Glossary A-E

Word Definition Other
Abstraction 1. a type of concept, without all details. 2. there are many levels of abstraction. E.g. chicken from close (tastes like chicken) to remote (brave in speech, maybe not brave in action) As sensations become more abstract, each comes to cover a broader range of incoming perceptions and remembered relationships.
Algorithm Sequences of operations that can be repeated that guarantee a solution to the problem Typical of traditional computer models of problem-solutions.
Almost Gate
Neural electrical characteristics WikiCommons
Neural electrical characteristics. WikiCommons
The neuron’s axon fires completely once the neural threshold is reached. Downstream loses some input details. Abstraction results from passage over an Almost Gate
Amygdala One of the four basal ganglia in each cerebral hemisphere that is part of the limbic system and consists of an almond-shaped mass of gray matter in the anterior extremity of the temporal lobe. Stimulated electrically produces strong emotional responses. Source of fight-or-flight reaction. Determines emotional reaction to perceived reality.
Analogy Inference that if two or more things agree with one another in some respects they will prob. agree in others . A is to B as C is to D. All analogies can be arranged into this form. Method to draw inferences from similarities, distinct from deduction which uses logic. Can generate novel conclusions as well as false ones.
Aplysia californica Sea slug used by Eric Kandel who observed biological changes after behavioral changes. Experimentally validated Hebb’s Law, showing Long-Term Potentiation.
A reductionist school of psychology that holds that the content of consciousness can be explained by the association and reassociation of irreducible sensory and perceptual elements. Association is the method, along with deduction, that links together our thoughts.
Association is achieved by similar data triggering the same abstraction (typically passage of numerous Almost Gates is involved).
Attention Is the means by which we actively process a limited amount of attention from the enormous amount of information available through our senses, our stored memories, and our other cognitive processes.
Attention, covert The act or state of attending esp. through applying the mind to an object of sense or thought. Mentally conceived objects and situations.
Attention, overt Physically present objects and situations Objects in the vestibule of perception.
Basal Ganglia Any of four deeply placed masses of gray matter (as the amygdala) in each cerebral hemisphere. Gray matter, movement. Motivation. Reward and punishment. Low dopamine, Parkinsonism
Anything that an organism does involving action and response to stimulation. Processes that reduce discrepancies from the set point are known as negative feedback. Most motivated behavior can be described as negative feedback: Something happens to cause a disturbance, and behavior continues in varying ways until it relieves the disturbance. More on Homeostasis, driver of behavior for satiety (satisfaction).
Brainstem The part of the brain composed of the midbrain, pons, and medulla oblongata and connecting The spinal cord with the forebrain and cerebrum. Reptilian – internal physical and survival. medulla, pons, tegmentum, tectum, inferior colliculus, superior colliculus, thalamus, pineal gland Controls body’s systems (not concerned with thinking). Brainstem originated with the vertebrates (525MYA).
Category 1 : any of several fundamental and distinct classes to which entities or concepts belong. 2 : a division within a system of classification In Mental Construction, a category refers to a collection of features that the person does have a word for. Contrariwise, a pattern is a collection of features that the person does not have a word for.
Causality The relation between a cause and its effect or between regularly correlated events or phenomena. If the same situation occurs, there will be the same outcome.
Cerebellum A large dorsally projecting part of the brain concerned esp. with the coordination of muscles and the maintenance of bodily equilibrium, situated between the brain stem and the back of the cerebrum, and formed in humans of two lateral lobes and a median lobe The flocculonodular lobe, the first section of cerebellum to evolve, receives sensory input from the vestibules of the ear; the anterior lobe receives sensory input from the spinal cord; and the posterior lobe, the last to evolve, receives nerve impulses from the cerebrum. All of these nerve impulses are integrated within the cerebellar cortex.
Cerebrum The cerebrum is a large part of the brain containing the cerebral cortex (of the two cerebral hemispheres), as well as several subcortical structures, including the hippocampus, basal ganglia, and olfactory bulb.
