What are Cognitive Tests?

Harriette Halepis
Harriette Halepis
Cognitive tests are used in medicine to predict vulnerability to brain ailments.
Cognitive tests are used in medicine to predict vulnerability to brain ailments.

Cognitive tests can be performed on both humans and animals. These tests are conducted in order to assess cognitive abilities. While the types of tests administered to humans and animals differ, the point of all cognitive tests is to further study the psychology and philosophy of the mind. Many of these tests used today are derived from the work of Sir Francis Galton.

There are several different cognitive tests, including tests given in a multiple-choice format.
There are several different cognitive tests, including tests given in a multiple-choice format.

Sir Francis Galton was an anthropologist and inventor amongst many other things. His work was aimed at determining the intelligence of his patients. In fact, people often paid Galton to have him measure their intellect via "mental tests" -- something that was held in great esteem during the late nineteenth century.

In order to measure one's intelligence, Galton measured the strength of a person's grip, along with their height and weight. While Galton's findings were not accurate, they were, indeed, advanced for his time. Later, many psychologists, and scientists, investigated Galton's work extensively. These researchers found that while his experiments were not accurate, his insight into the human mind was immensely important.

Cognitive tests can help doctors determine if a patient is dealing with Alzheimer's disease.
Cognitive tests can help doctors determine if a patient is dealing with Alzheimer's disease.

Today, there are many different types of cognitive tests that are in frequent use. Amongst many others, common intelligence tests include the Miller Analogies test, the Kohl Block test, and the Stanford-Binet test. Cognitive development tests can include the multiple choice test and the Knox Block test amongst others.

In fact, there are hundreds of cognitive tests that test everything from memory to self assessment. Typically, these tests are performed by psychologists and psychiatrists that wish to determine a patient's mental abilities. Modern cognitive tests are presently being used to predict medical ailments that may affect a person's brain at a later date.

Some believe that cognitive tests can predict whether a person will suffer from multiple sclerosis later in life.
Some believe that cognitive tests can predict whether a person will suffer from multiple sclerosis later in life.

It is believed that some cognitive tests can determine whether or not a person will confront multiple sclerosis later in life. In addition, these tests can help medical doctors determine whether or not a person is battling Alzheimer's disease. In short, even though testing one's cognition originated as a way to determine intelligence, these tests can now detect certain illnesses.

A psychiatrist may perform a cognitive test to determine a patient's mental abilities.
A psychiatrist may perform a cognitive test to determine a patient's mental abilities.

Clearly, cognitive testing has come a long way from its beginnings. While no longer referred to as "mental tests," these tests are still vastly important. As more and more tests are developed, researchers are starting to find ways to take a deeper look into the psychology of the brain. While seemingly simple, cognitive tests reveal a lot more than Sir Francis Galton ever gave them credit for.

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Discussion Comments

Tufenkian925

The media is affecting the ways we think in ways that we don't realize. We can change topics so suddenly due to the fast-paced and random information which assails us on a daily basis. Learning to rein in the thought processes is a very helpful tool for increasing cognitive abilities.

Armas1313

My opinion is that people become smarter if they really want to. Usually the person who wins a given competition is the one who tries the hardest. Motivation is a key determinant in the choice to pursue cognitive excellence.

GigaGold

Recognizing our own inherent cognitive biases is also important in learning to think clearly and consistently. People have so many biases which can cloud their judgment or be misused in a given context. Cognitive biases are not always a bad thing, but should be recognized as a strong part of our thinking in order to be properly addressed.

JavaGhoul

The IQ test was established in order to measure different areas of intelligence in people. It is a myth, however, to think that you cannot increase your IQ. Intelligence is often a result of mental diligence. Like muscles, the mind can increase in potential through hard work and discipline. People who seem incredibly sharp are often smart, not merely because of some predisposition of intelligence, but because they worked hard to become that way.

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    • Cognitive tests are used in medicine to predict vulnerability to brain ailments.
      By: auremar
      Cognitive tests are used in medicine to predict vulnerability to brain ailments.
    • There are several different cognitive tests, including tests given in a multiple-choice format.
      By: bradcalkins
      There are several different cognitive tests, including tests given in a multiple-choice format.
    • Cognitive tests can help doctors determine if a patient is dealing with Alzheimer's disease.
      By: chuugo
      Cognitive tests can help doctors determine if a patient is dealing with Alzheimer's disease.
    • Some believe that cognitive tests can predict whether a person will suffer from multiple sclerosis later in life.
      By: joshya
      Some believe that cognitive tests can predict whether a person will suffer from multiple sclerosis later in life.
    • A psychiatrist may perform a cognitive test to determine a patient's mental abilities.
      By: WavebreakMediaMicro
      A psychiatrist may perform a cognitive test to determine a patient's mental abilities.
    • Cognitive tests can help doctors determine whether a person is suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
      By: godfer
      Cognitive tests can help doctors determine whether a person is suffering from Alzheimer's disease.