Learning and Cognition-Literature Review

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Cognitive learning is the process of interpreting and perceiving data or information. (Aukrust, 2011) emphasizes that learning and cognition involve someone's problem-solving abilities, memory retention ability, critical thinking abilities, and how they perceive the material they acquire. People differentiate their learning styles, both consciously and unconsciously. In the case of conscious learning, some people learn best by seeing the information, while others learn best by hearing it. Learning and cognition encompass a wide range of topics. Some of the disciplines researched include; neuroscience which is mainly involves the nervous system participation in learning, precisely a look at how our brains function during learning. Another discipline is socio-cognition which involves the social lives of individuals during learning. Learning and literacy discipline is another construct that explains how individuals read, write and use the language. More so diversity and culture is construct that emphasizes on the effects of learning. Lastly connectionism and learning is a construct that explains the process of learning. This paper presents a review of the different pieces of literatures that cover the aspects of learning and cognition that are described above.


Neuroscience involves brain participation in learning. When learning, thinking is a vital tool and is made efficient by the nervous system. (Gallistel, & Matzel,. 2013) insist that learning contributes to the growth of the brain, stress can also greatly influence learning activities. The authors also explain that having enough sleep, healthy diet and keeping fit contribute to an effective education culture. Learning stimulates the neural system and in important in boosting memory. Scientists in the 19th century had the assumption that the brain only grew during someone’s childhood and thus raise the need to study neuroscience in cognitive and learning. Learning configures the structure of the brain and can either be consciously or unconsciously. The problem arises when most of us dwell on the fact that the individual has to process the information rather than the process of how they will learn in processing the information.

A group of a cross functional learning team in Oxford university conducted a research on how neuroscience contributes to learning and during their research they found out four canons that were important in comprehending learning and neuroscience which include; gathering, reflection and creation active testing. This literature provided the findings of this research.

People change through learning and our brains grow gradually from learning. Neuroscience is an important aspect in learning and it tries to elaborate how stress whether mild or extreme can affect an individual’s capability of learning.

A collaborative design effort was used to research on neuroscience. A group of a cross functional learning team in Oxford University conducted a study by providing each member a list. Each of these students developed their ways of comprehending information.

The students found out four ways of understand information which include; gathering of data which may be through hearing, seeing and testing. This is the collection of primary data and recording them. Next was reflection of the information gathered. This requires that the learner is given sometime to integrate the information he has been given to prevent cramming of information. Creation is the stage at which the student develops ideas and plans after reflecting on the information reflected. Active testing now involves the brain in that it is whereby ideas are converted to actions.


Socio-cognition is the science that deals with the social interaction among individuals. Goodland explained that most students prefer standing in front of the classroom than communicating to fellow students. Smith emphasized that 90% of teaching time is the teacher who does the talking. In today’s world, there is little communication among students and hence a need to study this. An instruction delivery model was used whereby students were grouped together to study their view on social interaction

Lack of student interaction and collaboration as explained by Light & Butterworth in 2016 is a major problem in literature and therefore socio-cognition discipline is very important in learning.

An instructional delivery model was used to study the students’ social interaction. The teacher grouped the students into a group of 5 members each and gave them exist slips that were supposed to be filled by the students at the end of the class every day. The exit slips were to study how the students perceive what they have been taught. At the end of each day the results of how they perceive information varied in each group.

Majority of the students believed that social interactions helps them to comprehend what is being taught easily, some believed that it helps learning to be fun. It was noted that social interactions improved students’ critical thinking, created a good working environment and lastly it enabled motivation and engagement of students in class.

Learning and Literacy

Learning and literacy is an important discipline in the development of communication skills among students. Development of speech as explained by McMurray et al. (2013) among children has been a critical problem such that as children go to school they are not able to develop language skills to improve negotiations among them. These are vital tools for the development of speech. A problem may arise when students enter into schools with a condition referred to as language impairment where by the children have poor speaking and listening skills. Several studies have indicated that children who have listening impairment have problems in behavior and these behaviors vary across every child. Teachers are the ones that note this changes rather than the parents. Teachers gave students a list of vocabulary and told them to read them out loud. This exercise was to find out if the children had developed good communication skills.

