COGNITION (Latin cognitio, from cognoscere, to become acquainted with), in psychology, a term used in its most general sense for all modes of being conscious or aware of an object, whether material or intellectual. It is an ultimate mode of consciousness, strictly the presentation (through sensation or otherwise) of an object to consciousness; in its complete form, however, it seems to involve a judgment, i.e. the separation from other objects of the object presented. The psychological theory of cognition takes for granted the dualism of the mind that knows and the object known; it takes no account of the metaphysical problem as to the possibility of a relation between the ego and the non-ego, but assumes that such a relation does exist. Cognition is therefore distinct from emotion and conation; it has no psychological connexion with feelings of pleasure and pain, nor does it tend as such to issue in action.
For the analysis of cognition-reactions see O. Külpe, Outlines of Psychology (Eng. trans., 1895), pp. 411 foll.; E. B. Titchener, Experimental Psychology (1905), ii. 187 foll. On cognition generally, G. F. Stout's Analytic Psychology and Manual of Psychology; W. James's Principles of Psychology (1890), i. 216 foll.; also article Psychology.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)