What are Cognitive Functions (2022)

What are cognitive functions?

Cognitive functions are mental processes that allow us to carry out any task. They allow the subject to have an active role in the processes of receiving, choosing, transforming, storing, processing and retrieval of information, allowing the subject to navigate the world around him.

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What are the most important cognitive functions?

The most important cognitive functions are attention, orientation, memory, gnosis, executive functions, praxis, language, social cognition and visuospatial skills.

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Orientation

What is orientation?

Orientation is the ability that allows awareness of oneself and one’s surroundings at all times.

• Personal orientation: ability to integrate information regarding personal history and identity.

• Temporal orientation:ability to manage information regarding day, time, month, year, holidays, seasons, a time for a certain behavior, etc.

• Spatial orientation: ability to handle information related to where one came from, where one is at any specific moment, where one is going, etc.
Read more about Orientation

Gnosis

What is gnosis?

Gnosis is the ability of the brain to recognize previously learned information such as objects, persons, or places collected from our senses. Thus, there are different types of gnosis, one for each sensory modality, and gnosis which combine different sensory modalities.

• Visual gnosis:ability to visually recognize various elements and attribute meaning to them (objects, faces, places, colors, etc.).

• Auditory gnosis: ability to recognize and differentiate between various sounds.

• Tactile gnosis: ability to recognize various objects by touch (textures, temperatures, etc.).

• Olfactory gnosis: ability to recognize, by smell, different odors.

• Gustatory gnosis: ability to recognize, through taste, different flavors.

• Body schema: ability to recognize and mentally perceive the body as a whole and its various parts, development of the movements that can be done with each, and orientation of the body in space.

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Read more about Gnosis

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Attention

What is attention?

Attention is the process of directing cognitive resources towards certain aspects of the environment, or towards the execution of certain actions that seem most appropriate. It refers to the state of observation and alertness that allows awareness of what is happening in the environment (Ballesteros, 2000).

In other words, attention is the ability to generate, direct, and maintain an appropriate state of alertness to correctly process information.

There are five different attention processes:

• Sustained attention: ability to fluidly maintain focus on a task or event for a prolonged period of time.

• Selective attention: ability to direct attention and focus on something without allowing other stimuli, either internal or external, to interrupt the task.

• Alternating attention: ability to shift our focus from one task or internal norm fluidly to another.

• Processing speed: rate at which the brain performs a task (it evidently will vary according to the task and depending on the other cognitive functions involved therein).

• Hemineglect:great difficulty or inability to direct attention towards either side (usually the left), in relation to the body as well as space.

Read more about Attention

Executive Functions

What are executive functions?

Executive functions are complex cognitive processes necessary for planning, organizing, guiding, revising, regulating, and evaluating behavior necessary to adapt effectively to the environment and to achieve goals (Bauermeister, 2008).

Executive functioning involves abilities and processes vital for daily life such as:

• Working memory: system that allows the maintenance, handling and processing of information in the mind.

• Planning: ability to generate goals, develop action plans to achieve them (sequence of steps), and to choose the appropriate one based on the anticipation of consequences.

• Reasoning: ability to compare results, draw inferences and establish abstract relationships.

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• Flexibility: ability to generate new strategies in order to adapt behavior according to changing environmental demands.

• Inhibition: ability to ignore impulses or irrelevant information either internally or externally when performing a task.

• Decision making: ability to decide a course of action after weighing the various kinds of possible options as well as their possible outcomes and consequences.

• Time estimation: ability to roughly estimate the passage of time and the duration of an activity or event.

• Dual execution: ability to perform two tasks at the same time (they should be of two different types), paying attention to both simultaneously.

• Branching (multitasking):ability to organize and optimally perform tasks simultaneously, inter-mixing them yet at all times knowing the status of each.

Read more about Executive Functions

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Praxis

What is praxis?

Praxis refers to learned motor activity. In other words, praxis is the generation of volitional movement for the performance of a particular action or towards achieving a goal.
Different types of praxis include:

• Ideomotor praxis: ability to intentionally make a movement or a simple gesture.

• Ideational praxis:ability to manipulate objects through a sequence of actions, which implies the knowledge of the object’s function, knowledge of the action and knowledge of the serial order of the acts leading to that action.

• Facial praxis: ability to voluntarily make movements or gestures with different parts of the face (lips, tongue, eyes, eyebrows, cheeks, etc.).

• Visuoconstructive praxis: ability to plan and make the movements necessary in order to organize a series of elements in space to form a drawing or completed 3-D figures.

Read more about Praxis

Memory

What is memory?

Memory is the ability to encode, store, and effectively retrieve previously learned information or past experiences. Memory is divided into two main types:

• Episodic memory: refers to information about events and experiences (where and when).

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• Semantic memory: refers to general knowledge.

• Procedural memory: refers to particular actions or a sequence of learned actions, most of which are automatically retrieved without thinking about the action or movement (often difficult to verbalize).

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Language

Qu’est-ce que le langage?

Language is a high-level cognitive function that develops processes of symbolization related to encoding and decoding.

According to Lecours et al. (1979), language refers to the production of spoken or written signs that symbolize objects, ideas, etc. in accordance with a linguistic community’s own convention.
Within language there are various functions which can be disrupted:

• Expression: ability to formulate ideas in a meaningful and grammatically correct manner.

• Comprehension: ability to understand the meaning of words and ideas.

• Vocabulary: lexical knowledge.

• Naming: ability to name objects, people or events.

• Naming: ability to name objects, people or events.

• Fluency: ability to produce fast and effective linguistic content.

• Discrimination: ability to recognize, distinguish and interpret language-related content.

• Repetition: ability to produce the same sounds one hears.

• Writing: ability to transform ideas into symbols, characters and images.

• Reading: ability to interpret symbols, characters and images and transform them into speech.

Read more about Language

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Social Cognition

Joint cognitive and emotional processes, by which we interpret, analyze, remember and use information about the social world. It refers to how we think about ourselves, others and their behavior, social relationships, and how we make sense of all that information and base our behavior accordingly.

Read more about Social Cognition

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Visuospatial Skills

What are visuospatial skills?

Visuospatial skill is the ability to represent, analyze, and mentally manipulate objects. There are two important concepts relating to visuospatial skills:

• Spatial relation: the ability to mentally perceive and manipulate objects in two dimensions.
• Spatial visualization: ability to mentally perceive and manipulate objects in three dimensions.

Read more about Visuospatial Skills

What are Cognitive Functions (11)

When do cognitive functions start to deteriorate?

The loss of cognitive abilities is due to the normal process of aging. How we age and how we experience this process, as well as our health and functional capacity, depend on both the genetic structure and the environment that has surrounded us throughout our lives.

In addition, there are other factors that can alter cognitive abilities such as neurodegenerative diseases, neurodevelopmental disorders, intellectual disabilities or mental illness. Also, the consumption of narcotic substances, alcoholism, severe physical or mental trauma, can affect brain activity in an acute or chronic way.

How can we preserve cognitive functions?

It has been shown that deterioration slows down and deficits are milder if we maintain an active and healthy life in stimulating environments and if we continue to work on our abilities through cognitive stimulation practices and exercises.

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What do we use cognitive functions for?

Higher brain functions such as reasoning, memory and attention are essential for a full and independent life. Throughout the day we use the cognitive functions continuously. Our brain uses different cognitive abilities to prepare food, drive or hold meetings, activating different parts of our hemispheres to a greater or lesser extent.

Why are cognitive functions important?

All the activities that we perform require the use of our brain functions, which involves millions of neural connections distributed throughout our brain lobes and the activation of different areas of the brain to adequately deal with our environment and process the information that we obtain through various channels.

How do we use cognitive functions?

Information processing in the human mind is carried out through the cognitive system. The person has an active role in the processes of reception, selection, transformation, processing, recovery and transformation of the information that reaches the brain.The processing of such information is composed of interrelated cognitive that act together to execute the most complex mental operations. In this way, a cognitive function can be joined or complemented with others to form a higher unit, a cognitive process, on which one can intervene by working on its most basic units (cognitive functions) or on its more elaborate processes (thinking skills).

FAQs

What are the main cognitive functions? ›

Cognitive functions include the domains of perception, memory, learning, attention, decision making, and language abilities.

What are the 7 cognitive functions? ›

Cognitive functioning refers to multiple mental abilities, including learning, thinking, reasoning, remembering, problem solving, decision making, and attention.

What are the 5 cognitive functions? ›

To better understand our cognitive remediation and rehab therapy, learn more about the main cognitive functions: attention, memory, language, executive functions, and Visual and Spatial abilities.

How can I improve my cognitive function? ›

Small changes may really add up: Making these part of your routine could help you function better.
  1. Take Care of Your Physical Health.
  2. Manage High Blood Pressure.
  3. Eat Healthy Foods.
  4. Be Physically Active.
  5. Keep Your Mind Active.
  6. Stay Connected with Social Activities.
  7. Manage Stress.
  8. Reduce Risks to Cognitive Health.
15 Sept 2022

Why are cognitive functions important? ›

Cognitive functions are brain-based skills we need to carry out any task from the simplest to the most complex. They are related with the mechanisms of how we learn, remember, problem-solve, and pay attention, etc.

What is poor cognitive functioning? ›

Cognitive impairment is when a person has trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life.

What are the 3 important cognitive skills you need to develop? ›

What Are Some Essential Cognitive Skills That Every Student Needs, To Learn Effectively?
  • Attention. ...
  • Working Memory. ...
  • Processing Speed. ...
  • Long-Term Memory. ...
  • Visual Processing. ...
  • Auditory Processing. ...
  • Logic & Reasoning.

How do you determine cognitive function? ›

The easiest way is to take a test. Some of them are available online for free: the most accurate ones are John's Personality Test and the MBTI and Cognitive Functions Test. If you just want a quick way of finding your type, try taking these tests and seeing if there's overlap or agreement!

How can I improve my cognitive function naturally? ›

How to Improve Cognitive Function 101
  1. A plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and grains.
  2. Regular exercise.
  3. Good sleep habits.
  4. Stress reduction.
  5. Social involvement.
  6. Challenging your brain.
31 Jul 2021

What are the 9 cognitive skills? ›

Cognitive Skills
  • Sustained Attention. Allows a child to stay focused on a single task for long periods of time.
  • Selective Attention. ...
  • Divided Attention. ...
  • Long-Term Memory. ...
  • Working Memory. ...
  • Logic and Reasoning. ...
  • Auditory Processing. ...
  • Visual Processing.

What is the most effective exercise for cognitive function? ›

Aerobic exercise, like running and swimming, appears to be best for brain health. That's because it increases a person's heart rate, “which means the body pumps more blood to the brain,” says Okonkwo. But strength training, like weight lifting, may also bring benefits to the brain by increasing heart rate.

What are the 4 basic cognitive concept? ›

Piaget proposed four major stages of cognitive development, and called them (1) sensorimotor intelligence, (2) preoperational thinking, (3) concrete operational thinking, and (4) formal operational thinking.

What are the 6 cognitive skills? ›

The cognitive process is divided into six levels from lower to higher: remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating.

What is an example of a cognitive activity? ›

Read books and tell jokes and riddles. Encourage stacking and building games or play with cardboard boxes. Do simple jigsaw puzzles and memory games. Play games that combine moving and singing – for example, 'If you're happy and you know it'.

What foods are best for cognitive function? ›

Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, collards, and broccoli are rich in brain-healthy nutrients like vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene. Research suggests these plant-based foods may help slow cognitive decline.

Can you repair cognitive function? ›

Intellectual stimulation may prevent cognitive decline. Studies have shown that computer use, playing games, reading books and other intellectual activities may help preserve function and prevent cognitive decline. Social engagement may make life more satisfying, help preserve mental function and slow mental decline.

What are the signs of cognitive decline? ›

Signs of cognitive decline
  • Forgetting appointments and dates.
  • Forgetting recent conversations and events.
  • Feeling increasingly overwhelmed by making decisions and plans.
  • Having a hard time understanding directions or instructions.
  • Losing your sense of direction.
  • Losing the ability to organize tasks.
  • Becoming more impulsive.
6 Sept 2020

What factors affect cognitive function? ›

Factors affecting cognitive impairment that have been identified so far include age, educational period, gender [6-10], health life factors such as drinking and smoking [7], depression [11], social factors such as social activity and occupation, history of disease, and body mass index (BMI) [12].

What part of the brain is cognitive function? ›

Both cognitive and motor function are controlled by brain areas such as frontal lobes, cerebellum, and basal ganglia that collectively interact to exert governance and control over executive function and intentionality of movements that require anticipation and the prediction of movement of others.

Is cognitive function psychological? ›

In psychological health research, a person's ability to think, otherwise known as their cognitive functions, is a crucial subject of research. The cognitive functions are a variety of different, but related, skills involving learning and problem-solving.

Is anxiety a cognitive disorder? ›

It was hypothesised that anxiety is associated with cognitive impairment based on studies in older adults [12], [13] with impairments in memory and executive functioning being those domains most positively associated with anxiety.

What is the most common cognitive impairment? ›

Alzheimer's disease, one of the most common cognitive disorders, affects approximately 5.1 million Americans.

What medications can cause cognitive problems? ›

The Four Most Commonly Used Types of Medications That Dampen Brain Function
  • Benzodiazepines. This class of medication is often prescribed to help people sleep, or to help with anxiety. ...
  • Non-benzodiazepine prescription sedatives. ...
  • Anticholinergics. ...
  • Antipsychotics and mood-stabilizers. ...
  • Opiate pain medications.

What are strong cognitive skills? ›

Cognitive skills are the core skills your brain uses to think, read, learn, remember, reason, and pay attention. Working together, they take incoming information and move it into the bank of knowledge you use every day at school, at work, and in life.

What are some common cognitive tests? ›

The most common cognitive tests are:
  • Montreal cognitive assessment (MoCA). This short test lasts around 15 minutes. ...
  • Mini-mental state exam (MMSE). The MMSE lasts around 10 minutes. ...
  • Mini-Cog.
8 Jun 2021

Is memory a cognitive function? ›

Memory: Memory is an important cognitive process that allows people to encode, store, and retrieve information.

How are cognitive disabilities diagnosed? ›

The diagnosis of an intellectual disability is typically made through a test of intelligence or cognition, often assessed by the range of scores on an Intelligence Quotient (IQ) test.

What vitamin is good for cognitive? ›

B vitamins like B6, B12, and B9 (folic acid) all play a role in brain health.

Which is the best dry fruit for brain? ›

For example, walnuts are good for the brain because they have higher levels of DHA, which is important for brain health.

What are cognitive skills in adults? ›

Processing speed (how quickly and accurately you can perform tasks) Logic and reasoning. Language skills. Auditory and visual processing.

What are the four non routine cognitive skills? ›

These four skills are abstract reasoning, systems thinking, collaboration, and ability to experiment.

Can memory be restored? ›

Treatment for memory loss depends on the cause. In many cases, it may be reversible with treatment. For example, memory loss from medications may resolve with a change in medication. Nutritional supplements can be useful against memory loss caused by a nutritional deficiency.

Can you train your cognitive ability? ›

Practicing a new and challenging activity is a good bet for building and maintaining cognitive skills. Your brain has the ability to learn and grow as you age — a process called brain plasticity — but for it to do so, you have to train it on a regular basis.

What are the 5 higher cognitive processes? ›

Higher order cognition is composed of a range of sophisticated thinking skills. Among the functions subsumed under this category of neurodevelopmental function are concept acquisition, systematic decision making, evaluative thinking, brainstorming (including creativity), and rule usage.

What is the most important stage of cognitive development? ›

Piaget considered the concrete stage a major turning point in the child's cognitive development because it marks the beginning of logical or operational thought. This means the child can work things out internally in their head (rather than physically try things out in the real world).

