Cognition in Rodents

  • Christopher Janus
  • Michael J. Galsworthy
  • David P. Wolfer
  • Hans Welzl

Cognition is a loosely defined term with divergent meanings in different disciplines and species. In human psychology, ‘cognition’ is often used in reference to concepts such as ‘mind’ or ‘higher mental functions’. However, in more general terms, ‘cognition’ is regularly used to refer to all manner of information organization by the brain: from collection, to processing, to storage and recognition or recall. Whereas ‘cognition’ would seem to permeate all mental functions, including subjective perception and innate responses, ‘cognitive ability’ has a slightly more specific connotation – something more akin to intelligence or information-processing ability. Thus, ‘cognition’ deals with mental process structure and ‘cognitive abilities’ with natural variations impinging upon functioning at the higher end of that structure. Although the term ‘cognition’ sometimes subsumes or substitutes ‘cognitive ability’ in the literature, understanding this methodological distinction allows us to read across the two fields without the misunderstandings that classical cognitive psychologists have sometimes shown for cognitive ability research.


NMDA Receptor Synaptic Plasticity Mutant Mouse Water Maze Fear Conditioning 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Janus
    • 1
  • Michael J. Galsworthy
    • 2
  • David P. Wolfer
    • 2
  • Hans Welzl
    • 2
  1. 1.Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, Department of NeuroscienceUniversity of FloridaJacksonvilleUSA
  2. 2.Division of Neuroanatomy and BehaviorInstitute of Anatomy, University of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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