Child speech and language development is a process that cannot be avoided. When children enter school, they are required to enhance their language skills for them to learn properly.

Teachers gave students a list of words that they were to read out of loud to the class. The teacher would read the words and tell them to repeat after them. Some students were able to imitate the teacher while others could not.

It was clear that most students have not achieved a good spoken language, reading and social development. Most of the students could not repeat the words read out by the teacher. As a result, two hypotheses have been established which include; the fact that speaking language and outcomes on behavior are causal.

Diversity and culture

Diversity and culture is an aspect that has a strong impact on how individuals learn. Individuals come from different backgrounds and beliefs about staff. Educating people will help them appreciate and understand ways of approaching ethnic, racial and cultural diversity. Most of the teachers have negative perceptions, beliefs and attitudes of students in their classrooms (Banks, J. A. 2015). This problem can be curbed by giving resources on how to reflect deeply on their beliefs and attitude towards students to be able to encourage effective learning. (Nieto,2005) mentioned qualities that are attitudinal which would help teachers to promote culture and diversity. These factors include; solidarity, passion for equality, should be able to ethnically serve the students, have a convectional way of doing things and lastly be able to embrace flexibility and uncertainty. Questionnaires were given out to teachers to be able to find out their attitudes towards students.

Teachers’ racial, cultural and ethical beliefs are different across every school in the society. Education on how to approach diversity is always mentioned but has not been fully put into consideration

Questionnaires were given out to teachers with questions about their students in the classrooms. This was to find out their attitudes towards their students. The results on how the teachers viewed their students varied across each educator. It was found out that most teachers approach diversity and culture differently. Some teachers were against white people children with a reason that they are way too much pampered by their parents and they tend to be rude. Some had bad attitudes towards students and they treated them differently from the others.

This is a discipline as illustrated by Read & Miller (2014) that explains a web of development. Rumelhart and McClelland explained that cognitive science with a framework known as Parallel Distributed processing framework which connectionism has embraced it. They also argued that connectionism could be best achieved by converting into networks of artificial neurons. Challenged involved in connectionism is to elaborate the learning of abstract structural representation. The use of recurrent networks and self-organization directions are important aspects of learning a language. Connectionism is a set of approaches in the field of artificial intelligence. Most teachers need to understand these networks of development among students.

Kollias and McClelland address the challenges of modeling more abstract representations but truly understand how neural architectures give rise to symbolic cognition is a gap that should be filled. Although learning and representing formal language rules may not be completely outside the abilities of neural networks as mentioned by Chang it seems clear that understanding how we should solve symbolic problems. Future researchers may wish to fill in the gap.


Cognition is an individual power of understanding information. Learning is the ability to process and interpret information. A major factor that contributes greatly to good learning and cognition is motivation. The more the students are motivated, the more they are able to grasp information. Cognition can be made efficient by these five constructs which include; neurosciences, socio-cognition, diversity and culture, connectionism and learning and literacy. If these disciplines are integrated, learning is made efficient. The different literatures explained the impacts of different aspects of education in learning and cognition. The authors conducted research and gave recommendations basing on their findings as illustrated in this literature review. There are different factors that impact education both mentally and physically. This paper described these factors from the viewpoints of other authors who have conducted research and drawn evidence-based conclusions.


Aukrust, V. G. (Ed.). (2011). Learning and cognition. Oxford, UK: Elsevier.

Banks, J. A. (2015). Cultural diversity and education. New York: Routledge.

Gallistel, C. R., & Matzel, L. D. (2013). The neuroscience of learning: beyond the Hebbian synapse. Annual review of psychology, 64, 169-200.

Light, P., & Butterworth, G. (Eds.). (2016). Context and cognition: Ways of learning and knowing. Routledge.

McMurray, B., Kovack-Lesh, K. A., Goodwin, D., & McEchron, W. (2013). Infant directed speech and the development of speech perception: Enhancing development or an unintended consequence?. Cognition, 129(2), 362-378.

Read, S. J., & Miller, L. C. (2014). Connectionist models of social reasoning and social behavior. Psychology Press

April 26, 2023

Sociology Science

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