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Foundation of Cognition Cheat Sheet by

Analyzing normal and abnormal cognition

Role of Occupa­tional Therapy in Cognition

Occupa­tional therapists focus on functional cognition or cognition that is necessary within the scope of performing his/her roles, daily occupa­tions within the contexts performed.

Functional Cognition

The intera­ction of cognitive skills, self-care, and community living skills.
Refers to the thinking and processing skills needed to accomplish complex everyday tasks.

What are Cognitive Skills?

Founda­tional abilities that make up how we assess functional cognition:
- Attention
- Memory
- Problem Solving
- Decision making
- Judgement
- Executive Function & Abstract Reasoning

Cognitive Skill Hierarchy


Important for learning and the first step in forming memories
Without attention memories cannot be formed
Affected by level of consci­ous­ness, arousal, awareness, and motivation

Attention image

Definition for image above

Ability to focus on one specific task for a continuous amount of time without being distracted
Ability to select from many factors or stimuli and to focus on only the one that you want while filtering out other distra­ctions (attention to details)
Ability to switch your focus back and forth between task that require cognitive demand
Ability to process two or more responses or react to two or more different demands simult­ane­ously (multi­-ta­sking)


Explicit Memory (decla­rative memory)
Implicit Memory (proce­dural memory)
Retention and retrieval of facts, event, or steps to complete a task
Learned through movement or perception
Prospe­ctive Memory ability to remember to follow-up and anticipate upcoming events, dates, deadlines, etc.
“It’s like riding a bike!”
*Explicit memory is more notably affected by neurol­ogical changes
*Ability to use or access implicit memory for learning can be affected due to perceptual and motor disorders as a result of the neurol­ogical changes

Frontal Cortex and Cognition

Three Main Functions:
Includes judgement, foresight, delay of gratif­ica­tion, inhibiting inappr­opriate behavior, and self-g­ove­rnance
Includes curiosity, drive, creati­vity, mental flexib­ility, and person­ality
Includes planning, abstract reasoning, working memory, sequen­cing, and organi­zation

Frontal Cortex and Cognition (cont)

Reasoning involves logical thinking to understand and formulate judgements based on all available inform­ation
Restraint, initiative and order are required for executive function
Prefrontal Cortex: Recall long-term memories, planning, and hypothesis genera­tion; supports working memory (atten­tion) by storing inform­ation a brief time before getting stored to long-term memory

Executive Function

Encomp­asses a set of interr­elated cognitive abilities that are critical to control coordi­nation, and regulation of thoughts, emotions, and goal-d­irected actions (cognitive control)
Important for adaptive responses to novel, unfami­liar, unpred­ict­able, or unstru­ctured situations (skill acquis­ition, learning, task challe­nges, adjusting to change or coping with the unexpe­cted)

Most Common Subcom­ponents of EF

Cognitive Flexib­ili­ty/­Shi­fting Set
Working Memory­/Pl­ann­ing­/Or­gan­ization

Subcom­ponents of EF

Executive Control

Multiple Networks
Highly Distri­buted


Dynamic Intera­ction Model (DIM)
Promote strategies for self-m­oni­toring and self-e­val­uation of occupa­tional perfor­mance
Must have the capacity for:
- Inform­ation processing (organize and assimilate new inform­ation)
- Adaptation (using previously acquired inform­ation to plan, monitor, structure, and evaluate behavior for reaching goals)
- Genera­liz­ation (apply what had been learned to a variety of different situat­ions)




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