What is Cognition?
Cognition refers to mental processes that take place in gaining and understanding information. It involves the basic thinking process of an individual, including his/her memory, perceptions, knowledge, and judgment.
Cognition involves the process of “knowing” things and handling information. The use of knowledge is said to direct our actions towards a particular goal. Our very own memories and past experiences define what we know and will determine on how we see and how we will react in the future. Like in the process of deciding what to eat for breakfast, it requires a cognitive thought process from trying to recall favorite meals in the past, to finally deciding to eat anything that’s available because of limited time. This particular example requires a person to analyze certain choices and experiences to decide on which action to take in the present.
A big part of cognition or a person’s cognitive process is the way we process information. Usually people tend to organize thoughts and make categories for certain data or information. When people think of the bedroom, people associate it with information related to the bedroom that he/she knows. When a person thinks of his/her own body, he will think of various body parts because these are the “data” associated with the body. Just like in learning new things, people usually associate new ideas with existing data in the mind to add to the existing knowledge of various things.
But aside from memory associations to newly acquired information, cognition also involves perception. It is the part wherein the person “knows” if he/she must take action or which action is to be taken. It is through perception that the person is pushed to deciding or moving something to satisfy a need or to fulfill a purpose. It summarizes what a person sees, hears, and feels and this information will help him/her to respond in the most appropriate way.
Cognition in general terms is a combination of various thought processes which are working simultaneously with the end goal of acquiring and/or managing information.