The term reflection refers to any meditation on facts, concepts, circumstances, among others, that an individual performs voluntarily in order to draw their own conclusions. Reflection is a condition that appears only in human beings, so it is linked with the ability to reason and cognitively inquire into the external world and the internal state of mind and sensibility.
However, reflection has links with the ability to understand the outside world. It has been a subject of study by epistemology since the beginning of the Western philosophical tradition. Without going into details, it can be highlighted that a reflective act tries to form a map of the surrounding reality , trying to understand the relationships between the various observable phenomena. That is why a reflective act tries to form knowledge , that is, to elaborate a comprehensive view of the perceivable circumstances, intending to find some patterns that represent the regularities.
Reflection has also been an object of study in psychology, in particular, in the so-called cognitive psychology, as it becomes interested in how people capture sensory information and process it, synthesize it, memorize it and then make use of it. Other approaches, such as the so-called behaviorism, prefer to avoid disturbances in the internal processes of the mind, as it corresponds to an area that is difficult to empirically prove. However, it is currently still the object of debate on the reflexive processes of man.
As has been said, the ability to reflect seems only to be present in man. Although it is true that animals have some level of knowledge about circumstances, only man has this knowledge and can be the object of revision, recomposition and re-elaboration, endowed with exceptional possibilities. Reflection is critical when new mind maps and conceptions of the world are made. It is also important to highlight that reflection is closely linked to the intention to make use of new knowledge gained; this observation may not be evident in the first instance, but if we assume that all human activity is based on obtaining one’s own benefit or that of others, it becomes more evident. That’s why reflexive activity indirectly has a relationshipwith action, in that it creates an action plan in function of an interpretation both itself as the world.