1. What is a thought?
An idea or opinion produced by thinking or occurring suddenly in the mind: "Mrs Oliver's first thought was to get help”. Thought generally refers to any mental or intellectual activity involving an individual's subjective consciousness. It can refer either to the act of thinking or the resulting ideas or arrangements of ideas. Similar concepts include cognition, sentience, consciousness, and imagination.
2. What do scientists say?
As scientists adapt computers to be more like ‘thinking machines’, and as we learn how to plant electrodes in the brains of the disabled to re-enable them, and Matel adapts the same technology to a board game that allows the player to move a ball with just his thoughts, we are moving toward thought to thought communication – aka telepathy. As quotidian as talk about thoughts may be, what thoughts are remains mysterious from a neuroscientific point of view. They are certainly caused by brain function, but we do not yet have a solid idea regarding what it is about brain function that gives rise to them. Is it the particular kinds of neurons involved? The way a single neuron (probably not) or population of neurons fire? Do conscious thoughts require the activation of specific networks of brain regions or of tracts (the information highways that allow for brain regions to communicate with each other)? Do thoughts require activation of perceptual areas of the brain (a controversial notion)? At this stage of scientific understanding, we just don't know.
3. What do you say?
My view in not much different to the prime definition. A thought is in everyday life it is commonplace to hear someone say, "I just had a thought about X or Y," or "the thought just occurred to me." For instance, one may have a thought about an event that took place during the last football match. Thoughts can be idea-like, memory-like, picture-like, or song-like. They are usually short-lived, discrete events,...