mindThe mind is an abstract concept used to characterize thoughts, feelings, subjective states, and self-awareness that presumably arise from the brain.

What Is the Mind?

The mind has been a subject of debate for centuries. Philosopher Rene Descartes first developed the concept of dualism—a dichotomy between the mind and body or mind and matter—that has posed challenges to philosophers, physiologists, and psychologists ever since.

The products of the mind are highly abstract, and many people have struggled with the idea that these abstract concepts, ideas, beliefs, and feelings could arise directly from the very concrete functioning of the brain. However, most people now accept that the brain gives rise to the mind, though this is by no means a unanimous opinion. Some religions emphasize the primacy of the soul as a source of the mind, while some philosophers have argued that the brain alone cannot fully account for the actions of the mind. While conscious mind states can, to a certain extent, now be mapped on the brain, it is still impossible to tell what a person is thinking based on brain imaging.

The Mind and Psychology

The mind is the primary domain of psychology. From rectifying problematic thought patterns to uncovering the workings of memory, mental illness, and emotions, psychology is heavily involved in the analysis of the mind. For generations, philosophers were the primary people studying the mind, but much philosophy of mind has now become the domain of psychology. Cognitive psychologists and neuropsychologists in particular are interested in how brain states affect mind states.

Many mental health professionals acknowledge that there are layers of consciousness to the mind and are interested in accessing the deeper workings of the mind. Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, for example, focused heavily on the unconscious mind and the ways in which it influences the conscious ego.


  1. Nagel, T. (2012). Mind and cosmos: Why the materialist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is almost certainly false. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  2. The mind/brain identity theory. (2000, January 12). Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/mind-identity/

Last Updated: 08-12-2015

  • Leave a Comment
  • Jan p.

    November 26th, 2016 at 2:04 PM

    I have been out of prison for 2 years after doing 14! I met a wonderful man, i adore him and likewise! Lately i have told a string of unnecessary and terrible lies, and i dont know why! What happens when a woman does so much time? Please Help! Bless you

  • Deborah

    June 1st, 2020 at 5:53 PM

    This is interesting. Trying to really marry the brain, mind and soul

  • janet

    July 22nd, 2022 at 4:20 PM

    I think your afraid your going to loose him if you just simply acted as your self. You may think your not smart enough or good enough to hold on to him so if you lie and make him think your different then he would want to continue with the relationship. Mostly insecurity and fear come from false beliefs and unforgiveness of self. 12 steps of AA / recovery programs can help gain a new perspective on our true nature. You are not alone or unique in this behavior. I have made believe and acted out in codependent ways myself. I did the work to uncover/ discover and recover my true identity and one that doesn’t live in fear of what might happen and what if this or that happens but live in the now with peace and happiness coming from within and not looking for people/ places or things to fill me in.

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