Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Sandra Bond ChapmanEmail author
  • Lori G. Cook
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_9011


Abstraction; Big idea; Deeper meaning; Essence; Gestalt; Holistic; Integration; Macrostructure; Synthesis


One of the most ubiquitous and foundational cognitive abilities to everyday life function is the ability to understand and extract the essence of the vast amount of information to which one is exposed. This ability to reduce massive amounts of details into big ideas is termed gist processing (Chapman and Mudar 2013). Gist is defined as the ability to abstract and synthesize meanings from large data input, whether from lectures, articles, works of art, movies, legal documents, and medical instructions, among other sources of input.


Gist ability is a higher-order cognitive function that entails constructive/integrative processes whereby explicit meanings are transformed and reduced into holistic ideas. As such, the whole turns out to be much more than can be derived from the sum of its parts. For example, the individual words or depicted items in a...

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References and Readings

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for BrainHealthThe University of Texas at Dallas’ school of Behavioral and Brain SciencesDallasUSA
  2. 2.Center for BrainHealthThe University of Texas at DallasDallasUSA