Thought is a mental process which allows an individual to model the world, and so to deal with it effectively according to their goals, plans, ends and desires. Words referring to similar concepts and processes include cognition, idea, and imagination. Thinking involves the cerebral manipulation of information, as when we form concepts, engage in problem solving, reasoning and making decisions. Thinking is a higher cognitive function and the analysis of thinking processes is part of cognitive psychology.
Memory is an organism’s ability to store, retain, and subsequently recall information. Although traditional studies of memory began in the realms of philosophy, the late nineteenth and early twentieth century put memory within the paradigms of cognitive psychology. In recent decades, it has become one of the principal pillars of a new branch of science called cognitive neuroscience, a marriage between cognitive psychology and neuroscience.
Imagination is accepted as the innate ability and process to invent partial or complete personal realms the mind derives from sense perceptions of the shared world. The term is technically used in psychology for the process of reviving in the mind percepts of objects formerly given in sense perception. Imagined images are seen with the “mind’s eye”. One hypothesis for the evolution of human imagination is that it allowed conscious beings to solve problems, and hence increase an individual’s fitness, by use of mental simulation.
Consciousness in mammals including 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. Phenomenal consciousness has many different experienced qualities, often referred to as qualia.