Cognitive Skills: Why The 8 Core Cognitive Capacities
1 Sustained Attention is the basic ability to look at, listen to and think about classroom tasks over a period of time. All teaching and learning depends on it. Without attention, new learning simply does not happen, and issues of understanding and memory are of no relevance.
2Response Inhibition is the ability to inhibit one’s own response to distractions. Imagine two children paying close attention to a lesson, when there is a sudden noise in the hallway. The child who maintains attention has better response inhibition.
3Speed of Information Processing refers to how quickly a learner can process incoming information. Some scientists consider speed of information processing a central aspect of IQ. Many children with attention problems often are unable to keep up with the lesson plan presented by the teacher.
4Cognitive Flexibility is the ability to change what you are thinking about, how you are thinking about it and even what you think about it – in other words, the ability to change your mind. Cognitive flexibility is required in multiple ways throughout the school day.
5Multiple Simultaneous Attention is the ability to multitask with success. It is the ability to move attention and effort back and forth between two or more activities when engaged in them at the same time. It makes demands on sustained attention, response inhibition and speed of information processing, and also requires planning and strategy.
6Working Memory refers to the ability to remember instructions or keep information in the mind long enough to perform tasks. We use simple working memory when we look at a phone number and keep it in mind while we dial it. Working memory is the sketch pad of the mind where we put things to think about and manipulate.
7Category Formation is the ability to organize information, concepts and skills into categories, and forms the cognitive basis for higher-level abilities like applying, analyzing, and evaluating those concepts and skills. Categories are the basis of language and organization of the world.
8Pattern Recognition and Inductive Thinking is a special ability of the human brain to not only find patterns, but figure out in a logical way what those patterns suggest about what will happen next. In a broad sense, pattern recognition and inductive thinking form the basis for all scientific inquiry.