Processes input, results in advanced behaviors
Processes input, results in advanced behaviors
Cognition Expresses the full range of all aspects on the brain, not just rational thinking, but including it. Includes perrception, attention, mental control, gathering and using knowledge, language, behavioral control and monitoring.
Cognitive 1 : of, relating to, being, or involving conscious intellectual activity (as thinking, reasoning, or remembering) ‹~ impairment›
2 : based on or capable of being reduced to empirical factual knowledge
Compare with cognition. The meaningful separation of cognition and thinking is ignored in the adjective. A sign of how difficult it is to keep the two separated.
The field of study linking the brain and other aspects of the nervous system to cognitive processing and, ultimately, behavior.
Cognitive Process
The Triune brain’s (link takes you to McGill University site) top layer has the parallel process of intertwined association and logic. The Mental Construction Model is similar to the triune brain model; however, the higher level processes of induction and deduction operating simultaneously in the frontal-parietal lobes, not as independent centers of thoughts, but as powerful amplifiers of the 3S imperatives derived in the brainstem and the limbic system.
The study of how people perceive, learn, remember, and think about information. A distinction between brain and mind arises.
System theory that actors with simple rules can display complex behavior because the environment is complex. Complex behavior can be caused by intricacies of environment rather than complex motivations in people. We may use more complex aggregation of categories that can be used in a single unit of cognition.
Concept Something conceived in the mind, a thought notion. An abstract or generic idea generalized from particular instances idea. A fixed pattern. Sternberg (p 322). “concept – an idea about something that provides a means of understanding the world.”
Concept Elevator Sensory patterns at inception are processed with specified genetic forms (edges, direction, movement). Abstracts features of frequent occurrence. Gives rise to an implicit concept hierarchy. Has up to 100 minor stops (concept elevator) each with an abstraction and merging with internal goals and memories.
Conscious Perceiving, apprehending, or noticing with a degree of controlled thought or observation. Limited to the cortex. Initiated in the frontal lobes and backward projected to temporal and occipital lobes for auditory and visual processing.
The great band of commissural fibers uniting the cerebral hemispheres of Higher mammals including humans. Consists of about 200 millon axons that interconnect the two hemispheres. The primary function of the corpus callosum is to integrate motor, sensory, and cognitive performances between the cerebral cortex on one side of the brain to the same region on the other side. The corpus callosum originated with placental mammals (225 MYA).
(Cerebral cortex)
The convoluted surface layer of gray matter of the cerebrum that functions chiefly in coordination of sensory and motor information. First appears in mammals. Enhance extraction of information from sensory data Sensory handling also occurs before the cortex receives the data, in the thalamus and other limbic structures.
Creativity The quality of creating rather than imitating. Ability to go beyond exact situation to envision additional possibilities. Another perspective is the ability to see similarities in abstractions of one problem domain in another problem domain. That is in contrast to logically deducing new consequences. Association results from substituting patterns with some similarity. When the substitution is beneficial we call the association creative. When the substitution is not beneficial, the association is not labelled creative.
Critical Period When experiences have a particularly strong and long-lasting effect. If the skill is not learned in the critical period, it can’t be fully learned later. Onset of the critical period depends on availability of GABA, the brain’s main inhibitory transmitter. GABA is necessary to effect significant changes in the synaptic gap, weighting due to new experiences. The critical period’s ending is also signaled by completion of the myelination of axons which send neural signals between modules (regions) of the brain.
Culture 1 : the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations 2 : the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group ; also: the characteristic features of everyday existence (as diversions or a way of life; shared by people in a place or time Learning and trasmitting the knowledge is accomplished by examples (implicitly by patterns and associations) and by instructions (explicitly by words and logic).
