Mental processes or mental functions are terms often used interchangeably to mean such functions or processes as perception, introspection, memory, creativity, imagination, idea, belief, reasoning, volition, and emotion—in other words, all the things that we can do with our mind. Sometimes the term cognitive processes is used instead of mental processes; however, the term cognitive tends to have specific implications.
A specific instance of engaging in a cognitive process is a mental event. The event of perceiving something is, of course, different from the entire process, or capacity of perception—one's ability to perceive things. In other words, an instance of perceiving is different from the ability that makes those instances possible.
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