Are cognition and memory the same?
Your cognition is tested when you need to renew your driving licence. Why?
Test yourself on these five questions.



1. Cognition is another word for memory.

True or False?

False. Although cognition includes memory, it also refers to the mental functions involved in attention, thinking, understanding, learning, solving problems, and making decisions. Cognition is a fundamental aspect of an individual’s ability to carry out activities, accomplish goals, and successfully engage with the world.

2. Cognitive ageing is not the same as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease 

True or False?

True. Cognitive ageing is not a disease or a quantifiable level of function, and it does not inevitably lead to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Just like other parts of the body, the human brain changes with age, both in its physical structures and in its ability to carry out various functions.

3. At what age in life does cognitive ageing typically begin?

A. It begins at birth and continues throughout the life span
B. After age 35
C. After age 50
D. After age 65

What age in life?

A. It begins at birth and continues throughout the lifespan. Although the effects of cognitive ageing are often most visible later in life, cognitive ageing is a lifelong process that occurs in every individual regardless of initial cognitive function. The types and rates of change can vary widely among individuals.

4. It is possible to promote and support cognitive health and adapt to changes in cognitive function.

True or False?

True. Numerous factors may affect cognitive abilities, including genetics, physical activity and other lifestyle choices, traumatic brain injury, sleep quality, health conditions, acute illness, and medications. Some of these factors may be modifiable to support cognitive health. Experience, education, expertise, and support strategies (such as memory strategies) can help compensate for declines in cognition.


5. Which of the following actions are supported by evidence for promoting cognitive health?

A. Staying physically active
B. Reducing and managing cardiovascular risk factors
C. Regularly reviewing medications and supplements with a clinician
D. All of the above

Your choice?

D. All of the above. There is evidence that staying physically active, reducing and managing cardiovascular risk factors (such as hypertension, diabetes, and smoking), and reviewing health conditions and medications that may affect cognition with your health care provider can help maintain cognitive health across the life span. The Institute of Medicine committee did not find strong evidence that taking vitamins, supplements or medications that were advertised to improve memory had positive effects on cognitive health.
And about cognition and that driving test?
Driving is a complex task involving coordinating several mental and physical abilities. Some of the muscle-memory actions become almost automatic but adapting to the changing conditions around you (traffic lights, oncoming traffic, distractions inside and outside the car, road conditions) requires complex brain processing. Your cognitive skills are critical to safe driving.


We can improve the way we think and recall by implementing the memory strategies you’ll find in 7-Day Brain Boost Plan. 


If you would like a more comprehensive coverage of definitions of cognition, this Wikipedia page delves into the subject more thoroughly.


(Source of quiz contents: National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine)