Cognition


Cognition

In science, cognition refers to mental processes. These processes include attention, remembering, producing and understanding language, solving problems, and making decisions. Cognition is studied in various disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, linguistics, and computer science. Usage of the term varies in different disciplines; for example in psychology and cognitive science, it usually refers to an information processing view of an individual's psychological functions. It is also used in a branch of social psychology called social cognition to explain attitudes, attribution and groups dynamics.

The term cognition (Latin: cognoscere, "to know", "to conceptualize" or "to recognize") refers to a faculty for the processing of information, applying knowledge, and changing preferences. Cognition, or cognitive processes, can be natural or artificial, conscious or unconscious. These processes are analyzed from different perspectives within different contexts, notably in the fields of linguistics, anesthesia, neurology and psychiatry, psychology, philosophy, anthropology, systemics, computer science and creed. Within psychology or philosophy, the concept of cognition is closely related to abstract concepts such as mind, intelligence, cognition is used to refer to the mental functions, mental processes (thoughts) and states of intelligent entities (humans, human organizations, highly autonomous machines and artificial intelligences).

Contents

Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development

For years, sociologists and psychologists have conducted studies on cognitive development or the construction of human thought or mental processes.

Jean Piaget was one of the more important and influential people in the field of Developmental Psychology. He believed that humans are unique in comparison to animals because we have the ability to do "abstract symbolic reasoning." His work can be compared to Lev Vygotsky, Sigmund Freud, and Erik Erikson who were also great contributors in the field of Developmental Psychology.

Piaget's theory of Developmental Psychology tackled cognitive development from infancy to adulthood.

Stage Age or Period Description
Sensorimotor stage Infancy Intelligence is present; motor activity but no symbols; knowledge is developing yet limited; knowledge is based on experiences/ interactions; mobility allows child to learn new things; some language skills are developed at the end of this stage
Pre-operational stage Toddler and Early Childhood Symbols or language skills are present; memory and imagination are developed; nonreversible and nonlogical thinking; egocentric thinking predominates
Concrete operational stage Elementary and Early Adolescence Logical and systematic form of intelligence; manipulation of symbols related to concrete objects; operational thinking predominates nonreversible and egocentric thinking
Formal operational stage Adolescence and Adulthood Logical use of symbols related to abstract concepts; egocentric thinking comes back early in this stage; formal thinking is uncommon

Psychology

Diagram
When the mind makes a generalization such as the concept of tree, it extracts similarities from numerous examples; the simplification enables higher-level thinking.

The sort of mental processes described as cognitive are largely influenced by research which has successfully used this paradigm in the past, likely starting with Thomas Aquinas, who divided the study of behavior into two broad categories: cognitive (how we know the world), and affective (feelings and emotions). Consequently, this description tends to apply to processes such as memory, association, concept formation, pattern recognition, language, attention, perception, action, problem solving and mental imagery.[1][2] Traditionally, emotion was not thought of as a cognitive process. This division is now regarded as largely artificial, and much research is currently being undertaken to examine the cognitive psychology of emotion; research also includes one's awareness of their own strategies and methods of cognition called metacognition and includes metamemory.

Empirical research into cognition is usually scientific and quantitative, or involves creating models to describe or explain certain behaviors.

While few people would deny that cognitive processes are a function of the brain, a cognitive theory will not necessarily make reference to the brain or other biological process (compare neurocognitive). It may purely describe behavior in terms of information flow or function. Relatively recent fields of study such as cognitive science and neuropsychology aim to bridge this gap, using cognitive paradigms to understand how the brain implements these information-processing functions (see also cognitive neuroscience), or how pure information-processing systems (e.g., computers) can simulate cognition (see also artificial intelligence). The branch of psychology that studies brain injury to infer normal cognitive function is called cognitive neuropsychology. The links of cognition to evolutionary demands are studied through the investigation of animal cognition. And conversely, evolutionary-based perspectives can inform hypotheses about cognitive functional systems evolutionary psychology.

The theoretical school of thought derived from the cognitive approach is often called cognitivism.

The phenomenal success of the cognitive approach can be seen by its current dominance as the core model in contemporary psychology (usurping behaviorism in the late 1950s). Cognition is severely damaged in dementia.

