Perhaps communication is needed first? I'm thinking an idea has to be presented first before your mind can process it. This seems clear for communication with text, audio, and video, but I'm trying to think of a more basic level of learning; for instance, a baby pushes a ball and sees that it rolls. So would feedback or stimulus be more appropriate terms than communication?
In my mind, wondering comes before thinking . . . wondering what's inside, etc. You could also say that curiosity comes before thinking . . . as does exploring. Thinking, I guess, starts when the contemplating starts . . . when the decision-making process starts. Any thinking more primitive than that, I think of as a survival instinct.