Cognition is the scientific term for "the process of the mind." i.e. how humans
perceive, remember, learn and think about information. 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, 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).
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.
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
It has been observed since antiquity that language acquisition in human children
fails to emerge unless the children are exposed to language. Thus, language
acquisition is an example of an emergent behavior. In this case, the individual
is made up of a set of mechanisms "expecting" such input from the social world.
In education, for instance, which has the explicit task in society of developing child cognition, choices are made regarding the environment and permitted action that lead to a formed experience. In social cognition, face perception in human babies emerges by the age of two months. This is in turn affected by the risk or cost of providing these, for instance, those associated with a playground or swimming pool or field trip. On the other hand, the macro-choices made by the teachers are extremely influential on the micro-choices made by children.
In a large systemic perspective, cognition is considered closely related to the social and human organization functioning and constrains. Managerial decision making processes can be erroneous in politics, economy and industry for the reason of different reciprocally dependent socio-cognitive factors. This domain became the field of interest of emergent socio-cognitive engineering.
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