Difference Between Cognition and Perception

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What is the term ‘Cognition’ means?

Cognition originates from a Latin word “cognoscere” as a translation from a Greek word gnosis which when translated means knowledge.

Cognition is defined as the mental process by which external or internal input is transformed, reduced, elaborated, stored, recovered and used. As such it involves a variety of functions such as attention, retention, memory, coding, recall, decision making, reasoning, problem solving, planning and executing actions.

Cognition helps an individual to understand the world around him by gaining knowledge .sometimes these cognitive abilities can range from being very simple to very complex in nature.

Difference Between Cognition And Perception

All human actions come up as a result of cognitive procedures. Cognitive approach believes that the internal mental behaviour of a human being can be scientifically studied using experiments. It asserts that there is an existence of a mediational process such as reasoning between stimulus/input and response/output.

They refer these mental processes as meditational since they come after the stimulus and before the response.

Cognition characterizes the following

  • This cognitive approach relies mostly on experiments as a component of its research.
  • This cognitive approach ignores other factors that have shown to have an impact towards behaviour.
  • This cognitive approach has got many practical applications e.g. Baron Cohen et al. study demonstrated how theory of mind was a deficit of autism
  • These cognitive processes can be natural or artificial, conscious or unconscious.
  • Cognitive approach has propositional combinatorial structure that satisfies the requirement of the generality constraint.


Gibson defines perception as the process in which an individual maintains contact with environment Perception is an exploratory and active process. Human perception is tied to the movement of a body in a natural environment. In perception a system explores the available stimuli then adjusts the system i.e. sense organs for it to achieve optimum reception. Perceptions are derived from neural and psychological mechanisms that operate on sensory information.

Perception is the subsequent selection, organization, and interpretation of sensory inputs. It is obtaining of information about both the external and internal environments, by integrating and utilizing memory, in the conscious experience, recognition, and interpretation of objects relationships and events.

Difference Between Cognition And Perception-1

Perception characterizes the following

  • Perception theory is assumed to be entirely active and not passive.
  • Perception is usually aware of activity of our own nervous system.
  • Perception of objects is mediated by processing of data and senses
  • Perception of a whole object is synthesized from information taken in from all parts i.e. from the components or attributes a stimulus is first analyzed into.
  • Perception entails the generation of hypothesis about the environment, the testing of those hypothesis and adoption of the best.

What are the possible Similarities between cognition and perception

  1. They both guide our action and decisions and help to shape our day to day beliefs and at the same time the knowledge we gain influences the way we perceive the world.
  2. They both share common mechanisms whereby their basic hypothesis is that a concept is represented by means of simulation at the sensory level of an experience of that to which the concept truly applies.

Difference between cognition and perception

  1. Perception is the organization; identification and interpretation of sensory information in order to understand identify and represent the environment while cognition involves a number of mental processes such as memory, reasoning and problem solving.
  2. Cognitive approach encompasses a number of various skills and processes whereas perception is one such skill that assists in enhancing the quality of cognitive abilities.
  3. The word perceptions comes from a Latin word “percipere” meaning to gain or to receive while cognition comes from “cognoscere” meaning to learn or to know.

Cognition vs. perception

Cognition VERSUS Perception


  • Active construction and reorganization of perception by higher nerve centers have been postulated by many investigators for this perception phenomenon.
  • Cognitive accomplishments are usually achieved in conjunction with artefacts whereby in these artefacts representations of knowledge are usually embodied.
  • Cognitive scientists agree that cognitive systems are composed of certain kinds of internal states that carry content i.e. mediating states.

Author: Victoria Jones

Victoria Jones has a degree in psychology from UK. She is an expert with over 4 years experience in writing and content strategy. She has written over 50 articles, some of which have been featured in local daily’s and magazines.

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