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what is cognition

Cognition is “the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.” It encompasses processes such as knowledge, attention, memory and working memory, judgment and evaluation, reasoning and “computation”, problem solving and decision making, comprehension and production of language, etc. Human cognition is conscious and unconscious, concrete or abstract, as well as intuitive (like knowledge of a language) and conceptual (like a model of a language). Cognitive processes use existing knowledge and generate new knowledge.

The processes are analyzed from different perspectives within different contexts, notably in the fields of linguistics, anesthesia, neuroscience, psychiatry, psychology, education, philosophy, anthropology, biology, systemics, logic, and computer science.[page needed] These and other different approaches to the analysis of cognition are synthesised in the developing field of cognitive science, a progressively autonomous academic discipline. Within psychology and philosophy, the concept of cognition is closely related to abstract concepts such as mind and intelligence. It encompasses the mental functions, mental processes (thoughts), and states of intelligent entities (humans, collaborative groups, human organizations, highly autonomous machines, and artificial intelligences).

Thus, the term’s usage varies across disciplines; for example, in psychology and cognitive science, “cognition” usually refers to an information processing view of an individual’s psychological functions. It is also used in a branch of social psychology called social cognition to explain attitudes, attribution, and group dynamics. In cognitive psychology and cognitive engineering, cognition is typically assumed to be information processing in a participant’s or operator’s mind or brain.

Cognition can in some specific and abstract sense also be artificial