Thinking is a mental process of the mediated and generalized reflection of objective reality mentality. Thinking differs from all other informative processes in the fact that its result it becomes subjective or objectively new knowledge.
Allocation of thinking as separate mental process very conditionally – it penetrates itself all other cognitive processes: perception, attention, memory. But if all other processes are connected with touch reflection of objects and phenomena of reality, then thinking opens communications between them which are not given in direct sensory perception. Result of touch perception – the image correlated to a concrete subject, result of thinking – a concept, the generalized reflection of the whole category of objects.
There are various levels of thinking. Elementary level – the practical thinking subdivided into evident and effective and evident and figurative. The solution of cogitative tasks in the course of interaction with real objects is characteristic of evident and effective thinking. It is the very first type of thinking which is formed at the child.
Evident and figurative thinking "is not tied" to real objects any more, but interacts with their images kept by random access and long-term memory.
Both types of practical thinking are in embryo presented also at the highest animals. Theoretical thinking represents higher level inherent only in the person. It is subdivided into figurative and conceptual. Theoretical figurative thinking, as well as evident and effective, operates with the images kept by memory. The main difference from evident and effective thinking is that images are taken from long-term memory and will creatively be transformed. Such thinking plays a major role in activity of artists, writers and other people of art. If in theoretical figurative thinking the communication with images of perception still remains, in thinking conceptual it if is not lost completely, becomes very mediated. Theoretical thinking operates not images, but concepts. Concepts in itself are result of thinking too: holds images of a set of similar objects in remembrance, thinking distinguishes their general signs on the basis of which the generalized designation of a class of objects is born. The word acts as expression of a concept therefore theoretical thinking is impossible without speech. The concept can possess bigger them smaller degree of generality. For example, the word "cat" generalizes all cats which the person saw or can ever see, but nevertheless this word allows to present a certain specific cat which the person once and somewhere perceived by means of sense organs. The concept "animal" possesses bigger degree of generality: there is no "animal in general", it is impossible to see it, but it does not prevent conceptual thinking to operate with this concept. Thus, theoretical conceptual thinking represents the reflection of reality abstracted from concrete images and is the highest form of thinking.