How do adults develop cognitive skills? ›

These habits can improve cognitive function and protect against cognitive decline for a lifespan.
  1. Physical Activity. ...
  2. Openness to Experience. ...
  3. Curiosity and Creativity. ...
  4. Social Connections. ...
  5. Mindfulness Meditation. ...
  6. Brain-Training Games. ...
  7. Get Enough Sleep. ...
  8. Reduce Chronic Stress.
12 Mar 2014

What's another word for cognitive? ›

What is another word for cognitive?
cerebralmental
psychologicalintellectual
intrapersonalperceptive
rationalthinking
intellectivereasoning
16 more rows

What are some examples of cognitive activities for adults? ›

13 Powerful Cognitive Activities for Adults
  • Mindful Walking. ...
  • Drawing. ...
  • Counting Letters. ...
  • Color Arrangement. ...
  • Approximation and Estimation Exercises. ...
  • Card Games. ...
  • Word Games. ...
  • Remembering Sequences.
11 Jun 2022

What are the 8 personality types? ›

They are very skilled at communication.
  • Sentimental introvert. The sentimental introvert personality type corresponds with solitary people who have great difficulty establishing social relationships with other people. ...
  • Perceptive extrovert. ...
  • Perceptive introvert. ...
  • Intuitive extrovert. ...
  • Intuitive introvert.
28 Jul 2022

What are the 9 cognitive skills? ›

Cognitive Skills
  • Sustained Attention. Allows a child to stay focused on a single task for long periods of time.
  • Selective Attention. ...
  • Divided Attention. ...
  • Long-Term Memory. ...
  • Working Memory. ...
  • Logic and Reasoning. ...
  • Auditory Processing. ...
  • Visual Processing.

What are the 6 cognitive Processes? ›

The cognitive process includes the six levels of thinking skills as remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate and create.

What are the 6 cognitive skills? ›

The cognitive process is divided into six levels from lower to higher: remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating.

What is the quietest personality type? ›

Really, the quietest personality type is the dead personality type.

Which personality type is the kindest? ›

1. ESFJ. People who fit the ESFJ personality type can usually be recognized by their big hearts and kindly manner. ESFJs are warm and welcoming and their love of tradition means they value good old-fashioned manners highly.

What is the most important cognitive skill? ›

One of the most important cognitive skills is attention, which enables us to process the necessary information from our environment. We usually process such information through our senses, stored memories, and other cognitive processes. Lack of attention inhibits and reduces our information processing systems.

What are strong cognitive skills? ›

Cognitive skills are the core skills your brain uses to think, read, learn, remember, reason, and pay attention. Working together, they take incoming information and move it into the bank of knowledge you use every day at school, at work, and in life.

What are examples of cognitive behaviors? ›

Examples of CBT techniques might include the following: Exposing yourself to situations that cause anxiety, like going into a crowded public space. Journaling about your thoughts throughout the day and recording your feelings about your thoughts.

What are the 4 stages of mind? ›

Sensorimotor stage: Birth to 2 years. Preoperational stage: Ages 2 to 7. Concrete operational stage: Ages 7 to 11. Formal operational stage: Ages 12 and up.

What are the 4 cognitive skills? ›

Piaget divided children's cognitive development in four stages, each of the stages represent a new way of thinking and understanding the world. He called them (1) sensorimotor intelligence, (2) preoperational thinking, (3) concrete operational thinking, and (4) formal operational thinking.

What part of the brain is responsible for cognition? ›

Frontal Lobe

This lobe is located at the front of the brain and is associated with reasoning, motor skills, higher level cognition, and expressive language.

What are the 3 important cognitive skills you need to develop? ›

What Are Some Essential Cognitive Skills That Every Student Needs, To Learn Effectively?
  • Attention. ...
  • Working Memory. ...
  • Processing Speed. ...
  • Long-Term Memory. ...
  • Visual Processing. ...
  • Auditory Processing. ...
  • Logic & Reasoning.

Is memory a cognitive function? ›

Memory: Memory is an important cognitive process that allows people to encode, store, and retrieve information.

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