The mind is a set of cognitive faculties including consciousness, perception, thinking, judgement, language and memory. It is usually defined as the faculty of an entity's thoughts and consciousness.[3] It holds the power of imagination, recognition, and appreciation, and is responsible for processing feelings and emotions, resulting in attitudes and actions.

There is a lengthy tradition in philosophy, religion, psychology, and cognitive science about what constitutes a mind and what are its distinguishing properties.

One open question regarding the nature of the mind is the mind–body problem, which investigates the relation of the mind to the physical brain and nervous system.[4] Older viewpoints included dualism and idealism, which considered the mind somehow non-physical.[4] Modern views often center around physicalism and functionalism, which hold that the mind is roughly identical with the brain or reducible to physical phenomena such as neuronal activity[5], though dualism and idealism continue to have many supporters. Another question concerns which types of beings are capable of having minds (New Scientist 8 September 2018 p10). For example, whether mind is exclusive to humans, possessed also by some or all animals, by all living things, whether it is a strictly definable characteristic at all, or whether mind can also be a property of some types of human-made machines.

Whatever its nature, it is generally agreed that mind is that which enables a being to have subjective awareness and intentionality towards their environment, to perceive and respond to stimuli with some kind of agency, and to have consciousness, including thinking and feeling.

The concept of mind is understood in many different ways by many different cultural and religious traditions. Some see mind as a property exclusive to humans whereas others ascribe properties of mind to non-living entities (e.g. panpsychism and animism), to animals and to deities. Some of the earliest recorded speculations linked mind (sometimes described as identical with soul or spirit) to theories concerning both life after death, and cosmological and natural order, for example in the doctrines of Zoroaster, the Buddha, Plato, Aristotle, and other ancient Greek, Indian and, later, Islamic and medieval European philosophers.

Important philosophers of mind include Plato, Patanjali, Descartes, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Searle, Dennett, Fodor, Nagel, and Chalmers.[6] Psychologists such as Freud and James, and computer scientists such as Turing and Putnam developed influential theories about the nature of the mind. The possibility of nonbiological minds is explored in the field of artificial intelligence, which works closely in relation with cybernetics and information theory to understand the ways in which information processing by nonbiological machines is comparable or different to mental phenomena in the human mind.[7]

The mind is also portrayed as the stream of consciousness where sense impressions and mental phenomena are constantly changing.[8][9]

A phrenological mapping[1] of the brain. Phrenology was among the first attempts to correlate mental functions with specific parts of the Brain
Descartes mind and body
René Descartes' illustration of mind/body dualism. Descartes believed inputs are passed on by the Sensory organs to the epiphysis in the brain and from there to the immaterial spirit.[2]


The original meaning of Old English gemynd was the faculty of memory, not of thought in general. Hence call to mind, come to mind, keep in mind, to have mind of, etc. The word retains this sense in Scotland.[10] Old English had other words to express "mind", such as hyge "mind, spirit".[11]

The meaning of "memory" is shared with Old Norse, which has munr. The word is originally from a PIE verbal root *men-, meaning "to think, remember", whence also Latin mens "mind", Sanskrit manas "mind" and Greek μένος "mind, courage, anger".

The generalization of mind to include all mental faculties, thought, volition, feeling and memory, gradually develops over the 14th and 15th centuries.[12]


The attributes that make up the mind are debated. Some psychologists argue that only the "higher" intellectual functions constitute mind, particularly reason and memory.[13] In this view the emotions — love, hate, fear, and joy — are more primitive or subjective in nature and should be seen as different from the mind as such. Others argue that various rational and emotional states cannot be so separated, that they are of the same nature and origin, and should therefore be considered all part of it as mind.

In popular usage, mind is frequently synonymous with thought: the private conversation with ourselves that we carry on "inside our heads."[14] Thus we "make up our minds," "change our minds" or are "of two minds" about something. One of the key attributes of the mind in this sense is that it is a private sphere to which no one but the owner has access. No one else can "know our mind." They can only interpret what we consciously or unconsciously communicate.[15]

Mental faculties

Broadly speaking, mental faculties are the various functions of the mind, or things the mind can "do".

Thought is a mental act that allows humans to make sense of things in the world, and to represent and interpret them in ways that are significant, or which accord with their needs, attachments, goals, commitments, plans, ends, desires, etc. Thinking involves the symbolic or semiotic mediation of ideas or data, as when we form concepts, engage in problem solving, reasoning, and making decisions. Words that refer to similar concepts and processes include deliberation, cognition, ideation, discourse and imagination.

Thinking is sometimes described as a "higher" cognitive function and the analysis of thinking processes is a part of cognitive psychology. It is also deeply connected with our capacity to make and use tools; to understand cause and effect; to recognize patterns of significance; to comprehend and disclose unique contexts of experience or activity; and to respond to the world in a meaningful way.

Memory is the ability to preserve, retain, and subsequently recall, knowledge, information or experience. Although memory has traditionally been a persistent theme in philosophy, the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries also saw the study of memory emerge as a subject of inquiry within the paradigms of cognitive psychology. In recent decades, it has become one of the pillars of a new branch of science called cognitive neuroscience, a marriage between cognitive psychology and neuroscience.

Imagination is the activity of generating or evoking novel situations, images, ideas or other qualia in the mind. It is a characteristically subjective activity, rather than a direct or passive experience. The term is technically used in psychology for the process of reviving in the mind percepts of objects formerly given in sense perception. Since this use of the term conflicts with that of ordinary language, some psychologists have preferred to describe this process as "imaging" or "imagery" or to speak of it as "reproductive" as opposed to "productive" or "constructive" imagination. Things imagined are said to be seen in the "mind's eye". Among the many practical functions of imagination are the ability to project possible futures (or histories), to "see" things from another's perspective, and to change the way something is perceived, including to make decisions to respond to, or enact, what is imagined.

Consciousness in mammals (this includes humans) is an aspect of the mind generally thought to comprise qualities such as subjectivity, sentience, and the ability to perceive the relationship between oneself and one's environment. It is a subject of much research in philosophy of mind, psychology, neuroscience, and cognitive science. Some philosophers divide consciousness into phenomenal consciousness, which is subjective experience itself, and access consciousness, which refers to the global availability of information to processing systems in the brain.[16] Phenomenal consciousness has many different experienced qualities, often referred to as qualia. Phenomenal consciousness is usually consciousness of something or about something, a property known as intentionality in philosophy of mind.

Mental content

Mental contents are those items that are thought of as being "in" the mind, and capable of being formed and manipulated by mental processes and faculties. Examples include thoughts, concepts, memories, emotions, percepts and intentions. Philosophical theories of mental content include internalism, externalism, representationalism and intentionality.[17]


Memetics is a theory of mental content based on an analogy with Darwinian evolution, which was originated by Richard Dawkins and Douglas Hofstadter in the 1980s. It is an evolutionary model of cultural information transfer. A meme, analogous to a gene, is an idea, belief, pattern of behaviour (etc.) "hosted" in one or more individual minds, and can reproduce itself from mind to mind. Thus what would otherwise be regarded as one individual influencing another to adopt a belief, is seen memetically as a meme reproducing itself.

Relation to the brain

In animals, the brain, or encephalon (Greek for "in the head"), is the control center of the central nervous system, responsible for thought. In most animals, the brain is located in the head, protected by the skull and close to the primary sensory apparatus of vision, hearing, equilibrioception, taste and olfaction. While all vertebrates have a brain, most invertebrates have either a centralized brain or collections of individual ganglia. Primitive animals such as sponges do not have a brain at all. Brains can be extremely complex. For example, the human brain contains around 86 billion neurons, each linked to as many as 10,000 others.[18][19]

Understanding the relationship between the brain and the mind – mind–body problem is one of the central issues in the history of philosophy – is a challenging problem both philosophically and scientifically.[20] There are three major philosophical schools of thought concerning the answer: dualism, materialism, and idealism. Dualism holds that the mind exists independently of the brain;[21] materialism holds that mental phenomena are identical to neuronal phenomena;[22] and idealism holds that only mental phenomena exist.[22]

Through most of history many philosophers found it inconceivable that cognition could be implemented by a physical substance such as brain tissue (that is neurons and synapses).[23] Descartes, who thought extensively about mind-brain relationships, found it possible to explain reflexes and other simple behaviors in mechanistic terms, although he did not believe that complex thought, and language in particular, could be explained by reference to the physical brain alone.[24]

The most straightforward scientific evidence of a strong relationship between the physical brain matter and the mind is the impact physical alterations to the brain have on the mind, such as with traumatic brain injury and psychoactive drug use.[25] Philosopher Patricia Churchland notes that this drug-mind interaction indicates an intimate connection between the brain and the mind.[26]

In addition to the philosophical questions, the relationship between mind and brain involves a number of scientific questions, including understanding the relationship between mental activity and brain activity, the exact mechanisms by which drugs influence cognition, and the neural correlates of consciousness.

Theoretical approaches to explain how mind emerges from the brain include connectionism, computationalism and Bayesian brain.

Evolutionary history of the human mind

The evolution of human intelligence refers to several theories that aim to describe how human intelligence has evolved in relation to the evolution of the human brain and the origin of language.[27]

The timeline of human evolution spans some 7 million years, from the separation of the genus Pan until the emergence of behavioral modernity by 50,000 years ago. Of this timeline, the first 3 million years concern Sahelanthropus, the following 2 million concern Australopithecus, while the final 2 million span the history of actual Homo species (the Paleolithic).

Many traits of human intelligence, such as empathy, theory of mind, mourning, ritual, and the use of symbols and tools, are already apparent in great apes although in lesser sophistication than in humans.

There is a debate between supporters of the idea of a sudden emergence of intelligence, or "Great leap forward" and those of a gradual or continuum hypothesis.

Theories of the evolution of intelligence include:

  • Robin Dunbar's social brain hypothesis[28]
  • Geoffrey Miller's sexual selection hypothesis concerning Sexual selection in human evolution[29]
  • The ecological dominance-social competition (EDSC)[30] explained by Mark V. Flinn, David C. Geary and Carol V. Ward based mainly on work by Richard D. Alexander.
  • The idea of intelligence as a signal of good health and resistance to disease.
  • The Group selection theory contends that organism characteristics that provide benefits to a group (clan, tribe, or larger population) can evolve despite individual disadvantages such as those cited above.
  • The idea that intelligence is connected with nutrition, and thereby with status.[31] A higher IQ could be a signal that an individual comes from and lives in a physical and social environment where nutrition levels are high, and vice versa.

Philosophy of mind

Philosophy of mind is the branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness and their relationship to the physical body. The mind–body problem, i.e. the relationship of the mind to the body, is commonly seen as the central issue in philosophy of mind, although there are other issues concerning the nature of the mind that do not involve its relation to the physical body.[32] José Manuel Rodriguez Delgado writes, "In present popular usage, soul and mind are not clearly differentiated and some people, more or less consciously, still feel that the soul, and perhaps the mind, may enter or leave the body as independent entities."[33]

Dualism and monism are the two major schools of thought that attempt to resolve the mind–body problem. Dualism is the position that mind and body are in some way separate from each other. It can be traced back to Plato,[34] Aristotle[35][36][37] and the Nyaya, Samkhya and Yoga schools of Hindu philosophy,[38] but it was most precisely formulated by René Descartes in the 17th century.[39] Substance dualists argue that the mind is an independently existing substance, whereas Property dualists maintain that the mind is a group of independent properties that emerge from and cannot be reduced to the brain, but that it is not a distinct substance.[40]

The 20th century philosopher Martin Heidegger suggested that subjective experience and activity (i.e. the "mind") cannot be made sense of in terms of Cartesian "substances" that bear "properties" at all (whether the mind itself is thought of as a distinct, separate kind of substance or not). This is because the nature of subjective, qualitative experience is incoherent in terms of – or semantically incommensurable with the concept of – substances that bear properties. This is a fundamentally ontological argument.[41]

The philosopher of cognitive science Daniel Dennett, for example, argues there is no such thing as a narrative center called the "mind", but that instead there is simply a collection of sensory inputs and outputs: different kinds of "software" running in parallel.[42] Psychologist B.F. Skinner argued that the mind is an explanatory fiction that diverts attention from environmental causes of behavior;[43] he considered the mind a "black box" and thought that mental processes may be better conceived of as forms of covert verbal behavior.[44][45]

Philosopher David Chalmers has argued that the third person approach to uncovering mind and consciousness is not effective, such as looking into other's brains or observing human conduct, but that a first person approach is necessary. Such a first person perspective indicates that the mind must be conceptualized as something distinct from the brain.

