Cognition is the process by which the sensory input is transformed, reduced, elaborated, stored, recovered, and used. In science, cognition is the mental processing that includes the attention of working memory, comprehending and producing language, calculating, reasoning, problem solving, and decision making. Various disciplines, such as psychology, philosophy and linguistics all study cognition. However, the term’s usage varies across disciplines; for example, in psychology and cognitive science, “cognition” 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. In cognitive psychology and cognitive engineering, cognition is typically assumed to be information processing in a participant’s or operator’s mind or brain.

Cognition is a faculty for the processing of information, applying knowledge, and changing preferences. Cognition, or cognitive processes, can be natural or artificial, conscious or unconscious. Within psychology or philosophy, the concept of cognition is closely related to abstract concepts such as mind, intelligence. It encompasses the mental functions, mental processes (thoughts), and states of intelligent entities (humans, collaborative groups, human organizations, highly autonomous machines, and artificial intelligences).

The word cognition comes from the Latin verb cognosco (con ‘with’ + gnōscō ‘know’), itself a cognate of the Ancient Greek verb gnόsko “γνώσκω” meaning ‘I know’ (noun: gnόsis “γνώσις” = knowledge), so broadly, ‘to conceptualize’ or ‘to recognize’.

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