Any sense appears able to perceive patterns, for a pattern can be any sequence or repetition of actions or objects. In that way all senses can be used to conclude something like numbers, given sufficient mechanical capacities that go further than mere observation. The senses can differentiate between absence and something, or 0 and 1. The counting numbers are abstractions of the multiplicity of objects, which one can come to merely from 0 and 1 being two objects and so on, though such an intellectual feat may require high intelligence to come to with minimal prior knowledge. Aside from the abstract form of multiplicity, which is the natural numbers, there is the abstract ideal shapes. The abstraction of raw data, typically rigid objects, to apparent ideal forms, i.e. the mathematical expression of physical objects, appears to require even more knowledge and understanding, which may only be achieved through feedback on already achieved understandings.
The seemingly faint background mental processes are one’s means of functioning in a manner more sophisticated than mere sensory observation. Perhaps one can call such a thing the active observer. The senses with no subjectivity are perhaps passive observers, i.e. reactions and imitations of external environments. An organism at rest doesn’t decide what it is or will sense beyond how it is positioned in the world. A change in position of the observer by the observer is an active observation. As observation is likely layered, the local external environment can only be perceived by the passive observer, which is a mere receiver and reactor to the state of the external environment. Taking what the observer receives and providing feedback or manipulating it is a part of the internal environment, or virtual world, of the organism and is an active observation. The ability to change position in the environment intentionally appears to require the observer hold the external environment as constant in the memory, then it must plot or plan a destination, updating from the passive observer while following the path generated by the active observer to reach the destination. As the passive observation must remain active, the active observation likely remains in the background of the passive observation interface.
The senses appear to be one’s only connection to reality. Even if objects exist in the same space as the perceiver in reality, it is as good as nothing if it can not impress upon some sense. The abstract abilities of an organisms, i.e. the actions of the active observer, appears in a sense to be concealed information in the environment when considering the external environment as a purely physical process, i.e. as a moving set of points. The knowledge in the self is less than that in the environment because the self is locally present, whereas the environment is omnipresent. Sensations as reactions to some external object appear to be an interaction between two objects. Thus, to be may be to be perceivable, even if not perceived. There are higher functions to sensation that one may find in brains and AI. The set of higher functions appear to be larger than the set of sensations. Simple to more complex brains and AI sense something, assuming they are active. Aside from sensations they may have the ability to recall, apprehend/understand, identify, imagine, decide, judge, conceptualize, categorize, attend, reason, calculate, use language, evaluate, classify, problem solve, ideate, associate, rationalize/irrationalize, plan, erroneously think, act, control self, adapt, attach, valuate, learn, inquire, empathize, prioritize, generalize, interpret, manipulate, etc. all of which are context, i.e. space and time, dependent. These may all be subsumed under cognition.
It is difficult to determine which process of cognition is most vital. Memory seems to be used most often. But only artificial intelligence can recreate exact replicas of visual and audio content. Natural intelligence likely uses the imagination to recreate a memory, which isn’t the exact experience. For the memory to be related to an actual event, one likely needs to use some kind of reasoning that uses the notion or process of consistency. The complete explicit expression of all the various forms of brain configurations and what they do may explain the large variety in story telling.
Psychology and epistemology are very closely related, though epistemology contains more content than the psychology. As pure materialism, ontology/existence would be what science has determined is nature. It would perhaps be the body to Descartes’ body and mind duality. There is a question as to whether the body is the final form of one’s being, or whether the body perceives the actual world or a deception? Science, of course, assents to the question begging truth of the body actually existing in the world, yet denies a simplification of the various processes and phenomena in the world. It intersects, but is different from, the view of the world from one’s own perspective; which is psychology. By rejecting the notion of the brain having complete knowledge one can push the limits of one’s understanding. Such is achievable in the virtual space of one’s mind. We can perhaps look at the spectrum of intelligence as the simple brain, the human brain and A.I. Understanding is perhaps a coherence between the virtual world of the mind and the physical world of the body.