What Are Cognitive Skills, Anyway?

Brain training trains the cognitive skills the brain uses to think and learn.

learningrx scientific model

 
Cognitive skills are the core skills your brain uses to think, read, learn, remember, reason, and pay attention. Working together, they take incoming information and move it into the bank of knowledge you use every day at school, at work, and in life.

Each of your cognitive skills plays an important part in processing new information. That means if even one of these skills is weak, no matter what kind of information is coming your way, grasping, retaining, or using that information is impacted. In fact, most learning struggles are caused by one or more weak cognitive skills.

Here’s a brief description of each of your cognitive skills, as well as struggles you may be experiencing if that skill is weak:

Attention/Sustained
What it does: Enables you to stay focused and on task for a sustained period of time
Common problems when this skill is weak: Lots of unfinished projects, jumping from task to task

Attention/Selective
What it does: Enables you to stay focused and on task despite distractions
Common problems when this skill is weak: Easily distracted

Attention/Divided
What it does: Enables you to remember information while doing two things at once
Common problems when this skill is weak: Difficulty multitasking, frequent mistakes

Memory/Long-Term
What it does: Enables you to recall information stored in the past
Common problems when this skill is weak: Forgetting names, doing poorly on tests, forgetting things you used to know

Memory/Working
What it does: Enables you to hang on to information while in the process of using it
Common problems when this skill is weak: Having to read the directions again in the middle of a project, difficulty following multi-step directions, forgetting what was just said in a conversation

Logic & Reasoning
What it does: Enables you to reason, form ideas, and solve problems
Common problems when this skill is weak: Frequently asking “What do I do next?” or saying “I don’t get this,” struggling with math, feeling stuck or overwhelmed

Auditory Processing
What it does: Enables you to analyze, blend, and segment sounds
Common problems when this skill is weak: Struggling with learning to read, reading fluency, or reading comprehension

Visual Processing
What it does: Enables you to think in visual images
Common problems when this skill is weak: Difficulties understanding what you’ve just read, remembering what you’ve read, following directions, reading maps, doing word math problems

Processing Speed
What it does: Enables you to perform tasks quickly and accurately
Common problems when this skill is weak: Most tasks are more difficult. Taking a long time to complete tasks for school or work, frequently being the last one in a group to finish something