Cognitive brain functions constitute the ability to work with information in a meaningful way, apply information that has already been gained, perform preferential changes, and the ability for someone to change opinions about that information. Within psychology, the idea of cognitive brain function has long been associated with very abstract ideas such as learning, intelligence, and mind. Of course, these ideas are extremely broad, but so are the cognitive brain functions. They are formulated out of memories, and how they relate to current information intake. A person’s ability to actively comprehend, think about that comprehension, and then apply their own opinion to that information is an important part of cognitive function. Planning and learning insofar as using their “information bank” is of extreme importance.
Because cognitive thinking relies on the ability to link diverse, stored information, keen cognitive brain function is related to a person’s ability to plan and make decisions. Rather than seeing things for exactly what they are, a person with very good cognitive brain functions will be able to infer information from complex information in reference to previous knowledge and use that to their own advantage. For this reason, in management situations, it is very important. However, like executive brain functions, our understanding of cognitive brain function should not be construed to understand that it is only working with complex decisions and information. Rather, cognitive brain function is directly related to a person’s ability to make an informed decision. Therefore, it is also directly related to a person’s quality of life.
Two very important aspects of the ability to use cognitive functions is current mood and state of health. If a person is depressed, for example, it may be exceedingly difficult for them to recall and link information in a manner that will enable them to make an appropriate decision. So within the field of cognitive therapy, it may be necessary to work on certain other disorders or ailments before diversifying into treatment of the person’s cognitive ability. The first goal of any therapy around cognitive brain function is invariably to identify any underlying hindrances to that person’s ability to enter into the therapy in the first place. Therefore, the everyday stresses and problems associated with destructive moods must first be mitigated before therapy of cognitive functions can necessarily begin.
Cognitive functions are from their very nature related to interrelationships between memory and experience. The ability to transfer what has been learned in one situation to another based on previous experience is an important aspect. If a person undergoing some kind of cognitive function therapy is performing this at a clinic, it may occur that they are unable to transfer the knowledge gained there to situations at home, school, or work. It is, therefore, necessary to hone each therapy to a person’s individual ability and needs, and to understand the constraints therein. Since cognitive therapy is a stepwise form of therapy, it usually starts off from simplistic tasks and moving into the more advanced. Cognitive therapy is appropriate for myriad demographics.
Weaknesses especially affect the aged – those who have experienced bodily and/or mental trauma, or suffer from disabilities or disorders. Within the stepwise therapy, it is sometimes necessary for the person to learn compensation rather than creating the goal of full recovery, since it might not be possible. For this reason, and differing from therapy regarding executive brain functions, it may be necessary to monitor a person’s cognitive functions over a long period of time.
Techniques nearly always stress the importance of repeated actions that are honed to the patient’s area of particular interest. People suffering from cognitive brain function disorders are most often successful when they target their own interests, rather than having repetitive actions forced upon them. When cognitive functions are severely weakened, it may be necessary to institute such therapy methods as rewards for correct decisions and behavior. Degradation of learned compensation techniques is especially a problem with this therapy, since certain stress stimuli often return over a certain amount of time. Therefore, this kind of therapy is used in the treatment of learning disabilities, dementia, and schizophrenia.
In regard to the area of executive and cognitive functions, it has always been very difficult for the medical community to draw the line of distinction between the two in a scientific way. That is, it is exceedingly difficult to say a certain part of the brain is affected by each. However, in therapy, it is nearly always the case that the executive functions must be addressed before the cognitive because they work on a much lower level, governing the ability of the person to use their cognitive functions in a meaningful way.
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