Overarching States of Mind

Noa Herz, Shira Baror, Moshe Bar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


We all have our varying mental emphases, inclinations, and biases. These individual dispositions are dynamic in that they can change over time and context. We propose that these changing states of mind (SoMs) are holistic in that they exert all-encompassing and coordinated effects simultaneously on our perception, attention, thought, affect, and behavior. Given the breadth of their reach, understanding how SoMs operate is essential. We provide evidence and a framework for the concept of SoM, and we propose a unifying principle for the underlying cortical mechanism whereby SoM is determined by the balance between top-down (TD) and bottom-up (BU) processing. This novel global account gives rise to unique hypotheses and opens new horizons for understanding the human mind.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-199
Number of pages16
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • bottom-up
  • context
  • creativity
  • exploitation
  • exploration
  • mindset
  • mood
  • top-down


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