Analogies can be useful when it comes to thinking about how the mind works. At one time, it was common to draw parallels with a telephone exchange. More recently, the computer has provided a popular analogy and a source of terminology. For instance, the organization of the mind is often referred to as its architecture (Figure 4.1). Paralleling the RAM (random access memory) of a computer is the concept of working memory, where processing can take place. Information can be stored for long periods on the computer’s hard drive and this is paralleled by the mind’s long-term store. Neither the computer nor the mind can process incoming information unless it is in a form which suits its way of working. The encoder ‘translates’ information into a form on which the mind can operate (Bruer, 1994; Cohn et al., 1995). The analogy has proved useful but, nevertheless, has its limitations. The brain is not a digital device. For instance, instead of using numbers to represent magnitudes, it generally uses magnitudes to represent numbers. A consequence is that we can only be approximate in our feel for large numbers (Dehaene, 1997). People are also subject to emotions, feelings, motives and moods and these influence their thinking. Different ways of modelling the mind’s processes are possible. For example, patterns of electrical excitation in certain networks of connections between nodes have been shown to simulate the mind’s ability to acquire aspects of language, concepts, sequences and patterns, to some extent. These gain their plausibility from parallels with brain cells and their connections (Billman, 1998; Elman, 1998). However, when we talk of making a connection in understanding, we mean a connection between thoughts and ideas, not a connection between brain cells, and it is often of more practical value to think at a less microscopic level.