Cognition & Language

When I was younger I didn’t pay attention to matters related to language. Yet, language is so important  for human thought and plays such a critical role in consciousness, awareness, comprehension, and knowledge. The prerequisite for thinking is language. In developing the CACK Model (review previous posts), I started to give serious attention to the collaborative function taking place between thinking and language. I have come to regard language as that ingredient that has made it possible to have a cognitive revolution. Language provides the foundational mechanism to explore our world. Language (words) is the bedrock for both concrete and critical thinking, thus language is the infrastructural base for all awareness, comprehension, and knowledge. All words refer to something. However, the saying of a word doesn’t make for an understanding of the “something” of a word.  Thus, it is important to syndetically and hermenutically review the meaning and sub-meanings of the vocabulary we use. It is important to review the meaning and sub-meanings of vocabulary as our words are related to locution, reflection, phraseology, dialect, etc. I can easily make a case that language has remarkably become the foundation for human life. I point out that to a large degree our thinking is stuck at the level we have developed our vocabulary. Doesn’t that make it a good idea to extend our thinking through learning more words? I had certain reviewers of my writing give me advice to “lighten up” on certain vocabulary and some of the “heavier” material I present. And, although I greatly respect their suggestions, I decided to respect the reader’s intelligence more and to not dumb-down my narrative.

cognition and language


Consilient Thinking

I view consilient thinking as coming together, bringing together, and/or combining that allows for a consciousness of greater awareness, comprehension, and useable knowledge (review the CACK Model). I previously used the word consilience in my writing, and I just referred to it in synthetic thinking. Consilience thinking includes inner working brain synthesis thinking that can bring together divergent ideas. Consilience thinking allows greater awareness and comprehension by combining of my ideas with the ideas of others. It promotes cross disciplinary collaboration, diversity, and a variation of ideas. There is a focus on creative thinking, brain storming, observing other people, and empathetic listening. It allows building on ideas of others by understanding that none of us have all the answers, and we all make mistakes. Openness, skepticism, questioning, and a variegation of opinion is encouraged. I maintain that consilient thinking allows for a clear-sightedness that can make for a certain degree of far-sightedness.

IDEO (global design firm) by David Kelly is an example of consilient thinking. Kelly teaches consilient thinking at Stanford University. He asserts that Design Thinking is a form of consilience thinking that it is solution-based thinking. Design Thinking gathers divergent people together from different backgrounds for roundtable discussions embracing and encouraging creative tension that focuses on the solutions to problems. Creative tension pertains to groups having a balance of calmers, disrupters, planners, skepticists, idealists, strategists, futurists, and those who are history-minded. I propose that consilient thinking is great for problem solving that is action-oriented. Design Thinking involves the sensorial, empathetic, cognitive, and intuitive. It is a cross-fertilization thinking-in-action format focused on solving problems, creating new ideas, and thinking out-of-the-box to gather useable knowledge to create new products.  I endorse consilient thinking if it includes openness and transparency. In my posts. I am very open to a consilient thinking among those who view what I post.

Consilient Thinking

Cognitive Skills

Cognitive Skills certainly involve consciousness and our ability to think at deeper levels. Between the ages of 13-22, our brain goes through a process of synaptic pruning (greater synaptic connections), myelination (axonal insulation) and dendritic branching that added together contribute to make critical thinking possible. During this time we have the ability to advance beyond concrete thinking by choosing to practice building the working brain’s critical cognitive skills of synthetic thinking and analytical thinking:  1.) synthetic thinking is hypothetical-deductive thinking (deductive reasoning) that moves beyond cause-and-effect. Synthetic thinking combines ideas into a whole –—> “to put together.” It makes sense of how parts fit, combine, and come together. The primary focus is on studying the whole. Synthetic thinking systematically deduces (traces the cause of) by assembling and combining elements. Synthetics is involved in the Triadic Model and Socratic Dialogue by resolving contradictions between thesis and antithesis, on its way to forming a synthesis. Synthetic thinking involves consilient thinking (more to come) of diversity, crossing boundaries, blending, and convergence of ideas. Our brain tends towards patterns, and one natural pattern is for our brain to synthesize and cluster elements together. Synthetic thinking contributes to advanced awareness and enhanced comprehension. It is synthetic-deductive thinking that is involved in the Deductive Model’s Scientific Method, and 2.) analytical thinking is inductive-hypothetical thinking (inductive reasoning) that breaks elements into smaller parts. Analysis cuts the whole into chunks and studies the parts ——> “to loosen up.” The primary focus is to astutely study the parts. Analytical thinking is reductionist reasoning that systematically induces (to lead or bring in), disassembles, and reduces elements into separate units. Analytical thinking contributes to advanced awareness and enhanced comprehension. Analytical-inductive thinking is associated with the traditional Inductive Model’s Scientific Method

