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The Agile Mind$
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Wilma Koutstaal

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195367188

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195367188.001.0001

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Thoughts about Thoughts

Thoughts about Thoughts

The Control versus Noncontrol of Thinking

(p.282) 7 Thoughts about Thoughts
The Agile Mind

Wilma Koutstaal

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on levels of cognitive control versus noncontrol (e.g., spontaneity, automaticity) with respect to a person's “thoughts about thoughts”, involving higher level beliefs about cognition and oneself. It also focuses on the intersections of metacognition with more affectively and motivationally related states such as absorption and “flow”, and intolerance of ambiguity or uncertainty. These are considered particularly with respect to how these states may affect an individual's predominant level of representational specificity or level of control and, in turn, how these can bolster, or impede, agile thinking. Each of the sections in the chapter testifies, in different ways, to the complex “whole person” nature of mental agility and further illustrates how thinking is neither entirely generated by nor conclusively and concisely guided by that “small voice in the head” that we may associate with explicit, deliberate, directed thinking.

Keywords:   cognition, cognitive control, metacognition, representational specificity, agile thinking, whole person, mental agility

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