Difference Wiki

Extramental vs. Mental: What's the Difference?

By Janet White & Harlon Moss || Updated on March 4, 2024
Extramental refers to anything existing outside the mind or external to mental perception, while mental pertains to processes or phenomena occurring within the mind.

Key Differences

Extramental concepts encompass objects, events, or phenomena that exist independently of an individual's thoughts or perceptions. These can include physical objects, external environments, and any aspect of reality that can be perceived through the senses but exists outside the cognitive processes of the mind. On the other hand, mental refers to anything related to the mind, including thoughts, feelings, perceptions, memories, and imagination. Mental phenomena are inherently subjective, existing within the consciousness or cognitive processes of an individual.
The division between extramental and mental is crucial in various fields, including philosophy, psychology, and cognitive science, as it helps distinguish between the objective reality that exists outside of human perception and the subjective reality created by individual minds. While extramental objects and phenomena can often be measured or observed directly, mental phenomena require introspection or psychological methods to be understood and are known only to the individual experiencing them.
Understanding the difference between extramental and mental also aids in discussions about consciousness, perception, and reality. It highlights how our mental processes interpret and give meaning to the extramental world, shaping our understanding and interaction with it. For example, while a painting (extramental) exists as a physical object, its beauty or the emotions it evokes (mental) are subjective experiences that arise within the minds of those who view it.
The distinction emphasizes the contrast between the physical, external world and the internal, subjective experiences of the mind, offering a framework for exploring how external realities are perceived, interpreted, and given meaning through mental processes.

Comparison Chart


Pertaining to objects or phenomena outside the mind.
Related to processes or phenomena within the mind.


Objective, independent of perception.
Subjective, dependent on individual cognition.


Physical objects, external environments.
Thoughts, emotions, perceptions.


Observed through physical sciences.
Studied through introspection, psychology.


Exists without needing to be perceived.
Exists as part of the perceiver's internal experience.

Extramental and Mental Definitions


Relating to the physical world.
Sound waves are extramental phenomena that can be measured.


Related to emotions.
Happiness is a mental state of well-being.


Observable through senses.
Artworks are extramental but evoke mental responses.


Involving cognitive processes.
Solving puzzles is a mental exercise.


Independent of mental perception.
The chemical composition of water is an extramental fact.


Of or relating to the mind
Mental powers.
Mental health.


External to the mind.
A mountain's existence is extramental, not dependent on being perceived.


Executed or performed by the mind; existing in the mind
Mental calculation.
A mental image.


Studied objectively.
Astronomical objects are extramental entities studied by scientists.


(Slang) Emotionally upset; crazed
Got mental when he saw the dent in his new car.


Outside of the mind or intellect.


Often Offensive Relating to or being a place for housing or treating people with mental illness or intellectual disability
A mental ward.


Of or relating to the chin.


(relational) Of or relating to the mind or specifically the total emotional and intellectual response of an individual to external reality.


Of or relating to intellectual as contrasted with emotional activity.
Mental acuity


Of, relating to, or being intellectual as contrasted with overt physical activity.


Occurring or experienced in the mind.


Relating to the mind, its activity, or its products as an object of study.
Mental science


Relating to spirit or idea as opposed to matter.
The distinction between physical things and mental ideas


Of, relating to, or affected by a psychiatric disorder.
A mental patient


(relational) Intended for the care or treatment of persons affected by psychiatric disorders.
Mental hospitals


Mentally disordered; insane, mad, crazy.
He is the most mental freshman I've seen yet.
He went mental on us.


Enjoyable or fun, especially in a frenetic way.
That was a mental party last night.


Of or relating to telepathic or mind-reading powers.
Mental telepathy


Of or relating to the chin or median part of the lower jaw, genial.
The mental nerve, the mental region


Of or relating to the chinlike or liplike structure.


(zootomy) A plate or scale covering the mentum or chin of a fish or reptile.


Of or pertaining to the chin; genian; as, the mental nerve; the mental region.


Of or pertaining to the mind; intellectual; as, mental faculties; mental operations, conditions, or exercise.
What a mental powerThis eye shoots forth!


A plate or scale covering the mentum or chin of a fish or reptile.