Cognition as social process

For every individual, the social context in which he's embedded provides the symbols of his representation and linguistic expression. The human society sets the environment where the newborn will be socialized and develop his cognition. For example, face perception in human babies emerges by the age of two months: young children at a playground or swimming pool develop their social recognition by being exposed to multiple faces and associating the experiences to those faces. Education has the explicit task in society of developing cognition. Choices are made regarding the environment and permitted action that lead to a formed experience.

Language acquisition is an example of an emergent behavior. From a large systemic perspective, cognition is considered closely related to the social and human organization functioning and constrains. For example, the macro-choices made by the teachers influence the micro-choices made by students.

See also

In addition to the topics below, see the List of thinking-related topics

Wikipedia portals

References

  1. ^ Sensation & Perception, 5th ed. 1999, Coren, Ward & Enns, p. 9
  2. ^ Cognitive Psychology, 5th ed. 1999, Best, John B., p. 15-17

Further reading

  • Coren, Stanley; Lawrence M. Ward, James T. Enns (1999). Sensation and Perception. Harcourt Brace. p. 9. ISBN 0-470-00226-3. 
  • Lycan, W.G., (ed.). (1999). Mind and Cognition: An Anthology, 2nd Edition. Malden, Mass: Blackwell Publishers, Inc.
  • Stanovich, Keith (2009). What Intelligence Tests Miss: The Psychology of Rational Thought. New Haven (CT): Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-12385-2. Lay summary (21 November 2010). 

External links


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Synonyms:

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  • cognition — [ kɔgnisjɔ̃ ] n. f. • XIVe; lat. cognitio 1 ♦ Philos. Connaissance. 2 ♦ Physiol. Processus par lequel un organisme acquiert la conscience des événements et objets de son environnement. ● cognition nom féminin (latin cognitio, onis) Dans la… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Cognition — Cog*ni tion, n. [L. cognitio, fr. cognoscere, cognitum, to become acquainted with, to know; co + noscere, gnoscere, to get a knowledge of. See {Know}, v. t.] 1. The act of knowing; knowledge; perception. [1913 Webster] I will not be myself nor… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Cognition — Cognition, im röm. Gerichtswesen richterliche Untersuchung u. Erkenntniß besonders in außerordentlichen Fällen (cognitio extraordinaria); daher cognosciren, richterlich untersuchen, erkennen …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • cognition — I noun acquaintance, apperception, appreciation, apprehension, awareness, cognitio, cognitive process, cognizance, comprehension, conception, consciousness, discernment, enlightenment, familiarity, grasp, illumination, insight, intellection, ken …   Law dictionary

  • cognition — cognition, cognitive The process of knowing (thinking), sometimes distinguished from affect (emotion) and conation or volition (striving), in a triad of mental processes. Cognitive psychology, which focuses on the use and handling of information… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • cognition — mid 15c., ability to comprehend, from L. cognitionem (nom. cognitio) a getting to know, acquaintance, knowledge, noun of action from pp. stem of cognoscere (see COGNIZANCE (Cf. cognizance)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • cognition — ► NOUN ▪ the mental acquisition of knowledge through thought, experience, and the senses. DERIVATIVES cognitional adjective. ORIGIN Latin, from cognoscere get to know …   English terms dictionary

  • cognition — [käg nish′ən] n. [ME cognicioun < L cognitio, knowledge < cognitus, pp. of cognoscere, to know < co , together + gnoscere,KNOW] 1. the process of knowing in the broadest sense, including perception, memory, and judgment 2. the result of… …   English World dictionary

  • Cognition — La cognition est le terme scientifique pour désigner les mécanismes de la pensée. Historiquement, la cognition désignait la capacité de l esprit humain à manipuler des concepts. Mais plus récemment, en sciences cognitives, le mot cognition est… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • cognition — cognitional, adj. /kog nish euhn/, n. 1. the act or process of knowing; perception. 2. the product of such a process; something thus known, perceived, etc. 3. knowledge. [1375 1425; late ME cognicioun < L cognition (s. of cognitio), equiv. to… …   Universalium


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