Cognition and cognitive abilities deal with information processing

Cognition is short for the processing of information towards (changes in) behavior. A large part of sensory information that is received by the brain is processed and used without us becoming aware of them. Other forms of information are dissected and summarized in such a way that we become conscious of them and can, for instance, store them in our memory.

The brain plays an active role in selecting information and piecing together various information modalities into a person’s view on reality. This can be recorded using MRI. Neuropsychologists apply a wide variety of protocols and tasks to delineate the various elements involved in cognition. While such insights are instrumental in understanding what makes us conscious it also links up with disorders that affect cognitive abilities such as pathological gambling, dementias or depression.