Abstract: Cognition

GRAESSER, A. C., GERNSBACHER, M. A., & GOLDMAN, S. R. (1997). Cognition. In T. A. van Dijk (Ed.), Discourse: A multidisciplinary introduction (pp. 292-319). London: Sage.

When people comprehend discourse, the speech or printed messages are not merely copied into their minds. Instead, the human mind actively constructs various types of cognitive representations (that is, codes, features, meanings, structured sets of elements) that interpret the linguistic input. These cognitive representations may incorporate words, syntax, sentential semantics, speech acts, dialogue patterns, rhetorical structures, pragmatics, real and imaginary worlds, and many other levels. Each type of cognitive representation is functionally important during the processes of comprehending and producing text and talk. During the last 25 years, cognitive psychologists have explored how the human represents the information in various types of cognitive representations. Cognitive psychologists have discovered that some of these cognitive representations are not equivalent to the symbolic representations that have been proposed by many formal linguists, logicians, and computer scientists.