Ever wondered why we have different opinions? Tastes? Prejudices? The answer lies with our capability to produce cognitive thought. It is our thoughts, perspectives and expectations of things based on what we have sensed and perceived from the surrounding environment.
Cognition involves remembering, knowing, understanding, communicating and learning. We are not the only animals to display cognitive thinking — it has been seen in great apes, elephants, and crows as well. Cognition essentially comes down to:
1. the ability to think and communicate by forming concepts of the world around us
2. the ability to solve problems, by using trial and error, algorithms or heuristics (mental shortcuts)
3. Finally, the ability to create problems plays a huge part in cognition. We can make things much harder for ourselves by overthinking and this can have undesired consequences.
Whether it helps or hinders, there can be no doubt that having the ability to think cognitively has enabled us to become a truly successful species.
From Crash Course: Psychology on YouTube presented by Hank Green