Cognition refers to higher level brain functions that deal with understanding information, processing it and retaining that knowledge. Cognitive processing of information includes using language, problem solving, planning, organizing, decision making and perceiving through the senses.
Cognition deals with the logical or analytical aspects as opposed to the emotional ones. Cognitive processes can be both conscious and subconscious.
Cognition is a specialization in a number of disciplines where the nature of information processing is of prime importance. Some of these disciplines include cognitive ergonomics, cognitive psychology, cognitive anthropology and social cognitions.
When cognition is the focus of a discipline specialization the discipline deals with how mental processing and information gathering affects it. In terms of ergonomics, where the interface between a person and the work they must perform is optimized, cognitive ergonomics will deal with how information is gathered, how much and how quickly it can be processed and how it is best presented to the worker to make things efficient and support the worker’s cognitive capabilities.