Cognition and Behavior

  • Uncategorized



Cognitioncan be defined as the acquisition, processing, storage and use ofinformation. It encompasses a large variety of abilities, includingattention, categorisation, rule learning, associative learning,behavioural inhibition, language, self-recognition, and sociallearning, to name only a few, some of which may themselves bedivisible into further subcategories. Because cognitive abilities arenot directly manifested phenotypically, their measurement is achievedthrough the quantification of a change in behaviour. Thus far, mostanimal cognition researchers have been interested in identifying andquantifying what cognitive ability (ies) cause observable changes inbehaviour (i.e., the mechanistic basis of variation in behaviour).This contrasts with the aim of behavioural ecologists, who areinterested in determining the adaptive significance of a trait (i.e.,the functional basis for variation in behaviour).

According to Griffin A. et al. (2015), acquisition of informationentails the response to environmental stimuli using the senses ofsight, touch or smell. Such information is then interpreted beforebeing stored in the brain for immediate or future use. Individual’sattentive ability, sign and symbol usage (language) and that ofcategorizing stimuli are vital aspects of cognition. Griffin A. etal. (2015) note that the learning process is also contained incognition. Learning is described as the ability to acquire new ideas,and is grouped into associative, social and rule. Furthermore, theyunderpin the importance of behavioral changes in the manifestation ofcognitive ability. There are no phenotypic parameters that expresscognitive abilities. Therefore, they can be measured by quantifyingthe changes of a given behavior. Animal researchers only focus theirinterest in identification and then quantifying the cognitive abilityexhibiting observable variation in behavior. Behavioral ecologists,on the other hand, focus their studies on the adaptive significanceof characteristics of individuals.


Griffin A., Guillette L. M. &amp Healy S. D. (2015), Cognition andpersonality: an analysis of an emerging field, Trends in Ecologyand Evolution, pp. 1-8

Close Menu