A Practical Theory of Mind

The human mind is comprised, at minimum, of three basic functions: cognition, feelings, and volition. The cognitive component of the mind includes mental actions we traditionally link with "thinking" such as analyzing, comparing, assuming, inferring, questioning, contrasting, evaluating, etc. The cognitive function is concerned with conceptualizing, reasoning, and figuring things out.

The feeling (or emotional) function is that part of the mind which is our internal monitor. Because we are emotionally complex, humans experience a broad array of emotions from happiness to sadness, from enthusiasm to depression, from joy to sorrow, from satisfaction to frustration, and so on.

The third function of the mind, our ultimate driving force, is the formation of volition or will. Within this function lie our agendas, purposes, goals, values, desires, drives, motivations and commitments.

These three basic mental functions, albeit theoretically distinct, operate in a dynamic relationship to each other, ever influencing one another in mutual and reciprocal ways.

Despite the fact that cognition, feeling and volition are equally important functions of the mind, it is cognition, or thinking, which is the key to the other two. It is thinking that must be identified and altered - if our behavior is to alter.