Cognitive functions

Background and  (hopefully)  alternative taxonomy

Author: Lisa Seeman

DRAFT 5/29/2014 For discussion only

List of Aims

Note: I have taken terms and concepts from across the work we are doing on disability and cognitive function. Where more then one term exists for what seems to be a very similar function I have chosen one term but brought the others for reference. I have also reviewed the Caroll taxonomy but it was focused on educational assessment, and sychometric-based models for human intelligence and was therefore not fully relevant (for example: knowledge categories). When I am quoting a Caroll category I have tried to put the mnemonic after the term such as (RG) or (I). (I also need to merge Jim's work.)

Here are the cognitive functions that I have identified so far. It is not complete and it is not yet in a taxonomy form.

Reasoning and executive functions

Executive functions (also known as cognitive control and supervisory attentional system) is an umbrella term for the management  of cognitive processes such as  reasoning and problem solving (goal focused reasoning) as described bellow. Executive function also includes:

Executive function also relies on or includes: working memory, other  memory (short, long ), attention,  abstraction, associations, as described bellow.

In making a decision or conclusion we may use:


Fluid reasoning is the capacity to think logically and solve problems in novel situations, independent of acquired knowledge [Fluid_and_crystallized_intelligence] Fluid intelligence may involves both the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex.
Types of fluid reasoning are:

  1. Deductive Reasoning (RG) ( sometimes called  General or Sequential or hypothetico- deductive reasoning). It is the ability to start with stated assertions (rules, premises, or  conditions) and to engage in one or more steps leading to a solution to a problem.
  2. Inductive reasoning (Induction (I) Reasoning from specific cases or observations to general rules or broad generalizations. Often requires the ability to combine separate pieces of information in the formation of inferences, rules, hypotheses, or conclusions.
  3. Mathematical intelligence  (also called Quantitative Reasoning (RQ)) depends on Ability to inductively (I) and/or deductively (RG) reason with concepts involving mathematical relations and properties.
  4. Piagetian Reasoning (RP): reasoning via  seriation (organizing material into an orderly series that facilitates understanding of relationships between events), conservation (awareness that physical quantities do not change in amount when altered in appearance), and classification .

A related idea is Speed of Reasoning (RE): Speed or fluency in performing reasoning tasks   []

Crystallized intelligence (sometimes called Comprehension- Knowledge) is the ability to use skills, knowledge, and experience. It does not equate to memory, but it does rely on accessing information from long-term memory. Crystallized intelligence is one’s lifetime of intellectual achievement, as demonstrated largely through one's vocabulary and general knowledge. [</cite> Crystallized intelligence involves the storage and usage of long-term memories, such as by the hippocampus.
We have included the dependent aspects in the sections on memory and language []


Reasoning and executive functions require attention. Types of attention are:


Types of abstraction include:


People talk about types of memories are often talking about different categories of types of memory.  Any memory based events can be described in all these categories. For example:  An event may cause an sensory experience to go into long term memory implicitly,. Here are the types I have identified:

Types – durations based: working , long term, short term, and possibly Intermediary
Types – context based: emotional, procedural, sensory (tactile, smell, Psychomotor  Kinestheti, Olfactory)   auditory, visual, visuo-spatial, spatial, musical  and prospective memory.
Types  - awareness level: implicit and explicit

Durations based

Context based

Also memories can be stored and recalled as Associative memory (MA), Meaningful memory (MM), Free-recall memory (M6),


Speak, write, read or understand speech or language ,

Spoken languages

The basic skills for spoken languages seem to be Speech perception:

Sign language

Sign language without spoken language probably requires a slightly different set of skills such as:


Beyond basic language,  literacy typically requires:

Note that many dyslexics achieve literacy without many of these functions or with impaired functioning


Visual recognition

(also called visual Perception)
The visual system automatically groups elements into patterns: Proximity, Similarity, Closure, Symmetry, Common Fate (i.e. common motion), and Continuity. (Gestalt psychology)
Functions include:

