Cognitive Processes: Can They Improve?

What Are Cognitive Processes?

Remembering where you parked your car in that massive parking lot, thinking about which colour you want your shed painted, understanding and offering advice to your best friend and learning how to play Peak – Brain Training games all have one thing in common; each relies on cognitive processes. And each cognitive process relies on conscious mental activity. 

In some circumstances, cognitive processes can be “trained” to ensure optimum function. This is broadly referred to as cognitive development. The two often go hand in hand. 

The brain completes numerous tasks each day – more than we think. These tasks are controlled by our cognitive processing “machine.” This “machine” internally processes all of the external information we receive each day and it helps us to react accordingly. 

A image of a spiderweb depicting cognitive processes and how they are all intertwined and linked.

Definition of cognition:

Absorbing and understanding information via experiences, stimulated senses and learning. When your brain goes through cognitive processes, it learns and/or reacts consciously or subconsciously. 

 Access, Analyse and Adapt

Cognitive processes interact together in order for us to access, analyse and adapt to life’s events. It’s our executive functions which control and coordinate this process. 

Types of Cognitive Processes and Skills Include: 

  • Attention – The ability to concentrate on one thing without distraction.
  • Working MemoryThe part of the brain that uses memory-in-action whilst in the present moment.
  • Response – How we respond to certain situations via assessment and adaptation.
  • Information Processing – How we’re able to process information we’re receiving from our current situation.
  • Language – Our way with words and how we apply them to any given and/or specific environment. 
  • Perception – Our ability to absorb and process information on the spot.

Can we improve our cognitive processes? 

In short, yes, it may be possible. And here are 4 tips and tricks which could help you to improve your cognitive processes:

1. Tap Into Technology

An image of a woman on a phone using a brain training app called Peak - Brain Training.

And train that brain of yours. Now is the time to get stuck into science-backed brain training technology because a phenomenal amount of scientific research is going on behind the scenes to help show that cognitive processes may be improved. 

Peak’s brain training app is a fine example of a science-backed app. Take for example the language games in the app, such as Babble Bots, Word Path, and Word Fresh, all are similar to Scrabble in challenging word detection and verbal fluency skills. A number of studies have shown that expertise with word games like Scrabble correlates with benefits in language-related cognitive abilities. For example, Scrabble experts define more words correctly and are quicker to identify words in cognitive tests than non-experts. We’re off to get training to help improve our cognitive processes! 

2. Upgrade Your Physical Health

Cognitive processes thrive in positive surroundings. It’s similar to how a car functions; if you put shoddy fuel into a car then the car’s output won’t be as good as if you had used a quality fuel source. In fact, the shoddy fuel may cause the engine to deteriorate and combust! Whereas a quality fuel may extend the life of the engine. Okay, long-winded metaphor over. What we’re getting at here is that you need to fuel your body and brain with decent food. Plus, up/improve your exercise intake and drink quality (preferably chlorine-free) water. And that’s just for starters. 

3. Get Creative

A man drawing a cat showing that his cognitive processes thrive in creative environments.

Paint your cat. Write a short scene from an imaginary play about wombats. Make a cake in the shape of a brain. Have a rap-off with your neighbour. Redesign Macy’s logo. When it comes to being creative, for the sake of developing your cognitive processes; anything goes. Instead of watching TV tonight, learn how to bake a sugar-free cake.

4. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a great method that may restore your brain’s structural balance and switch up your current way of processing information. Thanks to neuroscience and neuroscientists, it’s become possible to use neuroimaging and brain scanning to see how different methods of processing occur in the brain and where they happen. 

When it comes to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) many cognitive changes have been proven to be effective via neuroimaging. In a study, published by Molecular Psychiatry and reported by PsychCentral, researchers investigated structural brain changes in patients suffering from social anxiety disorder after a 10-week course of CBT. 

Using magnetic resonance imaging, the participants’ brains were examined before and after CBT. They were able to show that “structural changes occur in brain areas linked to self-control and emotion regulation.” They discovered that “the more successful the treatment, the stronger the brain changes.” They also found that after the CBT course, the areas of the brain which were involved with processing emotions were “more interconnected after the treatment.” 

It’s important to note that CBT can be accessed by anyone who may need/want it. Whether you’re solving your cognitive dissonance or just wanting to change an old steadfast habit, CBT may be a superb drug-free resource for restoring your brain’s structural balance and cognitive processes. 

So if you’ve been inspired to test and boost your cognitive processes, why not start with one of these 4 tips? When it comes to training your brain and all things cognitive, the time to start is right here and now. Small tweaks may equal big gains in the long-term. Happy processing!

Liked this article? Find out how your brain works like a muscle here.

Sources Cited:

Maisie Bygraves

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