Cognitive Psychology

You may have noticed that we have been using the term mind without precisely defining

  1. As we will see, mind, like other concepts in psychology, such as intelligence or emotion,

can be thought of in a number of different ways.


One way to approach the question “What is the mind?” is to consider how “mind” is

used in everyday conversation. Here are a few examples:

  1. “He was able to call to mind what he was doing on the day of the accident.” (The

mind as involved in memory)

  1. “If you put your mind to it, I’m sure you can solve that math problem.” (The mind

as problem-solver)

  1. “I haven’t made up my mind yet” or “I’m of two minds about this.” (The mind as

used to make decisions or consider possibilities)

  1. “He is of sound mind and body” or “When he talks about his encounter with

aliens, it sounds like he is out of his mind.” (A healthy mind being associated with

normal functioning, a nonfunctioning mind with abnormal functioning)

  1. “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” (The mind as valuable, something that should

be used)

  1. “He has a beautiful mind.” (From Sylvia Nasar’s book A Beautiful Mind, about

Nobel Prize winner John Nash, which was made into an Academy Award–winning

movie staring Russell Crowe)