Data Classification Organization of information and categories, which come from language, culture, and society In artificial neural networks, this phrase implies that the neural network uses supervised learning. The classification is part of the input, giving the net the opportunity to adjust its weights to more closely generate the assigned classification. Ex. A set of flower images each with the flower name.
Data Clustering Organization of objects, experiences, and situations is not given, but is open to personal assignment into clusters which have meaning to the individual, to their needs, desires, or goals (see 3S Imperatives). In artificial neural network, data clustering is unsupervised learning. The input does not provide the label. It is up to the neural net to assign a cluster for the input. Example: Identifying groups of insurance policy holders with high average claims
Daydreams Current assignment to activity in the Default (self) network. Daydream types. 1. Positive-Constructive (representing playful, wishful and constructive imagery). 2. Poor Attentional Control (representing the inability to concentrate on ongoing thought or external tasks). 3. Guilty-Dysphoric Daydreaming (representing obsessive, anguished fantasies)
Deduction The deriving of a conclusion by reasoning ; specif: inference in which the conclusion about particulars follows necessarily from general or universal premises compare induction Deductive Reasoning – an argument is said to be deductive when the truth of the conclusion is purported to follow necessarily
Default Mode Network (DMN) A constellation of interconnected brain regions that are more active when the brain is disengaged, not consciously focused on a task. Consists mainly of communication among the medial temporal lobe, and the medial prefrontal and posterior cingulate cortices showing various aspects of our self, such as our self-representations, dreams, imaginations, current concerns, autobiographical memories, and perspective-taking ability.


Expressing an alternative or opposition between the meanings of the words connected Stanovich (p 70-72) nicely describes that disjunctive reasoning requires effort. It underlies his System 2 mode. This mode is labeled “Slow” by Kahneman. Mental Construction calls this logical or deductive aimed at gratification which can’t be satisfied by the current situation.
Dopamine A monoamine that occurs esp. as a neurotransmitter in the brain. Dopamine is produced in several areas of the brain, including the substantia nigra and the ventral tegmental area. Dopamine’s presence is pleasurable. Thus it’s crucial for learning – in a reward/punishment dimension. Dopamine insufficiency is related to Parkinson’s Disease.
Dual Process Theory Belief that thinking occurs by two separate and distinct modes. Type 1 easy, fast, intuitive, and requires little attention. Type 2 requires effort, slow, reasoning, and usually language based. Mental Construction. Type 1 by similarities (intuition, common sense); System 2 by logical reasoning
Dualism A theory that considers reality to consist of two irreducible elements or modes. Complete separation between physical reality and mental reality. Mental Construction makes the argument that the physical is partially converted into a person’s internal worldview. Thus physical reality and internal reality are related but not duplicates. Also, that we act upon our internal worldview into external reality.
The net weighting of a situation based on its satisfaction of the 3S drives – Satiety, Safety, Sex. The 3Ss and the current situation all feed into neuron’s associated with different actions. The neuron’s threshold which is surmounted triggers the associated action chain, often despite the fact that none of the 3Ss are completely satisfied by the selected behavior.
Emotions A state of feeling c : a conscious mental reaction (as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usu. directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body feeling. Bodily reaction to danger or reward situations. Thalamus can send to Amygdala which can trigger hypothalamus releasing adrenaline (unconscious). Lagging thalamus sends to cortex which evaluates (conscious). Emotions arise from the 3S Imperatives intersection physical reality. Emotions shorten one’s thought train length. The more emotionally laden a situation is, the shorter will be the number of logic deductions or associated similarities we will make on the situation. A surprise to expectations in environment can cause a well-tempered emotional equilibrium (personality) to rupture.
Epinephrine A colorless crystalline hormone that is the principal blood-pressure raising hormone secreted by the adrenal medulla and is used medicinally esp. as a heart stimulant and a vasoconstrictor in controlling hemorrhages of the skin. Released by sympathetic system, it affects the brain as well as the body. It’s stimulating effects readies one for “fight or flight.” Also known as adrenaline.