The mind has also been described as manifesting from moment to moment, one thought moment at a time as a fast flowing stream, where sense impressions and mental phenomena are constantly changing.[9][8]

Mind/body perspectives

Monism is the position that mind and body are not physiologically and ontologically distinct kinds of entities. This view was first advocated in Western Philosophy by Parmenides in the 5th Century BC and was later espoused by the 17th Century rationalist Baruch Spinoza.[46] According to Spinoza's dual-aspect theory, mind and body are two aspects of an underlying reality which he variously described as "Nature" or "God".

  • Physicalists argue that only the entities postulated by physical theory exist, and that the mind will eventually be explained in terms of these entities as physical theory continues to evolve.
  • Idealists maintain that the mind is all that exists and that the external world is either mental itself, or an illusion created by the mind.
  • Neutral monists adhere to the position that perceived things in the world can be regarded as either physical or mental depending on whether one is interested in their relationship to other things in the world or their relationship to the perceiver. For example, a red spot on a wall is physical in its dependence on the wall and the pigment of which it is made, but it is mental in so far as its perceived redness depends on the workings of the visual system. Unlike dual-aspect theory, neutral monism does not posit a more fundamental substance of which mind and body are aspects.

The most common monisms in the 20th and 21st centuries have all been variations of physicalism; these positions include behaviorism, the type identity theory, anomalous monism and functionalism.[47]

Many modern philosophers of mind adopt either a reductive or non-reductive physicalist position, maintaining in their different ways that the mind is not something separate from the body.[47] These approaches have been particularly influential in the sciences, e.g. in the fields of sociobiology, computer science, evolutionary psychology and the various neurosciences.[48][49][50][51] Other philosophers, however, adopt a non-physicalist position which challenges the notion that the mind is a purely physical construct.

  • Reductive physicalists assert that all mental states and properties will eventually be explained by scientific accounts of physiological processes and states.[52][53][54]
  • Non-reductive physicalists argue that although the brain is all there is to the mind, the predicates and vocabulary used in mental descriptions and explanations are indispensable, and cannot be reduced to the language and lower-level explanations of physical science.[55][56]

Continued progress in neuroscience has helped to clarify many of these issues, and its findings have been taken by many to support physicalists' assertions.[57][58] Nevertheless, our knowledge is incomplete, and modern philosophers of mind continue to discuss how subjective qualia and the intentional mental states can be naturally explained.[59][60] Then, of course, there is the problem of Quantum Mechanics, which is best understood as a form of perspectivism.

Scientific study

Architecture of Spaun.jpeg
Simplified diagram of Spaun, a 2.5-million-neuron computational model of the brain. (A) The corresponding physical regions and connections of the human brain. (B) The mental architecture of Spaun.[61]


Neuroscience studies the nervous system, the physical basis of the mind. At the systems level, neuroscientists investigate how biological neural networks form and physiologically interact to produce mental functions and content such as reflexes, multisensory integration, motor coordination, circadian rhythms, emotional responses, learning, and memory. At a larger scale, efforts in computational neuroscience have developed large-scale models that simulate simple, functioning brains.[61] As of 2012, such models include the thalamus, basal ganglia, prefrontal cortex, motor cortex, and occipital cortex, and consequentially simulated brains can learn, respond to visual stimuli, coordinate motor responses, form short-term memories, and learn to respond to patterns. Currently, researchers aim to program the hippocampus and limbic system, hypothetically imbuing the simulated mind with long-term memory and crude emotions.[62]

By contrast, affective neuroscience studies the neural mechanisms of personality, emotion, and mood primarily through experimental tasks.

Cognitive Science

Cognitive science examines the mental functions that give rise to information processing, termed cognition. These include perception, attention, working memory, long-term memory, producing and understanding language, learning, reasoning, problem solving, and decision making. Cognitive science seeks to understand thinking "in terms of representational structures in the mind and computational procedures that operate on those structures".[63]


Psychology is the scientific study of human behavior, mental functioning, and experience. As both an academic and applied discipline, Psychology involves the scientific study of mental processes such as perception, cognition, emotion, personality, as well as environmental influences, such as social and cultural influences, and interpersonal relationships, in order to devise theories of human behavior. Psychological patterns can be understood as low cost ways of information processing.[64] Psychology also refers to the application of such knowledge to various spheres of human activity, including problems of individuals' daily lives and the treatment of mental health problems.

Psychology differs from the other social sciences (e.g. anthropology, economics, political science, and sociology) due to its focus on experimentation at the scale of the individual, or individuals in small groups as opposed to large groups, institutions or societies. Historically, psychology differed from biology and neuroscience in that it was primarily concerned with mind rather than brain. Modern psychological science incorporates physiological and neurological processes into its conceptions of perception, cognition, behaviour, and mental disorders.

Mental health

By analogy with the health of the body, one can speak metaphorically of a state of health of the mind, or mental health. Merriam-Webster defines mental health as "A state of emotional and psychological well-being in which an individual is able to use his or her cognitive and emotional capabilities, function in society, and meet the ordinary demands of everyday life." According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no one "official" definition of mental health. Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how "mental health" is defined. In general, most experts agree that "mental health" and "mental disorder" are not opposites. In other words, the absence of a recognized mental disorder is not necessarily an indicator of mental health.