Involving the mind or an intellectual process;
Mental images of happy times
Mental calculations
In a terrible mental state
Mental suffering
Free from mental defects


Of or relating to the mind;
Mental powers
Mental development
Mental hygiene


Of or relating to the chin- or lip-like structure in insects and certain mollusks


Of or relating to the chin or median part of the lower jaw


Affected by a disorder of the mind;
A mental patient
Mental illness


Pertaining to the mind.
Dreaming is a mental activity occurring during sleep.


Subjective and introspective.
Memories are mental recollections of past events.


Analyzed psychologically.
Anxiety disorders are mental conditions requiring therapeutic intervention.


Why is the distinction between extramental and mental important?

This distinction is crucial for understanding the differences between objective reality and subjective experiences, aiding in the study of consciousness, perception, psychology, and philosophy.

Can something be both mental and extramental?

While something cannot be both mental and extramental in nature due to the distinct separation between mind (mental) and external reality (extramental), the perception of an extramental object can lead to mental phenomena, such as thoughts or feelings about that object.

What does extramental mean?

Extramental refers to anything that exists outside the mind, including all physical and objective realities not contingent upon being perceived or thought about.

Can extramental objects influence mental states?

Yes, extramental objects can influence mental states by triggering sensory perceptions, emotional responses, and cognitive processes, such as when viewing art or experiencing nature.

How do psychologists study mental phenomena?

Psychologists study mental phenomena through various methods, including observation, experimentation, psychological testing, and introspection, focusing on understanding thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Can technology bridge the gap between mental and extramental?

Technology, especially in fields like virtual reality and brain-computer interfaces, can blur the lines between mental and extramental by translating thoughts into actions in the external world or simulating external realities in the mind.

What role does language play in differentiating mental and extramental?

Language allows us to articulate and communicate the distinction between internal, subjective experiences (mental) and the external, objective world (extramental), facilitating deeper exploration and understanding of both realms.

Can mental health affect the perception of extramental realities?

Yes, mental health can significantly affect how individuals perceive and interact with extramental realities, influencing their cognitive, emotional, and behavioral responses to the external world.

How do cultural differences impact the perception of mental and extramental?

Cultural differences can shape how individuals interpret and value mental and extramental phenomena, influencing beliefs, practices, and the understanding of reality and consciousness.

How is knowledge about the extramental world acquired through mental processes?

Knowledge about the extramental world is acquired through sensory experiences processed by the mind, involving perception, cognition, and interpretation.

How do mental processes affect our perception of extramental objects?

Mental processes interpret, analyze, and assign meaning to extramental objects, affecting how we perceive, understand, and emotionally respond to the external world.

Is memory considered a mental or extramental entity?

Memory is considered a mental entity, as it involves the internal recall of past experiences, thoughts, or emotions, which are not physically present in the external world.

How do physical sensations relate to the mental and extramental distinction?

Physical sensations originate from extramental stimuli but are processed and experienced as mental phenomena, illustrating the interaction between the external world and internal perception.

What is the role of consciousness in understanding mental and extramental phenomena?

Consciousness plays a central role in understanding mental phenomena by enabling awareness and reflective thought about one's internal states and external surroundings.

Can technology create extramental experiences that feel mental?

Technology, especially in immersive experiences like virtual reality, can create extramental experiences that mimic mental phenomena, challenging our perceptions of reality and the mind.

How do sensory impairments affect the interaction between mental and extramental?

Sensory impairments can alter the interaction between mental and extramental by limiting or changing the way information from the external world is perceived and processed, affecting the individual's experience of reality.

Are emotions considered mental or extramental?

Emotions are considered mental, as they are subjective experiences arising from the mind's interpretation of external events or internal thoughts, not observable in the external world.

Are dreams considered mental or extramental?

Dreams are considered mental phenomena, as they occur within the mind during sleep, consisting of imagined scenarios that do not exist in the external world.

How do philosophers differentiate between mental and extramental phenomena?

Philosophers differentiate between mental and extramental phenomena by exploring the nature of consciousness, perception, and reality, often questioning how our mental processes construct our understanding of the external world.

What impact do extramental environments have on mental well-being?

Extramental environments can significantly impact mental well-being by influencing mood, stress levels, and psychological states, highlighting the importance of positive, supportive surroundings.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Co-written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons