Understanding Cognition

Quite simply, cognition refers to thinking. There are the obvious applications of conscious reasoning—doing taxes, playing chess, deconstructing Macbeth—but thought takes many subtler forms, such as interpreting sensory input, guiding physical actions, and empathizing with others. The old metaphor for human cognition was the computer—a logical information-processing machine. (You can’t spell cognition without “cog.”) But while some of our thoughts may be binary, there's a lot more to our 'wetware' than 0's and 1's.

Recent posts on Cognition

Psychological Gifts You Can Give Yourself Over The Summer

Have you taken full advantage of the summer? Here are a few things to consider to boost your brain.

Facts and Fiction About the So-Called “Summer Slide”

By Peter Gray Ph.D. on July 22, 2017 in Freedom to Learn
Perhaps we should call it the summer ladder rather than slide. Children gain skills--especially in mathematical reasoning--in summer faster than during the school year.

One More Reason Aerobic Exercise Is So Good for Your Brain

Researchers have pinpointed a molecular mechanism that might explain why physical activity improves cognitive function, boosts brain power, and reduces dementia.

"I-knew-it-all-along": 3 Steps to Avoid Living in the Past

By Zack Carter Ph.D. on July 20, 2017 in Clear Communication
Does your hindsight 20/20 need a vision test?

How to Have Breakthrough Ideas

By Mark Batey Ph.D. on July 20, 2017 in Working Creativity
Follow these simple steps to master the art (and science) of breakthrough thinking
Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Faking It

Even though students claim to, they often don’t know what educators mean by ‘critical thinking’.
mali maeder/pexels

Food Educates Every Part of You

Food trains every part of you—especially the ones you don't think about.

Conquest of English

Writing well is an important skill. For a non-native speaker it is forbiddingly difficult to master. And no one cares.

How Good Is a Dog's Ability to Remember People?

There are suggestions that dogs can remember and may recognize particular people even after years of separation.

What is the Right Size for a Group Conversation?

Why do we have to decrease the number of people involved in a conversation when we are gossiping about someone else?
pixabay

Timing Matters in the Effects of Neglect on Development

By Rebecca Compton Ph.D. on July 18, 2017 in Adopting Reason
How much can stable, nurturing homes help children overcome the effects of severe early neglect?

Infant Gut Microbiome May Influence Cognitive Development

In the past month, two pioneering human studies have revealed fresh clues on how various colonies of gut microbiome influence brain function and cognitive development.
K. Ramsland

Four Missing Men and the Urge to Know

With the ongoing investigation of the murdered young men in Pennsylvania, we find social media's support for the natural human inclination to figure it out as soon as possible.

Does the Unconscious Really Exist?

By David B. Feldman Ph.D. on July 17, 2017 in Supersurvivors
One of the oldest ideas in psychology is that we have an unconscious mind that, despite our best intentions, is the real controlling force in our lives. But is this really true?

Why Your Relationship Isn't As "Complicated" As You Think

By Jen Kim on July 17, 2017 in Valley Girl With a Brain
How #FakeNews infiltrates our romantic relationships

Who’da Thunk It?

Turn negative emotions off at the tap.

Do Brain-Changing Games Really Work?

By Lydia Denworth on July 14, 2017 in Brain Waves
Want to improve your thinking and memory? Think brain-changing games might help? A new study looked at their effect on the brain, on cognitive performance, and on decision-making.

Health 2.0, It's All About You

By David Rosen on July 14, 2017 in Health 2.0
A health revolution has put us back in control of our health and wellness, with technology and social media redefining every stage of our of life. Welcome to Health 2.0.

The 100-Year Plan

By Kaja Perina on July 13, 2017 in Brainstorm
Psychology Today is 50 years old! The next 50 years will bring the ability not just to quantify but also to alter the brain—the golden age of behavioral science is just beginning.

Do Dogs and Cats Have the Same Emotional Responses?

Although both cats and dogs show basic emotions, new data suggests that cats are less likely to show complex emotions than dogs.

Can Talking Cure? And If so, How?

By Noam Shpancer Ph.D. on July 12, 2017 in Insight Therapy
What we talk about when we talk about talk therapy.

Matter- but Not Mind-blind—and Vice Versa

A pioneering study shows mentalism to vary inversely with mechanistic cognition as predicted by the diametric model.

Westworld, Emotion and the Dilemma of Machine Consciousness

By Richard Yonck on July 11, 2017 in The Intelligence Report
Emmy contender Westworld raises awareness about the future of machine self-awareness. How much longer before real robots are nominees?

Of Two Minds

By Charles S. Jacobs on July 11, 2017 in Management Rewired
What is the most direct route to changing behavior?

The Optimism Challenge

By David Dillard-Wright Ph.D. on July 11, 2017 in Boundless
Can you become an optimist through deliberate practice? Try it and see.

The Conflict Over Russia and Trump Family Values

By Stanton Peele on July 11, 2017 in Addiction in Society
Values determine behavior. The way to understand the current administration, and especially the dispute about collaborating with the Russians, is to understand Trump family values.
Meditation / pixaby

What Does the Body Remember?

By Diana Raab PhD on July 10, 2017 in The Empowerment Diary
The body remembers more than we think. We might be amazed what we'd learn if we listened to its messages.

The Feral Child Nicknamed Genie

Genie spent the first 13 years of her life strapped to a potty or a chair in a homemade straightjacket. She was never spoken to but turned out to be highly intelligent.

How to Address 7 of the Most Unhelpful Beliefs About Sleep

By Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. on July 10, 2017 in Think, Act, Be
Bad sleep opens the door for thoughts that only make sleep worse. Find out what some of the most troubling thoughts are, and how to fix them.

The Matrix Effect: When Time Slows Down

By Marc Wittmann Ph.D. on July 09, 2017 in Sense of Time
Have you had this kind of experience? Time seemed to slow down during an accident. Here are answers to the questions of why this happens and what then happens in the brain.