One way to think about mental health is by looking at how effectively and successfully a person functions. Feeling capable and competent; being able to handle normal levels of stress, maintaining satisfying relationships, and leading an independent life; and being able to "bounce back," or recover from difficult situations, are all signs of mental health.

Psychotherapy is an interpersonal, relational intervention used by trained psychotherapists to aid clients in problems of living. This usually includes increasing individual sense of well-being and reducing subjective discomforting experience. Psychotherapists employ a range of techniques based on experiential relationship building, dialogue, communication and behavior change and that are designed to improve the mental health of a client or patient, or to improve group relationships (such as in a family). Most forms of psychotherapy use only spoken conversation, though some also use various other forms of communication such as the written word, art, drama, narrative story, or therapeutic touch. Psychotherapy occurs within a structured encounter between a trained therapist and client(s). Purposeful, theoretically based psychotherapy began in the 19th century with psychoanalysis; since then, scores of other approaches have been developed and continue to be created.

Non-human minds

Animal intelligence

Animal cognition, or cognitive ethology, is the title given to a modern approach to the mental capacities of animals. It has developed out of comparative psychology, but has also been strongly influenced by the approach of ethology, behavioral ecology, and evolutionary psychology. Much of what used to be considered under the title of "animal intelligence" is now thought of under this heading. Animal language acquisition, attempting to discern or understand the degree to which animal cognition can be revealed by linguistics-related study, has been controversial among cognitive linguists.

Artificial intelligence

Forest of synthetic pyramidal dendrites grown using Cajal's laws of neuronal branching
Computer simulation of the branching architecture of the dendrites of pyramidal neurons.[65]

In 1950 Alan M. Turing published "Computing machinery and intelligence" in Mind, in which he proposed that machines could be tested for intelligence using questions and answers. This process is now named the Turing Test. The term Artificial Intelligence (AI) was first used by John McCarthy who considered it to mean "the science and engineering of making intelligent machines".[66] It can also refer to intelligence as exhibited by an artificial (man-made, non-natural, manufactured) entity. AI is studied in overlapping fields of computer science, psychology, neuroscience and engineering, dealing with intelligent behavior, learning and adaptation and usually developed using customized machines or computers.

Research in AI is concerned with producing machines to automate tasks requiring intelligent behavior. Examples include control, planning and scheduling, the ability to answer diagnostic and consumer questions, handwriting, natural language, speech and facial recognition. As such, the study of AI has also become an engineering discipline, focused on providing solutions to real life problems, knowledge mining, software applications, strategy games like computer chess and other video games. One of the biggest limitations of AI is in the domain of actual machine comprehension. Consequentially natural language understanding and connectionism (where behavior of neural networks is investigated) are areas of active research and development.

The debate about the nature of the mind is relevant to the development of artificial intelligence. If the mind is indeed a thing separate from or higher than the functioning of the brain, then hypothetically it would be much more difficult to recreate within a machine, if it were possible at all. If, on the other hand, the mind is no more than the aggregated functions of the brain, then it will be possible to create a machine with a recognisable mind (though possibly only with computers much different from today's), by simple virtue of the fact that such a machine already exists in the form of the human brain.

In religion

Many religions associate spiritual qualities to the human mind. These are often tightly connected to their mythology and ideas of afterlife.

The Indian philosopher-sage Sri Aurobindo attempted to unite the Eastern and Western psychological traditions with his integral psychology, as have many philosophers and New religious movements. Judaism teaches that "moach shalit al halev", the mind rules the heart. Humans can approach the Divine intellectually, through learning and behaving according to the Divine Will as enclothed in the Torah, and use that deep logical understanding to elicit and guide emotional arousal during prayer. Christianity has tended to see the mind as distinct from the soul (Greek nous) and sometimes further distinguished from the spirit. Western esoteric traditions sometimes refer to a mental body that exists on a plane other than the physical. Hinduism's various philosophical schools have debated whether the human soul (Sanskrit atman) is distinct from, or identical to, Brahman, the divine reality. Taoism sees the human being as contiguous with natural forces, and the mind as not separate from the body. Confucianism sees the mind, like the body, as inherently perfectible.


Buddhist teachings explain the moment-to-moment manifestation of the mind-stream.[8][9] The components that make up the mind are known as the five aggregates (i.e., material form, feelings, perception, volition, and sensory consciousness), which arise and pass away continuously. The arising and passing of these aggregates in the present moment is described as being influenced by five causal laws: biological laws, psychological laws, physical laws, volitional laws, and universal laws.[9][8] The Buddhist practice of mindfulness involves attending to this constantly changing mind-stream.

According to Buddhist philosopher Dharmakirti, the mind has two fundamental qualities: "clarity and cognizes". If something is not those two qualities, it cannot validly be called mind. "Clarity" refers to the fact that mind has no color, shape, size, location, weight, or any other physical characteristic, and "cognizes" that it functions to know or perceive objects.[67] "Knowing" refers to the fact that mind is aware of the contents of experience, and that, in order to exist, mind must be cognizing an object. You cannot have a mind – whose function is to cognize an object – existing without cognizing an object.

Mind, in Buddhism, is also described as being "space-like" and "illusion-like". Mind is space-like in the sense that it is not physically obstructive. It has no qualities which would prevent it from existing. In Mahayana Buddhism, mind is illusion-like in the sense that it is empty of inherent existence. This does not mean it does not exist, it means that it exists in a manner that is counter to our ordinary way of misperceiving how phenomena exist, according to Buddhism. When the mind is itself cognized properly, without misperceiving its mode of existence, it appears to exist like an illusion. There is a big difference however between being "space and illusion" and being "space-like" and "illusion-like". Mind is not composed of space, it just shares some descriptive similarities to space. Mind is not an illusion, it just shares some descriptive qualities with illusions.

Buddhism posits that there is no inherent, unchanging identity (Inherent I, Inherent Me) or phenomena (Ultimate self, inherent self, Atman, Soul, Self-essence, Jiva, Ishvara, humanness essence, etc.) which is the experiencer of our experiences and the agent of our actions. In other words, human beings consist of merely a body and a mind, and nothing extra. Within the body there is no part or set of parts which is – by itself or themselves – the person. Similarly, within the mind there is no part or set of parts which are themselves "the person". A human being merely consists of five aggregates, or skandhas and nothing else.

