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I was under the impression that 思った meant that, sometime in the past, you did the instantaneous action of "think" and had a thought while 思っていた meant that you kept a thought for a period of time. However, I did a search of "ずっと思った" and found that there seemed to be an overlap with "ずっと思っていた" with sentences such as "マンションに住んでよかったってずっと思った."

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    It doesn't quite answer your ずっと question, but related: japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/21717/… – Darius Jahandarie Feb 19 '15 at 4:39
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    マンションに住んでよかったってずっと思った ← The writer of this blog is not a native Japanese speaker. – user1016 Feb 19 '15 at 8:03
  • There are a ton of results on Google though, and I don't think they are all non-native speakers... google.com/… On the other hand, I can't find anything in BCCWJ. – Darius Jahandarie Feb 19 '15 at 8:12
  • It looks to me like most people are saying like 滞在中ずっと思った。/~してるあいだずっと思った。/~しながらずっと思った。etc. I also see ずっと思ったままで… / ずっと思ったことができない… etc., where the ずっと doesn't modify the 思った, but yeah there're still a lot. – user1016 Feb 19 '15 at 8:40
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Your interpretation about 思った and 思っていた is CORRECT.

You usually don't say ずっと思った。, especially the use of ずっと is incorrect. The only possible interpretation of

マンションに住んでよかったってずっと思った

would be

(何かをする度に)「マンションに住んでよかった」って 毎回 思った。

meaning "Every time I encountered a difference between life in マンション and life in a 一戸建てor アパート, I felt that マンション was better."

ずっと is sometimes used for something that repeats, also for something instantaneous but frequent.

similar to 頻繁に, 常に, 毎回。

Also, unlike 思った, using 思っていた near a clear context of time without information on how you think now usually means you dont think so anymore, you changed your mind. Especially when you're talking about a point of view. In such situation, if you still think the same way, you should say it explicitly.

学生時代は朝ご飯を食べないほうが良いと思っていたから朝は食べていなかった。今はお昼が遅いから朝食べている。
  • I am not sure if 思う always means an instantaneous action. Form a Japanese dictionary, I got: kotobank.jp/word/… ある物事について考えをもつ。考える。 I am not sure if もつ is an instantaneous motion or not. From a Japanese dictionary, I got: kotobank.jp/word/… 所有している which would indicate that it can also be a stative verb. – Joe Feb 21 '15 at 5:52
  • Yes, 思う (in the present form) is not an instantaneous action at all. In my post I was talking about 思った/思っていた (both are in the past form). – Runo Sahara Feb 21 '15 at 6:11
  • Why can't 思った represent a state of being in the past tense? It seems 持った can do so. jisho.org/sentences?jap=%E6%8C%81tta&eng= 弁護士は彼の無実に疑問を持った。 武器を持った乗っ取り犯たちは乗客をりつ然とさせた。 – Joe Feb 21 '15 at 6:37
  • @Joe The -ta form can (sometimes) have stative semantics in relative clauses, see japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/11975/… – Darius Jahandarie Feb 21 '15 at 14:36

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