in several different directions.

Theories of Thought:

According to stimulus-response theory, all knowledge and all kill is a matter of connecting particular stimuli with particular overt action. Whenever a stimulus occurs occur, it will provoke the response with which it has been associated. If that stimulus is new. It will tend to provide a response identical or similar to the response provided by a similar stimulus. Thus all behavior is derived from conditioning, although in some cases the conditioning process may involve the stringing together of large number of responses. An early example of stimulus-response theory is the motor theory of thinking espoused by Watson and other behaviorists. In their view, if there is no movement (muscular or glandular activity) there is no behavior. They hold that strictly mental activity does not exist. Any activity of the organism including thinking, involves a discoverable movement component. Sometimes the movement may be so fast or so slow that special instruments are needed to record it. According to most theorists if there is real thought, there is also real movement. Watson believes the most human though is basically sub vocal activity- the thinker speaking to himself, that is, moving the muscles of the voice apparatus of the throat. Some ingenious experiments were devised by the behaviorists to support muscles of the voice apparatus of the throat, actually measured bursts of electrical activity, reflecting implicit movement, when people are instructed to think about a particular problem or situation. This muscular activity is the substance of their thought, according to Watson.

There is also research to show that relaxation and thought tend to be mutually incompatible. People who have been thought the techniques for progressive relaxation feel that there is a concomitant reduction in the amount of thinking. Relaxation has been used as a therapy for people whose thoughts are anxiety-arousing. Motor theorists claim that sometimes a stimulus triggers low level of activity somewhere in the body. The motor theory has many loopholes. First it seems intuitively unreasonable to expect the processes of problem-solving, creativity, language, and the like can realistically be described in terms of sequences of conditional responses. Second, thinking is typically purposeful and intentional, properties than have no place in simple associative or motor theory. The covert muscular activity recorded in the experiments could be merely a co-relate of real thought. It might be simply an overflow of the centralized neural actives than have been identified with thinking Moreover, there is evidence that both learning and thought occur into the absence of any recordable  muscular activity, and this evidence the motrltheory simply cannot account for.

Mediation Theory:

A direct descendent of the mortar theory, and of associative theories in general lies is mediation theory of thinking. The emphasis in this theory is on leering and on stimuli and responses. Mediation theories are perhaps more properly described as learning theories, than as theories of thinking, although their application to thinking is direct and straightforward.

Basically, mediation theory holds that as a consequence of the formation of overt stimulus-response connections during learning, three may develop inside the organism miniaturizes versions of these stimuli and responses called mediation stimuli and responses. The theories generally do not specify the location of these mediation events. They may be in the nervous system, partly in the muscles and glands, or they may be thought of as purely hypothetical, having no physical existence at all. Mediation events provide the connecting link between the environment and the nature of the response to it. Once a young child has learnt several appropriate ways of responding overtly to his environment, he develops corresponding mediation processes that may serve to guide his auctions in subsequent processes that may serve to guide his actions in subsequent situation. When he ennoblers a new situating somewhat similar to one he had been through previously, a number of mediation events may occur, representing ways in which he might behave. The will representing wants in which he might behave. The child will level one of these hypotheses generally on the basis of this relative stretch, ad may respond in accord with it.

As the child grows and experiences the world , he practices new skills, his repertoire of mediation responses increases. Consequently, hierarchies are formed. Any particular stimulus might elicit a number of possible responses ordered hierarchically by their strength.

Both the motor theory and the mediation theory leave quite a bit to be desired as complete interpretation of thinking. First, they fail to distinguish adequately between the cognition and competence components of behavior. These theories take no account of the difference between the items of knowledge. Second, they view the organism as essentially passive and subject only to the influence of physical stimuli, whether external or internal. The intention aspect of performance, the ability of human being to form and use rules, and the importune of language in thought are not adequately represented by the associative theories. it is for these and other resents than alternative theoretical explanations of thinning have been proposed.

Hypothesis Theory:

Some theories of thought describe problem-solving as a matter of formulating, selecting and testing hypotheses until the correct one is arrived at . As a person grows and matures and experiences different aspects of his environment, the builds a large amount of repertoire or poll of hypotheses. This pool is available when he encounters subsequent problems. He picks a hypothesis from the pool either randomly or because of its perceived potential relevance to the problem, He acts on than hypothesis or rejects it in be and error. Then he revises the hypothesis or rejects it in favor of another. This process is repeated either until the correct hypothesis is selected, some new possibility is formulated or the personal abandons the problem in failure. Hypothesis theory does not consider the role of memory that is remembering previously seen stimuli, responses, or feedback, or previously tested working hypotheses. Moreover the theory does not explain how one decides which hypotheses to test.

Information Processing Theory:

In the past, concepts such as memory, inference, reasoning, etc. used in reference to thinking were considered unscientific and therefore improper. Not until the advent of the electronic computer did most psychologists begin to realize that one could speak of this phenomenon and not be accused of mysticism or mentalist. In decors of time , it became clear that the computer could remember, calculate, make inferences, solve problems to a point of doing these things in some ways better than man. The computer was built by scientists whose knowledge could hardly be criticized. The computer has revolutionized psychology not only by extending the psychologist’s capability for dealing with his experimental data, but also by revealing new ways of theorizing. The theories bases on computer models are refer to the way people receive information from their enviournment, operate on it, integrate it integrate it with informational available immemorial. They use the product as a basis for deciding how to perform.