In the same way, "mind" is what can be validly conceptually labelled onto our mere experience of clarity and knowing. There is something separate and apart from clarity and knowing which is "Awareness", in Buddhism. "Mind" is that part of experience the sixth sense door, which can be validly referred to as mind by the concept-term "mind". There is also not "objects out there, mind in here, and experience somewhere in-between". There is a third thing called "awareness" which exists being aware of the contents of mind and what mind cognizes. There are five senses (arising of mere experience: shapes, colors, the components of smell, components of taste, components of sound, components of touch) and mind as the sixth institution; this means, expressly, that there can be a third thing called "awareness" and a third thing called "experiencer who is aware of the experience". This awareness is deeply related to "no-self" because it does not judge the experience with craving or aversion.

Clearly, the experience arises and is known by mind, but there is a third thing calls Sati what is the "real experiencer of the experience" that sits apart from the experience and which can be aware of the experience in 4 levels. (Maha Sathipatthana Sutta.)

  1. Body
  2. Sensations (Changes of the body mind.)
  3. Mind,
  4. Contents of the mind. (Changes of the body mind.)

To be aware of these four levels one needs to cultivate equanimity toward Craving and Aversion. This is Called Vipassana which is different from the way of reacting with Craving and Aversion. This is the state of being aware and equanimous to the complete experience of here and now. This is the way of Buddhism, with regards to mind and the ultimate nature of minds (and persons).

Mortality of the mind

Due to the mind–body problem, a lot of interest and debate surrounds the question of what happens to one's conscious mind as one's body dies. During brain death all brain function permanently ceases. According to some neuroscientific views which see these processes as the physical basis of mental phenomena, the mind fails to survive brain death and ceases to exist. This permanent loss of consciousness after death is sometimes called "eternal oblivion". The belief that some spiritual or incorporeal component (soul) exists and that it is preserved after death is described by the term "afterlife".

In pseudoscience


Parapsychology is a study of certain types of paranormal phenomena, or of phenomena which appear to be paranormal but it does not have any scientific basis [68] for instance precognition, telekinesis and telepathy.

The term is based on the Greek para (beside/beyond), psyche (soul/mind), and logos (account/explanation) and was coined by psychologist Max Dessoir in or before 1889.[69] J.B. Rhine tried to popularize "parapsychology" using a fraudulent techniques as a replacement for the earlier term "psychical research", during a shift in methodologies which brought experimental methods to the study of psychic phenomena.[69] Parapsychology is not accepted among the scientific community as science, as psychic abilities have not been demonstrated to exist.[70][71][72][73][74] The status of parapsychology as a science has also been disputed,[75] with many scientists regarding the discipline as pseudoscience.[76][77][78]

See also

  • Outline of human intelligence – topic tree presenting the traits, capacities, models, and research fields of human intelligence, and more.
  • Outline of thought – topic tree that identifies many types of thoughts, types of thinking, aspects of thought, related fields, and more.


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External links

A Beautiful Mind (film)

A Beautiful Mind is a 2001 American biographical drama film based on the life of John Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics. The film was directed by Ron Howard, from a screenplay written by Akiva Goldsman. It was inspired by a bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-nominated 1998 book of the same name by Sylvia Nasar. The film stars Russell Crowe, along with Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, Paul Bettany, Adam Goldberg, Judd Hirsch, Josh Lucas, Anthony Rapp, and Christopher Plummer in supporting roles. The story begins in Nash's days as a graduate student at Princeton University. Early in the film, Nash begins to develop paranoid schizophrenia and endures delusional episodes while watching the burden his condition brings on wife Alicia and friends.

The film opened in the United States cinemas on December 21, 2001. It went on to gross over $313 million worldwide and won four Academy Awards, for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress. It was also nominated for Best Actor, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup and Best Original Score.It was well received by critics, but has been criticized for its inaccurate portrayal of some aspects of Nash's life, especially his other family and a son born out of wedlock. However, the filmmakers have stated that the film was not meant to be a literal representation of Nash's life.

Anne-Marie (singer)

Anne-Marie Rose Nicholson (born 7 April 1991) is an English singer-songwriter. She has attained several charting singles on the UK Singles Chart, including Clean Bandit's "Rockabye", featuring Sean Paul, which peaked at number one, as well as "Alarm", "Ciao Adios", "Friends" and "2002". Her debut studio album Speak Your Mind was released on 27 April 2018, and peaked at number three on the UK Albums Chart. She has been nominated for four awards at the 2019 Brit Awards, including Best British Female Solo Artist.


Brainwashing (also known as mind control, menticide, coercive persuasion, thought control, thought reform, and re-education) is the concept that the human mind can be altered or controlled by certain psychological techniques. Brainwashing is said to reduce its subject’s ability to think critically or independently, to allow the introduction of new, unwanted thoughts and ideas into the subject’s mind, as well as to change his or her attitudes, values, and beliefs.The concept of brainwashing was originally developed in the 1950s to explain how the Chinese government appeared to make people cooperate with them. Advocates of the concept also looked at Nazi Germany, at some criminal cases in the United States, and at the actions of human traffickers. It was later applied by Margaret Singer, Philip Zimbardo and some others in the anti-cult movement to explain conversions to some new religious movements and other groups. This resulted in scientific and legal debate with Eileen Barker, James Richardson, and other scholars, as well as legal experts, rejecting at least the popular understanding of brainwashing.Other views have been expressed by scholars including: Dick Anthony, Robert Cialdini, Stanley A. Deetz, Michael J. Freeman, Robert Jay Lifton, Joost Meerloo, Daniel Romanovsky, Kathleen Taylor, Louis Jolyon West, and Benjamin Zablocki. The concept of brainwashing is sometimes involved in legal cases, especially regarding child custody; and is also a theme in science fiction and in criticism of modern political and corporate culture. Although the term appears in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) of the American Psychiatric Association brainwashing is not accepted as scientific fact.


