|Approaches and Types|
Spatial basic operating scheme
Operations of memory
Temporal basic operating scheme
Joy Paul Guilford
Codrin Stefan Tapu
 HistorySince Antiquity, mental operations, more precisely, formal operations of reasoning have been the object of logic.
In 1903, Pierre Janet described two types of mental operations:
- reality operations - mental operations under the control of logic;
- disinterested operations - escaping the control of reason.
J. P. Guilford's Structure of Intellect model described up to 180 different intellectual abilities organized along three dimensions—Operations, Content, and Products.
 Logical viewAccording to most logicians, the three primary mental operations are apprehension (understanding), judgement, and inference.
Apprehension is the mental operation by which an idea is formed in the mind. If you were to think of a sunset or a baseball, the action of forming that picture in your mind is apprehension. The verbal expression of apprehension is called a term.
Judgment is the mental operation by which we predicate something of a subject. Were you to think, "That sunset is beautiful" or "Baseball is the all-American sport" is to make a judgment. The verbal expression of judgment is the statement (or proposition).
Inference (or reasoning) is the mental operation by which we draw conclusions from other information. If you were to think, "I like to look at that sunset, because I enjoy beautiful things, and that sunset is beautiful" you would be reasoning. The verbal expression of reasoning is the logical argument.
 Developmental viewJean Piaget identifies several mental operations of the concrete operational stage of cognitive development:
- Seriation—the ability to sort objects in an order according to size, shape, or any other characteristic. For example, if given different-shaded objects they may make a color gradient.
- Transitivity—The ability to recognize logical relationships among elements in a serial order, and perform 'transitive inferences' (for example, If A is taller than B, and B is taller than C, then A must be taller than C).
- Classification—the ability to name and identify sets of objects according to appearance, size or other characteristic, including the idea that one set of objects can include another.
- Decentering—where the child takes into account multiple aspects of a problem to solve it. For example, the child will no longer perceive an exceptionally wide but short cup to contain less than a normally-wide, taller cup.
- Reversibility—the child understands that numbers or objects can be changed, then returned to their original state. For this reason, a child will be able to rapidly determine that if 4+4 equals t, t−4 will equal 4, the original quantity.
- Conservation—understanding that quantity, length or number of items is unrelated to the arrangement or appearance of the object or items.
 Psychometric viewJ. P. Guilford's Structure of Intellect (SI) theory, an individual's performance on intelligence tests can be traced back to the underlying mental abilities or factors of intelligence. SI theory comprises multiple intellectual abilities organized along three dimensions—Operations, Content, and Products.
- Operations dimension
- Content dimension
- Product dimension
Therefore, according to Guilford there are 6 x 5 x 6 = 180 intellectual abilities or factors. Each ability stands for a particular operation in a particular content area and results in a specific product, such as Comprehension of Figural Units or Evaluation of Semantic Implications.
 Cognitive view Giulio Benedetti describes several types of mental operations:
- attentional focalization - focusing attention on something;
- attentional discarding - stopping our attention on an object;
- spatial basic operating scheme (attentional movement) - passing attention from one part to another of the attentional field;
- operation of representation - evoking a mental image;
- operation of comparison;
- operations of memory;
- temporal basic operating scheme - variation of attentional focalization.
 Systems viewmental processes, the following types of mental operations have been described:
- cognitive operations - production and verbalization of images and thoughts;
- practical operations, pertaining to executive functions;
- affective operations - affective evaluation of the world and self;
- expressive operations (emotional expression);
- perceptual-motor operations (e.g., eye-hand coordination);
- regulative operations - verbalization of needs, motives and feelings, and self-control.
 See also
- Hobhouse, LT (2005). The Theory of Knowledge: A Contribution to Some Problems of Logic and Metaphysics, Kessinger Publishing, p. 223. ISBN 978-1-4179-6206-8.
- Valsiner, Jaan; van der Veer, René (2000). The social mind: construction of the idea. Cambridge University Press, pp. 103-106. ISBN 0-521-58973-8.
- Ginsburg, Herbert; Opper, Sylvia (1979). Piaget's Theory of Intellectual Development. Prentice Hall, p. 152. ISBN 0-13-675140-7.
- Guilford, Joy Paul (1980). Some changes in the structure of intellect model. Educational and Psychological Measurement 48: 1-4.
- Guilford, Joy Paul (1950). Creativity. American Psychologist 5 (9): 444-454.
- Ceccato, Silvio (1961). Linguistic Analysis and Programming for Mechanical Translation. G. Feltrinelli.
- Benedetti, Giulio (2005). "Basic mental operations which make up mental categories" (PDF). www.mind-consciousness-language.com
- Tapu, Codrin Stefan (2001). Hypostatic Personality: Psychopathology of Doing and Being Made. Premier, pp. 18-19. ISBN 973-8030-59-5.