|Thoughts on grass (source)|
Great question. Lots of things look like trees, certainly neurons do. But thoughts themselves?
It is my personal opinion that thoughts do not actually look like anything. I've dissected many a brain and haven't ever seen one. However, let's suppose thoughts look like something, what would they look like?
One possibility is that the thought looks like what you are thinking about. A pretty ancient idea is that there are actually two of every object, one that is external (the actual object), and one that is internal which is our representation of that object. This can be taken quite literally in which case if you are looking at or thinking about a tree, your thought will look like a tree, but if you are thinking about a dog, your thought will look like a dog. This strikes me as unlikely.
So another way to look at it is what does the brain look like when it is having a thought? In this case there is some support for the 'thought looks like what you are thinking' hypothesis, but it is very limited.
|Do thoughts look like nets? (source)|
2. "Why Neuroscience?"
Because neuroscience is our best chance at answering important questions like 'what do thoughts look like?' and 'How do we know what we know?'
3. "Do neurons tell you how to move or do they fire in response?"
Another excellent and deep question. The answer is (of course) that they do both.
All of these steps, the sensory input, the motor output, and the processing in between take neurons.
But of course there is the Venus flytrap which doesn't have 'neurons' per se, but does receive sensory input and generate motor output.
But the processing part of this process, the black box, is really complicated. There really is an unanswered question there about whether neurons are responding to something or telling something. When studies find that mirror neurons fire 'in response to' seeing actions performed, or that some amygdala neurons fire in response to pictures of animals, the question is always why are these neurons firing? Are the neurons telling another part of the brain 'this is an animal'? or are the neurons responding to that information?