Consciousness is the state or quality of awareness or of being aware of an external object or something within oneself. It has been defined variously in terms of sentience, awareness, qualia, subjectivity, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood or soul, the fact that there is something "that it is like" to "have" or "be" it, and the executive control system of the mind. Despite the difficulty in definition, many philosophers believe that there is a broadly shared underlying intuition about what consciousness is. As Max Velmans and Susan Schneider wrote in The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness: "Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives."Western philosophers, since the time of Descartes and Locke, have struggled to comprehend the nature of consciousness and identify its essential properties. Issues of concern in the philosophy of consciousness include whether the concept is fundamentally coherent; whether consciousness can ever be explained mechanistically; whether non-human consciousness exists and if so how it can be recognized; how consciousness relates to language; whether consciousness can be understood in a way that does not require a dualistic distinction between mental and physical states or properties; and whether it may ever be possible for computing machines like computers or robots to be conscious, a topic studied in the field of artificial intelligence.

Thanks to developments in technology over the past few decades, consciousness has become a significant topic of interdisciplinary research in cognitive science, with significant contributions from fields such as psychology, anthropology, neuropsychology and neuroscience. The primary focus is on understanding what it means biologically and psychologically for information to be present in consciousness—that is, on determining the neural and psychological correlates of consciousness. The majority of experimental studies assess consciousness in humans by asking subjects for a verbal report of their experiences (e.g., "tell me if you notice anything when I do this"). Issues of interest include phenomena such as subliminal perception, blindsight, denial of impairment, and altered states of consciousness produced by alcohol and other drugs, or spiritual or meditative techniques.

In medicine, consciousness is assessed by observing a patient's arousal and responsiveness, and can be seen as a continuum of states ranging from full alertness and comprehension, through disorientation, delirium, loss of meaningful communication, and finally loss of movement in response to painful stimuli. Issues of practical concern include how the presence of consciousness can be assessed in severely ill, comatose, or anesthetized people, and how to treat conditions in which consciousness is impaired or disrupted. The degree of consciousness is measured by standardized behavior observation scales such as the Glasgow Coma Scale.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a 2004 American science fiction romantic comedy film written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Michel Gondry. It follows an estranged couple who have erased each other from their memories, then re-met and started dating again. Pierre Bismuth created the story with Kaufman and Gondry. The ensemble cast includes Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood, and Tom Wilkinson. The title of the film is a quotation from the 1717 poem Eloisa to Abelard by Alexander Pope.

The film uses elements of the psychological thriller and a nonlinear narrative to explore the nature of memory and romantic love. It opened in North America to wide acclaim on March 19, 2004, and grossed over $70 million worldwide. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and Winslet received a nomination for Academy Award for Best Actress. The film developed a cult following in the years after its release and has come to be regarded by many critics as one of the greatest films of the 21st century.

Infinity Gems

The Infinity Gems (originally referred to as Soul Gems and later as Infinity Stones) are six gems appearing in Marvel Comics. The six gems are the Mind, Soul, Space, Power, Time and Reality Gems. In later storylines, crossovers and other media, a seventh gem has also been included. The Gems have been used by various characters in the Marvel Universe.

The Gems play a prominent role in the first three phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where they are referred to as the Infinity Stones.


Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without proof, evidence, or conscious reasoning, or without understanding how the knowledge was acquired. Different writers give the word "intuition" a great variety of different meanings, ranging from direct access to unconscious knowledge, unconscious cognition, inner sensing, inner insight to unconscious pattern-recognition and the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning.The word intuition comes from the Latin verb intueri translated as "consider" or from the late middle English word intuit, "to contemplate".

Mind map

A mind map is a diagram used to visually organize information. A mind map is hierarchical and shows relationships among pieces of the whole. It is often created around a single concept, drawn as an image in the center of a blank page, to which associated representations of ideas such as images, words and parts of words are added. Major ideas are connected directly to the central concept, and other ideas branch out from those major ideas.

Mind maps can also be drawn by hand, either as "rough notes" during a lecture, meeting or planning session, for example, or as higher quality pictures when more time is available. Mind maps are considered to be a type of spider diagram. A similar concept in the 1970s was "idea sun bursting".

Mind–body dualism

Mind–body dualism, or mind–body duality, is a view in the philosophy of mind that mental phenomena are, in some respects, non-physical, or that the mind and body are distinct and separable. Thus, it encompasses a set of views about the relationship between mind and matter, and between subject and object, and is contrasted with other positions, such as physicalism and enactivism, in the mind–body problem.Aristotle shared Plato's view of multiple souls and further elaborated a hierarchical arrangement, corresponding to the distinctive functions of plants, animals, and people: a nutritive soul of growth and metabolism that all three share; a perceptive soul of pain, pleasure, and desire that only people and other animals share; and the faculty of reason that is unique to people only. In this view, a soul is the hylomorphic form of a viable organism, wherein each level of the hierarchy formally supervenes upon the substance of the preceding level. Thus, for Aristotle, all three souls perish when the living organism dies. For Plato however, the soul was not dependent on the physical body; he believed in metempsychosis, the migration of the soul to a new physical body.Dualism is closely associated with the thought of René Descartes (1641), which holds that the mind is a nonphysical—and therefore, non-spatial—substance. Descartes clearly identified the mind with consciousness and self-awareness and distinguished this from the brain as the seat of intelligence. Hence, he was the first to formulate the mind–body problem in the form in which it exists today. Dualism is contrasted with various kinds of monism. Substance dualism is contrasted with all forms of materialism, but property dualism may be considered a form of emergent materialism or non-reductive physicalism in some sense.


Nootropics ( noh-ə-TROP-iks) (colloquial: smart drugs and cognitive enhancers) are drugs, supplements, and other substances that may improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, or motivation, in healthy individuals. While many substances are purported to improve cognition, research is at a preliminary stage as of 2018, and the effects of the majority of these agents are not fully determined.

