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

7 Ways to Combat Facebook Jealousy

By Andrea Bonior Ph.D. on March 31, 2015 in Friendship 2.0
Many of us are trapped in a cycle of seeking out social media almost automatically when we're bored or stressed. Sometimes, though, it can do more harm than good-- especially if it spurs on jealousy. Here are seven ways to break free.

The Clumsy Left-Handers: Fact or Fiction?

There seems to be an ingrained belief in our world that left-handers are clumsy. Is that true?

Hope Floats

Must death leave us feeling hopelessly mortal?

Happiness With Life 7: Rid Life's Unnecessary Negatives

Leading a happy life includes building in as much pleasure as possible, while also ridding all the hassles and hardships you can. While needing to gracefully tolerate those frustrations you cannot eliminate, learn the process of slowly but surely eliminate all those you can.

Trying To See The Items For The Means

A pitfall for researchers to avoid.

Socioeconomic Factors Impact a Child's Brain Structure

In the largest study of its kind, a team of investigators from nine different universities have identified a correlative link between family income and a child’s brain structure.

Think You Know What Your Dog Is Feeling? No, You Don't.

By Peg Streep on March 31, 2015 in Tech Support
Dog owners universally ascribe complex emotions to their furry companions. But what's really going on? Do dogs feel what we think they feel or are we all just projecting?

Can We Reverse Cognitive Decline?

By Katherine Bouton on March 30, 2015 in What I Hear
Good brain health is the bottom line. Now we just have to figure out how to preserve that health in those with hearing loss.

10 Things You Can Do as a Bystander

Many schools, corporations and organizations offer ‘leadership training’ courses and seminars, yet they fail to teach the skills and strategies required for ‘bystander intervention.’ Here are a few concrete things that bystanders can do:

Monkey Business

By David Ludden Ph.D. on March 30, 2015 in Talking Apes
Humans have a number of brain regions that are dedicated to language processing, but other primates also have these same neural structures.

Time Really Does Speed Up And Slow Down

By Vyv Evans Ph.D. on March 30, 2015 in Language in the Mind
Almost everyone I've ever met is endlessly fascinated by the topic of time; while we all vividly experience time speeding up and slowing down--time flies when you're having fun, it drags when you're bored--is there hard evidence that these experiences are more than merely a trick of the imagination? And if so, what does this reveal about the nature of time?

Nausea Unto Death?

Responsibility

Why Candy Crush Is Like Life

By Matthew Hutson on March 29, 2015 in Psyched!
Candy Crush is a lot like life. I don’t mean to say life is just a grid of colorful confections waiting to be destroyed by your pointer finger; I mean to say they both rely on the same set of cognitive processes. Here’s a rundown.

Suicide or Mass Murder? : The Deliberate Downing of Flt 9525

By Stephen A Diamond Ph.D. on March 29, 2015 in Evil Deeds
What motivates suicidal mass killings like the deliberate downing of Germanwings Flt. 9525?

Fear the Future

By James Sherlock on March 29, 2015 in Ape Expectations
In our modern world, anxiety is a burden to many. In our past, however, it may have been the difference between life and death.

Fear and the Fear of Fear

By Gregg Henriques on March 29, 2015 in Theory of Knowledge
There are often two levels to our negative feelings, such as fear. Not only do we fear things, but we fear our fearful responses. This "affect phobia" is at the root of many emotional problems.

Don’t Forget to Remember

Memory isn't just about dwelling in the past. Prospective memory is intimately involved in planning and goal-setting for the future. Remembering to remember is fraught with challenges. Lists, post it notes, strings around fingers, knotted handkerchiefs? How do you remember to remember?

What do Children Think about Love?

A group of over thirty preschoolers and kindergarteners were asked what they thought of the word “love.” While younger children were primarily focused on an external conceptual line of thinking, the older children had moved to one that was more internally based.

Are We Losing Our Need for Physical Touch?

By Ray Williams on March 28, 2015 in Wired for Success
Has our hi-tech, media-socialized world lost something critical to our species—non-sexual human physical touch? Hasn't human physical contact set us apart from other animals, and has helped us develop complex language, culture, thinking and emotional expression?

How Movies Fool Your Brain

By Susan K Perry Ph.D. on March 27, 2015 in Creating in Flow
At our house, when we watch a movie that’s nothing more than an engaging time-waster, we think of it as brain-dead-movie time. But brains are most certainly not “dead” when watching a movie.

Detox From Negative News In The Media

By Marlynn Wei M.D., J.D. on March 27, 2015 in Urban Survival
Feeling weighed down by all the negative news in the media? Here's how to detox from the influx of negative events and news in the media.

Can You Break the Mood-Memory Cycle?

By Ira Hyman Ph.D. on March 27, 2015 in Mental Mishaps
Does it ever seem that the only thoughts that come to mind are negative? You only remember the painful and sorrowful experiences from your life. Someone reminds you of something happy, but you struggle to remember it. And remembering that happy experience may make you feel worse rather than better.

9 Warning Signs of Burnout

Burnout has been described as the biggest occupational hazard of the twenty-first century. Educating busy professionals and workplaces about its warning signs is a big first step in reducing its impact.

5 Ways to be Braver at Work

Ever found yourself playing it safe rather than speaking up, suggesting a change or taking a chance only to regret it later? There is no doubt, that from time to time, most of us wish we were a little braver when it comes to saying and doing what we think really needs to be done in our work. But what are the practical, tested steps you can take to be braver?

Violent Expression: Sign of Our Deep Need to Communicate?

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on March 26, 2015 in The Dolphin Divide
When notions of fair play are violated, our ability to speak helps keep the peace. We are capable of sudden, violent physical outbursts, but calm expressions of anger through language can keep us from resorting to brute force – sometimes.

What Makes You Say You’re Lonely?

By Peter Toohey on March 26, 2015 in Annals of the Emotions
What does it mean to be lonely and how do say that you are lonely? Is language enough to describe it? Are you lonely just because you think you are lonely and say you are lonely? Or are specific circumstances required for there to be loneliness? What does loneliness mean for the animal and human brain? Is loneliness and the word “loneliness” common to all cultures?

Who Participates in Dog-sporting Events and Why?

Although people can be highly competitive in the various dog-sports, recent research shows that internal motives and social benefits are more important than trophies and accolades.

Brian Williams, Journalism, and Celebrity Culture

When journalists start living in a celebrity bubble, bad things can happen. Just ask Brian Williams. His downfall reminds us of the malleability of memory, and it also poses a cautionary tale to all journalists, particularly to the trend in journalism education to promote "entrepreneurial" journalism -- teaching aspiring journalists to cultivate their own "brand".

Two Synesthetes Walk Into a Bar...

By Maureen Seaberg on March 25, 2015 in Sensorium
What's So Funny About Synesthesia? Plenty!

What Parents Can’t Do

More than twice as many states required parental consent for mental health treatment than for substance abuse treatment.