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Human beings differ from animals in their ability to think. While both humans and animals are able to store and retrieve information in their brain, only human beings are able to use their brain for reasoning and problem solving. They are able to use the information available with them to take a decision. Studies have shown that different parts of  the brain are active during different types of thought processes.

The basic thought process involves pattern recognition, matching an existing pattern of experience with the new experiences and situations. Based on past experience a decision is taken. Thinking is categorized into reasoning and problem solving, though these 2 categories may overlap at times.


Reasoning is the process by which we come to a conclusion using the knowledge we have about a  particular topic or subject. Reasoning is further classified into deductive, abductive or inductive reasoning. Deductive reasoning uses logic to draw a conclusion from the facts available. However, at times the facts may not be valid. In inductive reasoning, we generalize based on our earlier experience. New experiences will affect inductive reasoning. We tried to infer the cause of an event or fact using abductive reasoning. At times, the wrong cause may be attributed


 Problem solving is trying to find a solution to an unfamiliar task , using the knowledge we already have. The Gestalt theory is one of  the most popular theories of  how problem solving actually works and categorizes it into productive and reproductive . Reproductive problem solving involves solving problems using past experience. It may hinder solving certain types of  problems since the person may have certain stereotypes and  is unable to see from a different perspective. In productive problem solving, the problem is restructured or remodeled, so that the person can  look at it differently.