Day 5: Thinking & Feeling
July 5, 2008 by Dr. Ken Tangen
Psychology also studies thinking and feeling. Thinking (generally referred to as cognition) is easily done by humans but not easily explained. Similarly, we generate emotions but have little understanding of how our feelings and thoughts interact.
Cognition has been variously described as a structure, as a process, and as the result of a process. With no clear agreement on the matter, research in the area is both diverse and complex. Some view thinking as mental software, and try to describe it as a series of heuristics, rules and programmable steps. Others see it a neural structure or a pattern of synaptic activity.
Emtion is equally complex. Certain structures and neurotransmitters are involved when we feel emotion but a good causal model is difficult to define. Also, thinking and feeling seem to be intertwined. We don’t experience emtions without thinking about them. And we don’t think without emotion, particularly if you include calmness as an emotion.