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Old 19th-May-2017, 07:36 AM   #1
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Default How is thought different from memory?

aren't they basically the same

thinking and memory?

or are they fundamentally different. Without memory, is thought possible?
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Old 19th-May-2017, 07:48 AM   #2
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Default Re: How is thought different from memory?

Depends on the type of memory.

Sensory memory is required for intake of information. The information needs to be preserved between sensory and perceptual processes.

Working memory has heavy overlap with thought. If it's conscious, it's in your working memory. But not all thought is conscious.

Long term memory is a system of storage, maintenance, and retrieval. Thought helps with storage, and may be necessary for retrieval, but afaik is nothing to do with maintenance?

So kind of? You need memory to bring in external information, and you also need memory to access internal information. You can't have a thought without having accessed a memory somehow. I think you can acquire memories passively without anything resembling thought, however.
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Old 19th-May-2017, 08:03 AM   #3
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Default Re: How is thought different from memory?

What makes you suppose that they are the same?

I guess one could say that anything which comes into the mind is coming from somewhere, and you could call that somewhere the memory, but I think that's stretching the term a bit too far.

Thinking is activity occurring in the mind. It can be reasoning, it can be a flow of perceptions, imagination, anything like that. (note: I'm assuming we're defining thinking in the general sense, not the Jungian sense)

Thinking would only be strictly called memory if you're engaged in the act of remembering something. Calling a general train of thought, like "I think I will do exercise today", "why is the world such a mess? I guess it comes from the general flaws of humanity being worked out in externalised formats" - what is memory about those? Remembering what exercise is, and remembering that the world is a mess, and remembering the form of thought which would postulate it as occurring due to some process? Maybe. Maybe every instance of the use of a word is memory because we are remembering what that word means. But clearly there are other dimensions to the thought which cannot be put under the banner of memory.
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Old 19th-May-2017, 08:24 AM   #4
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Default Re: How is thought different from memory?

Do you think it would be fair to say that memory is required for all thought, but is not all of thought? Like all humans require oxygen, but it would be silly to equate the two.

Hmmm what about instinct? It's never acquired, does that count as memory?
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Old 19th-May-2017, 08:31 AM   #5
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Default Re: How is thought different from memory?

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Originally Posted by Hadoblado View Post
Do you think it would be fair to say that memory is required for all thought, but is not all of thought? Like all humans require oxygen, but it would be silly to equate the two.

Hmmm what about instinct? It's never acquired, does that count as memory?
I don't think it would be required for all thought, but I guess it depends on what exactly counts as memory. It just depends on there being content from somewhere that enters the psyche. As you mentioned, there are certain things that are never acquired (unless we could say they are acquired while a foetus), and I suspect that there are ways of thinking that could also operate independently of anything acquired. It's just that the contents naturally tend to have come from somewhere. I think I'll go around in circles if I think about this any more haha.
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Old 19th-May-2017, 08:42 AM   #6
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Default Re: How is thought different from memory?

Terence McKenna said half the time people think they're thinking, they're actually listening, this listening is more along the lines of what memory is if it's ruminating over detail to listen to the conclusion. You're just both using the mind to use both abilities. Thinking can hurt and takes more effort. You do sometimes want to try too hard to think.

Some lower animals probably don't think and just use a muscle memory and instinct, which incorporates values from memory. Unfortunately, only in higher animals is thinking using the mind probable.

They are two separate things altogether utilizing the same device. You need a short term memory at least if you want to think through something, that's the short uncomplicated answer.
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Old 19th-May-2017, 06:23 PM   #7
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Default Re: How is thought different from memory?

Memory is using existing tool, thinking is creating a new tool, which may be just adjusting of an old tool.
Say you walk, you take an action you remember and use it, now lets take you the moon, you take your walk action memory and then in simple terms you adjust it to moon walk, probable adding some new parts only for low gravity walk, the process of learning this new action is thinking.
In the end moon walk is another memory.
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Old 20th-May-2017, 09:13 AM   #8
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Default Re: How is thought different from memory?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Artsu Tharaz View Post
What makes you suppose that they are the same?

I guess one could say that anything which comes into the mind is coming from somewhere, and you could call that somewhere the memory, but I think that's stretching the term a bit too far.

Thinking is activity occurring in the mind. It can be reasoning, it can be a flow of perceptions, imagination, anything like that. (note: I'm assuming we're defining thinking in the general sense, not the Jungian sense)

Thinking would only be strictly called memory if you're engaged in the act of remembering something. Calling a general train of thought, like "I think I will do exercise today", "why is the world such a mess? I guess it comes from the general flaws of humanity being worked out in externalised formats" - what is memory about those? Remembering what exercise is, and remembering that the world is a mess, and remembering the form of thought which would postulate it as occurring due to some process? Maybe. Maybe every instance of the use of a word is memory because we are remembering what that word means. But clearly there are other dimensions to the thought which cannot be put under the banner of memory.
thinking could be the restructuring of knowledge and memory. It is based on past knowledge and memory.

imagine people with Amnesia or alzheimer, they have problems recalling and thinking about things.
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Old 20th-May-2017, 10:35 AM   #9
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Default Re: How is thought different from memory?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sushi View Post
thinking could be the restructuring of knowledge and memory. It is based on past knowledge and memory.

imagine people with Amnesia or alzheimer, they have problems recalling and thinking about things.
That sounds about right, but what about: thinking about something directly in front of you. This might use sensory memory, but not long term because it is in the moment. So you are then using the general structures of thoughts in a way which does not depend on what you remember. ?
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Old 20th-May-2017, 02:38 PM   #10
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Default Re: How is thought different from memory?

The brain is an associative pattern recognition engine, it looks for patterns in the data it receives which is very much like statistical analysis except instead of crunching numbers the synaptic connections between neurons vary in density.

I don't know exactly how that works but I believe in principle it works by favoring coincidences, for example if you were looking at a wall of apparently randomly blinking lights the first patterns you'll see are lights blinking at the same time. That's a very direct relationship, a slightly more abstract relationship would be lights blinking at different times but with the same frequency. Then you might start noticing patterns in the frequency relative to the position of each light on the board, maybe some areas of the board blink faster than others, maybe where there's one light blinking quickly the surrounding light blink slower. So on and so forth...

Where neurons observe coincidences the synapses grow denser, where they don't or the observation is being out-competed by a more significant coincidence the synapses atrophy. It's sort of Darwinian with the most significant (the most frequent and/or least hindered by competition) observations are assumed to be the most valid and therefore rise to prominence in the brain whereas observed coincidences that occur less often or which have a lot of competition get discarded with the rest of the "irrelevant" data.

TL;DR Memories are intrinsic to thought as the process of thought is essentially the re-weighting of associations between memories, although the term "memory" is deceptive because those weighted associations are themselves how the brain "stores" memories, which again is more like an imprint upon the cognitive structure rather than anything like what computer scientists would refer to as storage.
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Old 21st-May-2017, 08:30 PM   #11
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Default Re: How is thought different from memory?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Artsu Tharaz View Post
That sounds about right, but what about: thinking about something directly in front of you. This might use sensory memory, but not long term because it is in the moment. So you are then using the general structures of thoughts in a way which does not depend on what you remember. ?
You create a new memory for that.
And /or you still use memories, which is the difference between you and a baby.
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