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

Tips for Smart Gardeners

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on January 20, 2018 in How To Do Life
A thinking person's guide to getting more from that healing hobby.

Superstitious Learning and Groundhog Day

By Ryan Smerek, Ph.D. on January 19, 2018 in Learning at Work
How can we recognize and promote valid learning in organizations?

Can Humor Make You Sexist?

By Scott Weems Ph.D. on January 19, 2018 in What’s So Funny?
Do you laugh at sexist jokes? That could be a problem, or not.

Lacking Critical Thought in Prime Time News

Consider the number of lapses in critical thinking in this interview and, more importantly, why critical thinking education is so necessary.

Why Are You Always Thinking About Yourself?

Narcissism ranges from healthy to unhealthy, but is core to who we are. Research reveals brain mechanisms which default to self-reflection when we aren't doing anything else.

Excess Dietary Salt Can Impair Cognition via Gut-Brain Axis

By Christopher Bergland on January 19, 2018 in The Athlete's Way
Consuming too much salt can promote cognitive dysfunction via the gut-brain axis, according to a new study on mice.

Why Your Child’s Lies May Be a Sign of Intelligence

By Tracy P Alloway Ph.D. on January 18, 2018 in Keep It in Mind
Why your child’s lies may be a sign of intelligence - how working memory can boost lying in children

Can Food Supplements Protect the Minds of Aging Dogs?

Old dogs can have a version of Alzheimer's disease and data suggests that this might be prevented by changing what they eat

People Patterns

The message here is to pay attention to what the brain is trying to tell you.

See the World Through Patterns

When you see patterns, they can be life changing, and they can even make you smarter.

Three Words That Helped My 13-Year-Old Study Better

Are you a parent who is trying to figure out how to help your child study? Cognitive psychology research might help.

Let's Commend Fact-Based Thinking: Except With Alcohol

By Stanton Peele Ph.D. on January 17, 2018 in Addiction in Society
Kurt Andersen hates irrationality, except when it comes to alcohol.

Life as a Bilingual II

The blog "Life as a bilingual" is more than seven years old and has been consulted by a large number of visitors. We look back on this wonderful adventure.

3 Tips to Reduce Stress for Better Brain Health

Learn 3 simple strategies to feel less stressed and maximize memory

Purely Symbolic and Without Substance?

By The Research Lab on January 15, 2018 in The Fundamentals
Using racially coded language.

Exposure and Response Prevention for OCD

Heard of ERP treatment for anxiety disorders? Learn what part of ERP actually causes behavior change.

Brain Signatures of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Is OCD "just anxiety" or are there biological differences in those with OCD?

Applying Conversational Analysis to the Digital World

Digital interactions with customers as they progress linearly from touchpoint to touchpoint is, in a very real sense, a conversation.

Do You Think Before You Type?

By Tonya Davis, Ph.D. on January 12, 2018 in Cognition Cafe
The impact of instant technology on critical thinking skills.
Science Springs

Hypotheses Versus Predictions

The terms "hypotheses" and "predictions" are often used interchangeably. They are very different things, however. Distinguishing between them can lead to better science.

The Connection Between Writing and Sleep

By Lydia Denworth on January 12, 2018 in Brain Waves
Do you have trouble falling asleep? A new study reveals that writing for a few minutes is an easy and effective solution. But what you write about makes all the difference.

Does Getting Older Mean Losing Your Sense of Humor?

By Scott Weems Ph.D. on January 12, 2018 in What’s So Funny?
Getting older doesn't mean losing your sense of humor. So long as you work on it.

He’s Pavlov and We’re the Dogs: Learning and Human Behavior

The science of learning has more fully developed the nature and function of Pavlovian conditioning than is commonly believed. This form of learning is vital to adaptive behavior.

How to Make Your New Year's Resolutions Stick

By Tracy P Alloway Ph.D. on January 09, 2018 in Keep It in Mind
Worried that your New Year's resolutions won't last? Here are three tips to make them stick.

Can Dogs Suffer From ADHD?

Dogs and human children share a number of mental characteristics and predispositions including the possibility of ADHD.
CCO Commons

Here's a Way Around New Year's Resolutions

By Diana Raab PhD on January 09, 2018 in The Empowerment Diary
Many people make New Year's resolutions and find that in a short period of time that they are broken. A better idea might be to make New Year's intentions.

Just Because It Seems Accurate, Doesn’t Make It True

By Michael Bar-Eli, Ph.D. on January 09, 2018 in Boost!
A problematic relationship continues to persist in psychology between hypothetical constructs and operational definitions.

Sharpen Your Mind With the MIND Diet

Decrease brain aging and the risk of Alzheimer's with the MIND Diet

Science Isn't Just Common Sense

By David P. Barash Ph.D. on January 08, 2018 in Pura Vida
It is widely assumed—by people sympathetic to science—that science necessarily corresponds to our experience and assumptions. Surprise! It's at its best when it doesn't.

"Do Animals Really Know They're Gonna Die?"

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 08, 2018 in Animal Emotions
Discussions about whether animals commit suicide raise many interesting questions for which there are few, if any, definitive answers about what they know about death and dying.