We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are Cognitive Skills?

By Eugene P.
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
All The Science is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All The Science, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Cognitive skills are a set of abilities that are learned to varying degrees as a person grows and develops mentally. Unlike skills that are based on academic knowledge, cognitive skills are abilities that are used to learn, understand and integrate information in a meaningful way. Information that is learned cognitively is understood, not just memorized. There are many cognitive skill groups, and each broad category can be broken down into very specific sets of skills. Milestones are often used to track the progress of children and can be employed diagnostically to check for learning disabilities or other problems that could require special attention.

Some examples of cognitive skills include motor skills, memory, attention, perception and a wide category known as executive skills. Each of these skills can be further broken down into specific mental operations that can be used in different situations or to complete tasks. Primarily, these skills are employed to solve problems, perceive the world in a way that makes sense and is consistent, and to learn new skills and information.

One of the most important categories of cognitive skills involves the executive functions. These are abilities that can help to govern other skills and provide a mental framework essential to learning. Executive functions include sequencing, inhibition, problem solving and flexibility. Some of these skills can be used to support other categories and, more importantly, can help to provide a means for integrating the information into the mind so it can be understood.

Certain learned tasks, such as reading and writing, rely heavily on cognitive skills. Symbolic thinking is one such ability. This is the cognitive ability to relate a symbol to a specific sound, image or other meaning that is not necessarily implied by the actual appearance of the symbol. This skill is vital to understanding how to read and write through the use of an alphabet, in which the letters really have no visual relation to the meaning or sounds they make.

Most of these skills work together to allow some everyday actions to be performed. Answering a door after a bell has been rung is one example. To answer a door, a person must be able to identify a sound, divert attention to the sound, relate the sound to a physical object within the environment even if it is not the actual object making the noise, and then use motor skills to reach the door and open it. All of these steps are classified as cognitive skills.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By lovealot — On Nov 02, 2011

The first twelve years of school are geared toward learning many cognitive skills. Children learn how to apply their math cognitive skills in solving many of life's problems. They learn to solve complex math, like geometry or calculus, by using the cognitive skills they have learned earlier.

Cognitive skills keep building on former skills. Gradually creativity develops and new ways of looking at things.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.