What is Cognition? Meaning and Definition

The term “cognition” has its roots in the Latin term “cognoscere” meaning “to know” and therefore refers to the way knowledge is processed, stored and accessed. Cognition can be considered the sum of all your information collected through experience and learning.

Cognition can be understood as the process through which information is received through the perception, or the sensory experience, experienced information is then processed into knowledge. But, equally important are the personal characteristics that all the mind to make sense of all the information collected and provides us with data needed to make intelligent decisions and understand our world.

Cognitive Processes

One way to get a better understanding of the broad topic of cognition is to view it in terms of some of the individual processes. These are the many different ways that information can be introduced to the stored memory structures and then applied to making decisions. One way is by taking a brain supplement but if you want to learn more read below.

Here are some of the cognitive process:


Attention is the capacity we have to attune our mental focus and concentration on a specific sensory perception or activity. The higher the quality of the attention the greater the processing and the more thoroughly we will be able to apply the information processed. Attention is a fundamental cognitive function and crucial to accomplishing a wide variety of tasks. As a matter of fact, attention is the cornerstone cognitive function from which all the others cognitive functions are regulated. When attention is not paid to something, the incoming information is very small or non existent.


Memory as a cognitive process describes all the ways information is translated by the brain into something it can understand, filed away and then recovered as needed when relevant to the current situation. There are many different types of memory and are all coded, stored and retrieved in their own ways. Some of these include long-term memory and short-term memory. Procedural memory reminds us to never put the cart before the horse. Audio memory reminds us of what we hear and naming memory, then there are many more.


Information comes into the brain through the senses which tell us everything we know about the world around us. Everyone has heard of the 5 primary senses, but there are many others too that allow us to understand who we are and how we operate best in the world. Nociception is the experience of pain, proprioception is the perception of our living body and the perception of our internal organs and systems is called interoception.


Language is another cognitive process that allows us to understand the strange sounds and symbols that make up a language and create them back to be understood by those around us. Communications is quite a feat and essential to the transmission of very complex concepts like honesty, sarcasm or the Theory of Relativity.


This cognitive process is very closely tied into the cognitive process of language and includes certain executive functions like reason, synthesis and problem-solving.


This is the cognitive process that allows us to acquire information and allow this information to update and improve our prior knowledge. Learning is not only critical for education but for creating good habits and rectifying habits that are no longer useful. One definition of learning could be the process of information entering the mind and effecting a change.