Cognition, simply put, is the sum total of all mental processes in the brain. In the cognition pyramid, Figure 15.1, the Cognition Pyramid, depicts mental processes paralleled to brain structure which provides the process.
- Preconscious behaviors arise in the brainstem, with bodily movements controlled by the cerebellum
- Emotions, momentary responses to environmental situations, arise in the amygdala of the limbic system
- Memories encoded by the limbic’s hippocampus into the cortex, supports learning, enhancing responses to challenges and opportunities
- Visual processing allows remote identification of objects in environment
- Planning for future conditions requires the enlarged prefrontal cortex of homo sapiens
We also need to distinguish between thought and reasoning. Referring to the Encyclopedia Britannica and to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a useful partition is exposed.
- Cognition, the process involved in knowing, or the act of knowing. According to this definition, cognition cannot occur until memory and learning is available.
- Cognition includes all conscious processes by which knowledge is accumulated, such as perceiving, recognizing, conceiving, and reasoning.
- Put differently, cognition is an experience of knowing that can be distinguished from an experience of feeling or willing.
- Thought is the highest level of cognition. It consists of internal symbolic representations of the internal worldview and the current environment stimuli.The internal representation can be 1) word-based or 2) pattern-based. If external stimuli do not require immediate reaction, other inputs are be provided by personal needs, goals, or fears.
- There are uses of the word thinking or thought that are not used here. For instance, in casual conversation, the word thinking covers other distinct psychological activities—tending to believe or degree of attentiveness, e g., “I did it without thinking” or whatever is in consciousness, “It made me think of my grandmother.”
- Thought, or thinking, is considered to mediate between inner activity and external stimuli. We think to develop responses to our reality. These responses range from conversational gambits to physical behaviors.
- In Mental Construction, the focus is on the psychological usage—thinking as an intellectual exertion aimed at finding an answer to a question or the solution to a practical problem.
Reasoning is thought concerned with the derivation of inferences or conclusions from the mental worldview. Psychologists and philosophers typically distinguish deduction and induction as the two main kinds of reasoning.
In the investigation about what we reason about, we will have additional more groundwork to lay.
Sources of Thought
Imperatives which predate our species do not vanish, but are transmuted as they rise up the layers of our mind. The sources of thoughts.
We all know that much more exists in our minds than mere sense perception. Successive abstraction marches our perceptions up a concept elevator of increasing abstraction merging personal perspective into our mental worldview.
The neural cascade describes the cumulative loss of fidelity across the Almost Gates. The increasing abstraction leads to a broadening of category matches since less detail is available for distinctions.
Reasoning is accomplished with both deductive logic and by induction with similarity.