The use of cognition-enhancing drugs by healthy individuals in the absence of a medical indication spans numerous controversial issues, including the ethics and fairness of their use, concerns over adverse effects, and the diversion of prescription drugs for nonmedical uses, among others. Nonetheless, the international sales of cognition-enhancing supplements exceeded US$1 billion in 2015 when global demand for these compounds grew.The word nootropic was coined in 1972 by a Romanian psychologist and chemist, Corneliu E. Giurgea, from the Greek words νοῦς (nous), or "mind", and τρέπειν (trepein), meaning to bend or turn.

Philosophy of mind

Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the ontology, nature, and relationship of the mind to the body. The mind–body problem is a paradigm issue in philosophy of mind, although other issues are addressed, such as the hard problem of consciousness, and the nature of particular mental states. Aspects of the mind that are studied include mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness, the ontology of the mind, the nature of thought, and the relationship of the mind to the body.

Dualism and monism are the two central schools of thought on the mind–body problem, although nuanced views have arisen that do not fit one or the other category neatly. Dualism finds its entry into Western philosophy thanks to René Descartes in the 17th century. Substance dualists like Descartes argue that the mind is an independently existing substance, whereas property dualists maintain that the mind is a group of independent properties that emerge from and cannot be reduced to the brain, but that it is not a distinct substance.Monism is the position that mind and body are not ontologically distinct entities (independent substances). This view was first advocated in Western philosophy by Parmenides in the 5th century BCE and was later espoused by the 17th century rationalist Baruch Spinoza. Physicalists argue that only entities postulated by physical theory exist, and that mental processes will eventually be explained in terms of these entities as physical theory continues to evolve. Physicalists maintain various positions on the prospects of reducing mental properties to physical properties (many of whom adopt compatible forms of property dualism), and the ontological status of such mental properties remains unclear. Idealists maintain that the mind is all that exists and that the external world is either mental itself, or an illusion created by the mind. Neutral monists such as Ernst Mach and William James argue that events in the world can be thought of as either mental (psychological) or physical depending on the network of relationships into which they enter, and dual-aspect monists such as Spinoza adhere to the position that there is some other, neutral substance, and that both matter and mind are properties of this unknown substance. The most common monisms in the 20th and 21st centuries have all been variations of physicalism; these positions include behaviorism, the type identity theory, anomalous monism and functionalism.Most modern philosophers of mind adopt either a reductive or non-reductive physicalist position, maintaining in their different ways that the mind is not something separate from the body. These approaches have been particularly influential in the sciences, especially in the fields of sociobiology, computer science (specifically, artificial intelligence), evolutionary psychology and the various neurosciences. Reductive physicalists assert that all mental states and properties will eventually be explained by scientific accounts of physiological processes and states. Non-reductive physicalists argue that although the mind is not a separate substance, mental properties supervene on physical properties, or that the predicates and vocabulary used in mental descriptions and explanations are indispensable, and cannot be reduced to the language and lower-level explanations of physical science. Continued neuroscientific progress has helped to clarify some of these issues; however, they are far from being resolved. Modern philosophers of mind continue to ask how the subjective qualities and the intentionality of mental states and properties can be explained in naturalistic terms.

Project MKUltra

Project MKUltra, also called the CIA mind control program, is the code name given to a program of experiments on human subjects that were designed and undertaken by the United States Central Intelligence Agency—and which were, at times, illegal. Experiments on humans were intended to identify and develop drugs and procedures to be used in interrogations in order to weaken the individual and force confessions through mind control. The project was organized through the Office of Scientific Intelligence of the CIA and coordinated with the U.S. Army Biological Warfare Laboratories.The operation was officially sanctioned in 1953, was reduced in scope in 1964, further curtailed in 1967, and recorded to be halted in 1973. There remains controversy over whether this operation ever ended, or continues presently. The program engaged in many illegal activities, including the use of U.S. and Canadian citizens as its unwitting test subjects, which led to controversy regarding its legitimacy. MKUltra used numerous methods to manipulate people's mental states and alter brain functions, including the surreptitious administration of drugs (especially LSD) and other chemicals, hypnosis, sensory deprivation, isolation, verbal and sexual abuse (including the sexual abuse of children), and other forms of torture.The scope of Project MKUltra was broad with research undertaken at 80 institutions, including colleges and universities, hospitals, prisons, and pharmaceutical companies. The CIA operated through these institutions using front organizations, although sometimes top officials at these institutions were aware of the CIA's involvement.Project MKUltra was first brought to public attention in 1975 by the Church Committee of the United States Congress and Gerald Ford's United States President's Commission on CIA activities within the United States. Investigative efforts were hampered by the fact that CIA Director Richard Helms ordered all MKUltra files to be destroyed in 1973; the Church Committee and Rockefeller Commission investigations relied on the sworn testimony of direct participants and on the relatively small number of documents that survived Helms's destruction order. In 1977, a Freedom of Information Act request uncovered a cache of 20,000 documents relating to project MKUltra which led to Senate hearings later that year. Some surviving information regarding MKUltra was declassified in July 2001. In December 2018, declassified documents included a letter to an unidentified doctor discussing work on six dogs made to run, turn and stop via remote control and brain implants.

Psychoactive drug

A psychoactive drug, psychopharmaceutical, or psychotropic is a chemical substance that changes brain function and results in alterations in perception, mood, consciousness, cognition, or behavior. These substances may be used medically; recreationally; to purposefully improve performance or alter one's consciousness; as entheogens; for ritual, spiritual, or shamanic purposes; or for research. Some categories of psychoactive drugs, which have therapeutic value, are prescribed by physicians and other healthcare practitioners. Examples include anesthetics, analgesics, anticonvulsant and antiparkinsonian drugs as well as medications used to treat neuropsychiatric disorders, such as antidepressants, anxiolytics, antipsychotics, and stimulant medications. Some psychoactive substances may be used in the detoxification and rehabilitation programs for persons dependent on or addicted to other psychoactive drugs.

