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  Mind encompasses a very wide range of mental phenomena and definitions. Mind, as with psyche, includes in its definition physical and non-physical aspects, the brain, consciousness, the unconscious, the subconscious and the soul. It encompasses all aspects of rationality—understanding, intellect, conception, abstraction and reasoning as well as the cognitive skills of perception and insight. The word personality is also often used synonymously with mind. From a psychodynamic point of view, mind can be described in terms of dynamic processes. These processes are the mental activities of response and adaption which are connected together in sequences.

Psychology, as the science of mind, tends to look at mind as a series of non-physical processes which are separate from the body. This is confused in Freud: he talks of ‘mental apparatus’ and uses biological models to describe mental activities. Although mind is connected to bodily functions (senses, grey matter, etc.) and is seen to have power over the body, for example in hysteria, psychology does not have to be too concerned with the body in its description of the constructions and functions of the mind. (It is challenged in this in examples of aphasia, apraxia and agnosia, and in the physical damage to the function of mind in accidents, strokes, and under the surgeon\'s knife.)

The model of artificial intelligence in computers is used to explain the mind\'s relationship to the body and its ability to control it in hysteria. A robot can ‘visualize’ the arm and stop its movement; in the case of hysteria, the mind paralyses movement.

Definitions of mind in psychology can be divided into mechanistic and humanistic views. On the one hand the workings of the mind can be accessed by observing behaviour and exploring a person\'s cognitive responses; on the other hand they can be understood by making theoretical connections about the unconscious mechanisms. These opposing views roughly correspond to the empiricist/rationalist divide in philosophy. Phenomenology, as a model of the mind, also tries (as does the computational view) to answer the mind/body divide. MJ

Further reading Henri F. Ellenberger, The Discovery of the Unconscious.



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