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Cognitive Processes and Operations

Cognitive psychology is the discipline that focuses on mental processes such as perception, knowledge building, memory, and the use of mental tools, systems, and structures such as language. Etymologically, cognition is a derivation of the Latin word cognoscere, which can be translated as “to know.” Cognition refers to the way an individual extracts information from the world, how information is processed and stored, how it is internally organized through learning and experience, and how it is accessed. This entry discusses how cognition is best understood: as active internal structures formed and modified through interaction with the external world.

Understanding cognition is based on introspection, experimental studies of memory, learning and perception, neurophysiological analyses, functional brain imaging (including functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, studies), event-related neurological ...

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