Cognitive functioning is a term referring to a human’s ability to process thoughts that should not deplete on a large scale in healthy individuals. It is defined as "the ability of an individual to perform the various mental activities most closely associated with learning and problem solving. Examples include verbal, spatial, psychomotor, and processing-speed ability." Cognition mainly refers to things like memory, the ability to learn new information, speech, understanding of written material. The brain is usually capable of learning new skills in the aforementioned areas, typically in early childhood, and of developing personal thoughts and beliefs about the world. Old age and disease may affect cognitive function, causing memory loss and trouble thinking of the right words while speaking or writing ("drawing a blank"). Multiple sclerosis (MS), for example, can eventually cause memory loss, an inability to grasp new concepts or information, and depleted verbal fluency. Not all with the condition will experience this side effect, and most will retain their general intellect and the ability.
Humans generally have a capacity for cognitive function once born, so almost every person is capable of learning or remembering. However, this is tested using tests like the IQ test, although these have issues with accuracy and completeness. In these tests, the patient will be asked a series of questions or to perform tasks, with each measuring a cognitive skill, such as level of consciousness, memory, awareness, problem-solving, motor skills, analytical abilities, or other similar concepts. Early childhood is when most people are best able to absorb and use new information. In this period, children learn new words, concepts, and various methods to express themselves.
- Cognitive Functioning Edublox
- National Council on Measurement in Education http://www.ncme.org/ncme/NCME/Resource_Center/Glossary/NCME/Resource_Center/Glossary1.aspx?hkey=4bb87415-44dc-4088-9ed9-e8515326a061#anchorC Archived 2017-07-22 at the Wayback Machine
-  NCME - Glossary of Important Assessment and Measurement Terms [cognitive ability]