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Act or process of knowing. Cognition includes every mental process that may be described as an experience of knowing (including perceiving, recognizing, conceiving, and reasoning), as distinguished from an experience of feeling or of willing. Philosophers have long been interested in the relationship between the knowing mind and external reality; psychologists took up the study of cognition in the 20th century. See alsocognitive psychology; cognitive science; philosophy of mind.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on cognition, visit Britannica.com.