The main difference between cognition and intelligence is that cognition is the mental process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses, while intelligence is the ability to easily learn or understand things and to deal with new or difficult situations.
Cognition and intelligence are two concepts related to our mental actions and processes. Cognition is an umbrella term that involves mental actions such as the acquisition of knowledge, comprehending, thinking, judging and problem-solving. In fact, intelligence is a part of cognition.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Cognition
– Definition, Nature, Characteristics
2. What is Intelligence
– Definition, Nature, Characteristics
3. What is the Difference Between Cognition and Intelligence
– Comparison of Key Differences
Cognition, Intelligence, Mind
What is Cognition
Cognition refers to the mental process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses. It involves complex mental actions such as gaining knowledge and understanding, thinking, knowing, judging, and problem-solving. Moreover, human minds are capable of handling endless streams of information. However, the processing of this information involves several stages.
Transforming sensory input – when a person takes in sensations from the world around him, the information he gains through his five senses must first be transformed into signals that his brain can understand.
Reducing sensory information – a person faces an endless amount of sensory experiences every day. It is important that his mind reduces his experience of the world down to the fundamentals.
Elaborating information – this is the opposite of reducing information. When a person cannot recall information, the brain sometimes fills in the missing data with whatever seems to fit.
Storing and recovering information – Memory, which is a major aspect in cognition, helps in storing and recovering information. Moreover, memory can be divided into two categories as short-term memory and long-term memory.
What is Intelligence
The concept of intelligence has been a controversial topic, and there is no agreed-upon definition of intelligence. Some researchers define it as a single, general ability, while others consider that it encompasses a range of aptitudes, skills, and talents. Encyclopedia Britannica defines it as “a mental quality that consists of the abilities to learn from experience, adapt to new situations, understand and handle abstract concepts, and use knowledge to manipulate one’s environment”.
In general, intelligence involves different mental abilities like problem-solving, logic, reasoning, and planning. Moreover, we use the word intelligent to describe a quality in people. We usually use the adjective intelligent to describe those with a high mental capacity – the ability to easily learn or understand things or to deal with new situations. Furthermore, the intelligence levels of individual differ according to various factors like genetics, education, and experience. We also consider individuals with high IQ level (scores of intelligence quotient test) as intelligent people.
Difference Between Cognition and Intelligence
Cognition is the mental process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses while intelligence is the ability to easily learn or understand things and to deal with new or difficult situations.
Moreover, cognition refers to mental processes or actions such as acquiring information, thinking, memory, problem-solving while intelligence is a quality of cognition.
In brief, cognition and intelligence are two intertwined concepts. Cognition is the mental process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses while intelligence is the ability to easily learn or understand things and to deal with new or difficult situations. Therefore, this is the main difference between cognition and intelligence.
1. Cherry, Kendra. “The Importance of Cognition in Determining Who We Are.” Verywell Mind, Verywell Mind, 16 June 2019, Available here.
2. Sternberg, Robert J. “Cognitive Theories.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 26 Apr. 2017, Available here.
1. “544406” (CC0) via Pixabay
2. “RobertFuddBewusstsein17Jh” By Robert Fludd – Utriusque cosmi maioris scilicet et minoris […] historia, tomus II (1619), tractatus I, sectio I, liber X, De triplici animae in corpore visione, Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia