Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Cognitive Mind: Is Cognition = Thinking

Cognition is a perception, sensation, and insight.

A simple look into the dictionary: Cognition is 1) the mental process of acquiring knowledge through thought, experience, and senses. 2) a perception, sensation or resulting from 1). The “definition” of cognitive Science is the study of thought, learning, and mental organization. Admittedly, a dictionary does not really tells us much, but it’s a good start...


In principle, a thought is a meaning. And the meaning could range from vague (ambiguous) to the very specific. Usually, the meaning slides towards specific by verbal means. However, music is also considered as a language organizing/ expressing emotional/physiological meanings. Another complications is that the act of perception is actually act of assigning meaning to stimuli. It’ll start with a century old definition of habit: "A habit, from the standpoint of psychology, is a more or less fixed way of thinking, willing, or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience." And to shun more light of Active Perception theory: "A habit, from the standpoint of psychology, is a more or less fixed way of perceiving, thinking, willing, or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience."


It is a simplification to call cognition thinking, which means people acquire knowledge through thinking and sensing. When we explore the mental process of acquiring new knowledge through thought, experience, and senses - the cognition involves exploring varieties of meanings/thoughts and abandoning old and establishing new relations. In neuronal terms, this involves disabling some of the “wiring” and working on the new ones. All of that requires a deliberate mental effort. The mental process itself is likely to employ the enhanced version of Kolmogorov’s Complexity (also known as descriptive complexity, Kolmogorov–Chaitin complexity, algorithmic entropy, or program-size complexity of an object, such as a piece of text, is a measure of the computability resources needed to specify the object and enhanced version of nonmonotonic logic)...  


Physicality and meaning are the two sides of the same coin. By sliding over the spectrum (from biology to anthropology), we have also erased traditional superficial boundaries of the meaning of the thought. And we have also tackled this mostly as habitual patterns. The description of the past and present is a basis for prediction about what is likely to happen next. The more accurate prediction - the better chances for survival are. And that offers a clear evolutionary advantage to an organism and to species in general. We actually do (most of the time) “think” - or, “rethink” (like react) habitually. The actual “thinking” is a conscious or non-conscious effort to reorganize your memories (meanings) and integrate newly acquired knowledge (new meanings). The conscious effort employs and tries to expand one’s attention span to stay focused on the wide range of meanings (memories) in order to reconcile them in a coherent whole. Up to now, we also have established links between traditional concept of “thinking,” “feeling” (music) and partly “willing.” Willing should be considered as any type of physical/ physiological acts (including verbal) - Intended to achieve desired outcome.


Cognition can happen in many different ways and their combinations: Enhancing our “description of the world and ourselves within it” - is cognition and differs from ordinary (usually habitual) thoughts. 1) Discovering meaningful differences between phenomena (meanings) we considered to be the “same”; 2) Discovering meaningful similarities between phenomena (meanings) we considered to be entirely “different”; 3) Discovering similarities between whole clusters of phenomena (meanings) we haven’t noticed before; 4) Discovering meaningful differences within whole clusters of phenomena (meaning) we haven’t noticed before; 5) Discovering entirely new levels of abstractions that might rearrange whole clusters and even the whole of our “description of the world and ourselves within it” And there is more. All of the rest are habitual and nonhabitual thoughts about details within the present belief system...


In short, cognition reorganizes parts of one’s belief system, and thoughts navigate within one’s present belief system as it is. That’s not to say that thoughts do not occasionally trip over beliefs that might prompt a reorganization. Just as it’s been defined, cognition is a perception, sensation, and insight.



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