Psychoactive substances often bring about subjective (although these may be objectively observed) changes in consciousness and mood that the user may find rewarding and pleasant (e.g., euphoria or a sense of relaxation) or advantageous (e.g. increased alertness) and are thus reinforcing. Substances which are both rewarding and positively reinforcing have the potential to induce a state of addiction – compulsive drug use despite negative consequences. In addition, sustained use of some substances may produce physical or psychological dependence or both, associated with somatic or psychological-emotional withdrawal states respectively. Drug rehabilitation attempts to reduce addiction, through a combination of psychotherapy, support groups, and other psychoactive substances. Conversely, certain psychoactive drugs may be so unpleasant that the person will never use the substance again. This is especially true of certain deliriants (e.g. Jimson weed), powerful dissociatives (e.g. Salvia divinorum), and classic psychedelics (e.g. LSD, psilocybin), in the form of a "bad trip".

Psychoactive drug misuse, dependence and addiction have resulted in legal measures and moral debate. Governmental controls on manufacture, supply and prescription attempt to reduce problematic medical drug use. Ethical concerns have also been raised about over-use of these drugs clinically, and about their marketing by manufacturers. Popular campaigns to allow certain recreational drug use (e.g. cannabis) are also ongoing.

Ray Charles

Ray Charles Robinson (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004), known professionally as Ray Charles, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and composer. Among friends and fellow musicians he preferred being called "Brother Ray". He was often referred to as "The Genius". Charles started losing his vision at the age of 5, and by 7 he was blind.

He pioneered the soul music genre during the 1950s by combining blues, rhythm and blues, and gospel styles into the music he recorded for Atlantic.He contributed to the integration of country music, rhythm and blues, and pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success on ABC Records, notably with his two Modern Sounds albums. While he was with ABC, Charles became one of the first black musicians to be granted artistic control by a mainstream record company.Charles cited Nat King Cole as a primary influence, but his music was also influenced by Louis Jordan and Charles Brown. He became friends with Quincy Jones. Their friendship lasted until the end of Charles's life. Frank Sinatra called Ray Charles "the only true genius in show business", although Charles downplayed this notion.In 2002, Rolling Stone ranked Charles number ten on its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time", and number two on their November 2008 list of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time". Billy Joel said, "This may sound like sacrilege, but I think Ray Charles was more important than Elvis Presley".


Solipsism ( (listen); from Latin solus, meaning 'alone', and ipse, meaning 'self') is the philosophical idea that only one's own mind is sure to exist. As an epistemological position, solipsism holds that knowledge of anything outside one's own mind is unsure; the external world and other minds cannot be known and might not exist outside the mind. As a metaphysical position, solipsism goes further to the conclusion that the world and other minds do not exist. This extreme position is claimed to be irrefutable, as the solipsist believes themself to be the only true authority, all others being creations of their own mind.


The soul, in many religious, philosophical, and mythological traditions, is the incorporeal essence of a living being. Soul or psyche (Ancient Greek: ψυχή psūkhḗ, of ψύχειν psū́khein, "to breathe") are the mental abilities of a living being: reason, character, feeling, consciousness, memory, perception, thinking, etc. Depending on the philosophical system, a soul can either be mortal or immortal. In Judeo-Christianity, only human beings have immortal souls (although immortality is disputed within Judaism and may have been influenced by Plato). For example, the Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas attributed "soul" (anima) to all organisms but argued that only human souls are immortal.Other religions (most notably Hinduism and Jainism) hold that all living things from the smallest bacterium to the largest of mammals are the souls themselves (Atman, jiva) and have their physical representative (the body) in the world. The actual self is the soul, while the body is only a mechanism to experience the karma of that life. Thus if we see a tiger then there is a self-conscious identity residing in it (the soul), and a physical representative (the whole body of the tiger, which is observable) in the world. Some teach that even non-biological entities (such as rivers and mountains) possess souls. This belief is called animism. Greek philosophers, such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, understood that the soul (ψυχή psūchê) must have a logical faculty, the exercise of which was the most divine of human actions. At his defense trial, Socrates even summarized his teaching as nothing other than an exhortation for his fellow Athenians to excel in matters of the psyche since all bodily goods are dependent on such excellence (Apology 30a–b).

The current consensus of modern science is that there is no evidence to support the existence of the soul when traditionally defined as the spiritual breath of the body. In metaphysics, the concept of "Soul" may be equated with that of "Mind" in order to refer to the consciousness and intellect of the individual.

The Game (mind game)

The Game is a mental game where the objective is to avoid thinking about The Game itself. Thinking about The Game constitutes a loss, which must be announced each time it occurs. It is impossible to win most versions of The Game. Depending on the variation of The Game, the whole world, or all those aware of the game, are playing it all the time. Tactics have been developed to increase the number of people aware of The Game and thereby increase the number of losses.

Wonders of the World

Various lists of the Wonders of the World have been compiled from antiquity to the present day, to catalogue the world's most spectacular natural wonders and manmade structures.

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is the first known list of the most remarkable creations of classical antiquity; it was based on guidebooks popular among Hellenic sightseers and only includes works located around the Mediterranean rim and in Mesopotamia. The number seven was chosen because the Greeks believed it represented perfection and plenty, and because it was the number of the five planets known anciently, plus the sun and moon.

Many similar lists have been made.

Zayn Malik

Zain Javadd "Zayn" Malik (, Urdu: زین جواد ملک‬‎; born 12 January 1993), known mononymously as Zayn, is an English singer and songwriter. Born and raised in Bradford, West Yorkshire, Malik auditioned as a solo contestant for the British music competition The X Factor in 2010. After being eliminated as a solo performer, Malik was brought back into the competition, along with four other contestants, to form the boy band that would become known as One Direction. Malik left the group in March 2015 and subsequently signed a solo recording contract with RCA Records.

Adopting a more alternative R&B music style with his debut studio album Mind of Mine (2016) and its lead single, "Pillowtalk", Malik became the first British male artist to debut at number one in both the UK and US with a debut single and debut album. Malik is the recipient of several accolades, including an American Music Award, Billboard Music Award and MTV Video Music Award. In December 2018, he released his second studio album, Icarus Falls.

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