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Thinking. Not with the brain?!

New research by Gaëlle Vallée-Tourangeau, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, and Frédéric Vallée-Tourangeau, Professor of Psychology, is challenging the traditional idea that thinking takes place strictly in the head. Instead, they are seeking to demonstrate how our decision making is heavily influenced by the world around us – and that using tools or objects when problem solving can spark new ways of finding solutions.

The idea that thinking is done only in the head is a convenient illusion that does not reflect how problems are solved in reality, Professor Gaëlle Vallée-Tourangeau explained. “When you write or draw, the action itself makes you think differently”, she said. “In cognitive psychology you are trained to see the mind as a computer, but we’ve found that people don’t think that way in the real world. If you give them something to interact with they think in a different way”. (1)

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We tend to believe we think with our brain. Because?

Yes, the brain is active when we think. And so is our body. So?

Surely a computer CPU is working when the computer calculates. But is the CPU performing the calculation or simply facilitating it? Is the hardware or the software the one which “does” the computer’s thinking? And which hardware or software exactly? Is it the OS? Is it the application running? Or perhaps another application which is somehow integrated with the application running and feeding it with data?

Look at a problem from a broader angle and you will see that you were perhaps looking at a completely wrong problem in the first place.

Pay attention at the computer again.

Hey. Is it…?

What is that Wi-Fi adapter doing there?

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