What is cognition? What is the definition of cognition in psychology? Information on cognition.
Cognition; any mental process by which an organism becomes aware of objects of thought or perception, or gains knowIedge of tire world. Cognition thus is knowiııg in the most general sense. It involves perceiving, recognizing, conceiving, judging, and reasoning and is, with feeling (emotional experience) and conation (volition), one of the three functions of consciousness operating at once in humans.
The essence of cognition is judgment—the process by which an object is distinguished from other objects and is characterized by concepts. The development of cognitive (or judging) processes, particularly in the child, is a subject of great interest to both psychologists and educators. To Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget, cognition is an orderly, clearly structured process by which the child “apprehends reality.” It involves multiple interrelationships, both among “cognitive acts” on the one hand and between these acts and the meanings and concepts they reflect on the other. Since these relationships are subject to change, cognition becomes an on-going, fluid process in which the child is continually amending his inner representation of and response to the environment on the basis of new experiences. Thus, cognitive growth occurs.
Jerome S. Bruner and other modern learning theorists conceptualize cognition in terms of a mastery in achieving and utilizing knowledge. An individual gains knowledge of something by doing it, by depicting it, by imagining it, or by organizing it symbolically (for example, through language). These are the “systems of representation.” When these systems conflict, the child changes his way of solving problems—a manifestation of cognitive growth.
Bruner describes three stages of cognitive growth. In “enactive representation,” which begins soon after birth, experience and action are fused; there is no separation of the child from his environment. In “iconic representation” the child can represent the world by an image relatively independent of his own action. In “symbolic representation,” the child learns that things have names and thus acquires linguistic skills. Bruner contends that the categories into which man organizes his world are really the inventions and tools of science, which is constantly modifying cognitive structure much as the infant does to meet the demands of an increased range of experiences.