Other Perception

Auditory perception (see Speech perception above for further classifications), Motor, Tactile smell Psychomotor  Kinestheti( bodily position, weight, or movement) Olfactory  and sensory perception      


Processing speed effect all the functions above. See Caroll.
A related concept is fluency


Types of knowledge that might be required for use of ICT include:


Not (yet) fully addressed:


Note that these are in our mandate – for example: Dementia with Lewy bodies affects the cerebrum where small round lumps of proteins build up and can cause fluctuations of consciousness as well as hallucinations, delusions (firmly held beliefs in things that are not real) and false ideas (such as paranoia).

Appendix 1:  Areas of the brain

[ and]

Frontal Lobe

Occipital Lobe

Parietal Lobe

Temporal Lobe

Limbic System

The limbic system contains glands which help relay emotions.

Corpus Callosum


Braim Stem

Pituitary Gland


1 . Educational taxonomies such as Carol for Cyristalised resing includes Language Development (LD):
LexicalKnowledge (VL): Listening Ability (LS):General (verbal) Information (K0):  Range of general stored knowledge (primarily verbal). Information about Culture (K2) Range of stored general cultural knowledge (e.g., music, art) Communication Ability (CM Oral Production and Fluency (OP)
Grammatical Sensitivity (MY): morphology) and sentences (syntax), Foreign Language Proficiency (KL), Foreign Language Aptitude (LA)

2. Inappropriate behavour is comen with Frontotemporal dementia - impaired social interaction

3. Effected in: Alzheimer’s disease, Aphasias, Advanced age, dyslexia, emotional disabitiies such as Schizophrenia and PTSD

4. Expressive aphasia left inferior frontal cortex. These patients are described with having severe syntactical deficits, which means that they have extreme difficulty in forming sentences correctly. ((Hessler, Dorte; Jonkers, Bastiaanse (December 2010). "The influence of phonetic dimensions on aphasic speech perception". Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics. 12 24: 980–996.
Receptive aphasia - left temproparietal lobe. Receptive Aphasic patients mostly suffer from lexical-semantic difficulties, but also have difficulties in comprehension tasks. The effect of receptive aphasia on understanding is much more severe.
Hessler, Dorte; Jonkers, Bastiaanse (December 2010). "The influence of phonetic dimensions on aphasic speech perception". Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics. 12 24: 980–996.
Anarthria: Loss of the motor ability that enables speech. Complete loss of the ability to vocalize words as a result of an injury to the part of the brain that is responsible for controlling the larynx

  5. (Aphonia: The inability to produce voice.
Alalia: A delay in the development or use of the mechanisms that produce speech.
Dyslalia: Difficulties in talking due to structural defects in speech organs.
Developmental verbal dyspraxia: Motor speech disorder involving impairments in the motor control of speech production.)

6. Carol tend to have abitlites as the main category with  memory and sensitivity of such as Tactile sensitivity
(other then Psychomotor  abilities which has sub categories of Static strength (P3), Multi-limb coordination (P6), Finger dexterity (P2), Manual dexterity (P1), Arm-hand steadiness (P7),Control precision (P8), Aiming (A1), Gross body equilibrium (P4)

7. Carol brings Processing speed (Gs) such as Cognitive processing speed (Gs) Broad cognitive speediness (Gs) Perceptual speed (P), Rate-of-test-taking (R9), Number facility (N), Speed of reasoning (RE), Reading speed (RS),Writing speed (WS) Reaction and decision Speed (Gt) Correct decision speed (CDS) Processing speed (RT decision speed) Such as  Simple reaction time (R1), Choice reaction time (R2), Semantic processing speed (R4), Mental comparison speed (R7), Inspection time (IT)

8. Carol brings Ideational fl uency (FI), Associational (FA), Expressional (FE), Word fluency (FW), Figural (FF), Figural flexibility (FX), Sensitivity to problems (SP), Originality/creativity (FO),Learning abilities (L1) Naming facility (N),

Copyright © 2014 - Athena ICT