cognitive skills

Cognitive Styles

Cognitive Styles is a noteworthy subject for both the Theory of Balanceology and the Balancetherapy Treatment Model. I indicate that thinking can be categorized according to two cognitive styles that involve the possibility of bringing awareness (concrete thinking) and comprehension (critical thinking) to consciousness:  1.) concrete thinking is cause-and-effect thought, reactive thinking, stimulus-and-response thought (S-R), and early levels of awareness. Jean Piaget pointed out that concrete thinking starts to develop between the ages of seven to eleven. Concrete thinking is useful for learning associated with the senses, the rote, the habitual, memorization, and skill training. However, continuing with only concrete thinking beyond the ages of 7-11, learning becomes merely a shallow processing of awareness; a kind of cognitive indolence. Ouspensky said, “our thinking has acquired many bad habits, and one of them is thinking without purpose. Our thinking has become automatic.” (1971) Early imprinted habits lead to dogmatic thinking. It is anti-change. It can stand in the way of self-growth. Heidegger said, “calculation thinking sees nothing other than itself and therefore considers nothing other than oneself,” and 2.) critical thinking is a more reflective, concise, and skeptical process that involves questioning and allows for advanced levels of thought.  It includes  Jean Piaget’s formal operational thinking from late adolescence through adulthood. Critical thinking is the mystery of quantity (brain matter) advancing to higher levels of quality (mind).  It includes metacognition –—> thinking about thinking. I have critical thinking play a vital role in my paradigm because it is an element that can help satisfy our needs and help us self-evolve.  Critical thinking can bring conscious and unconscious input to ever advanced levels of awareness, comprehension, and useable knowledge  (review CACK Model).

critical thinking

Cognitive Stages

In recent posts, I have been discussing our human need for consciousness. The cognitive stage we have developmentally grown to, interacts with our level of consciousness we are at. In 1936, Jean Piaget referred to four cognitive stages of thinking (based on age).  Piaget’s four cognitive developmental stages are: 1.)  sensorimotor (b-2) —–>  is motor-reflexive;  object permanence, 2.)  preoperational (2-6) —–> has language where symbols represent objects;  egocentrism, 3.)  concrete operational (7-11) —–> is concrete thinking of stimulus and response (more to come),  and 4.)  formal operational (12 – up) —–> is critical thinking of synthesis and analysis (more to come).


Types of Learning

Types of learning – I maintain that learning can be viewed by way of the Theory of Balanceology’s, CACK Model. For is it not true that in order to learn something one must be conscious, aware, comprehend, and thus acquire new knowledge? I appreciate the insight of Howard Gardner suggesting that humans have multiple intelligence capabilities making for multiple ways we learn. We don’t just have one overall global intelligence (IQ). In the  Frame of the Mind (1983), Gardner identified six types of intelligence (IQ’s): 1.) linguistic IQ (language), 2.) logical-mathematical IQ (analysis), 3.) musical IQ (sound), 4.) Visual-spatial IQ (perceive objects), 5.) interpersonal IQ (social relationships), and 6.) intrapersonal IQ (self-awareness). In Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy (1956), he proposed three domains of learning: 1.) psychomotor skills that are manual or physical learning, 2.) affective skills that concern emotional learning, and 3.) mental skills involving cognitive learning. Bloom postulated that there are six levels of cognitive learning:  i. e. knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Significantly, genomic research has indicated that genes that allow for learning and memory lie on chromosome 16.

types of learning