Cognitive functions test (causes and uses)

In this brief guide, we will be examining the topic: cognitive functions test. We will look at the various kinds of cognitive tests that are currently available, their use, and their benefits and limitations.

Cognitive functions test

Cognitive functions test are carried out to check for any kind of problems that might exist in our cognitive processing and functioning. These functions include thinking, memory, language, the ability to learn new things, and the ability to make accurate judgments. 

The term cognition refers to a series of processes that are involved in your brain and have a part in almost every aspect of your daily life. Any kind of problem with cognition and cognitive functions are known as cognitive impairments. Cognitive impairments can range from mild to moderate to a severe state. It depends on the concerning condition, the brain areas involved, and the individual. 

Causes

There are several factors pertaining to physical and mental health that can contribute to cognitive impairments. These are varying and differ from person to person. Some of the contributing factors are as follows:

  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Blood vessel disorders
  • Side effects of medications
  • Lifestyle glitches
  • Severe anxiety
  • Brain disorders and/or diseases
  • Personality disorders

Though cognitive testing cannot show the exact cause of the problem, it can help the tester decide whether you need more tests or take further steps to address the problem. 

Uses of cognitive tests

The process of cognitive testing is often used for detecting mild cognitive impairments (MCI). those who suffer from MCI may notice slight changes and disturbances in their memory and processing of other mental functions. However, these changes are not severe enough to be warranted as threatening to our daily life activities. 

Mild cognitive impairment can pose a threat to the development of more severe and dangerous impairments. For the same reason, someone suffering from mild cognitive impairment will be made to undergo several tests to check for a decline in the mental functioning of the individual. 

Signs of cognitive impairments

Cognitive testing is especially important if you show signs of cognitive impairments. These signs are as given below:

  • Consistently forgetting important events, appointments, and dates.
  • Increased tendency to misplace and lose one’s essential things and also of others’. 
  • Finding it extremely difficult to recall familiar words and to learn and retain new words, when compared to earlier times.
  • Zoning out or losing track of thoughts and emotions in conversations, movies, books, and meetings.
  • Increased irritability and anxiety
  • Major mood swings and emotional burst outs
  • Inability to keep a sustained focus on short-term and simple activities or conversations. 

Montreal cognitive assessment test

The Montreal cognitive assessment test was designed as a rapid screening instrument, with the intention of measuring mild cognitive dysfunctions in an individual. The test measures various cognitive aspects such as attention and concentration, memory, language, executive functions, visuoconstructional skills, conceptual thinking, calculations, orientations, and such. 

The scores range from zero to thirty and a score that is twenty-six or higher is considered as a normal score. The Montreal cognitive assessment test was designed by a Canadian neurologist Ziyad Nassredine. The time limit for the test is ten minutes. The tasks include basic ones such as identifying animals, drawing a clock, and copying a given picture of a particular object. 

Cognitive functions test (causes and uses)

The thirty-question cognitive test

The thirty-question cognitive test is also known as the mini-mental state examination or the Folstein test. It is a thirty-point questionnaire that is elaborately used in clinical and research settings to measure any type of cognitive impairment existing in an individual. It is also often used in medicine and allied health fields for screening purposes for dementia. It is also used for an accurate indication of the severity and the direction of progression of cognitive impairment and to follow the course of changes in the cognitive functions of an individual. 

This test makes for an effective way to analyze the level of response of an individual to treatment. The administration of the test takes from five to ten minutes and analyzes the cognitive functions of registration, recall, language, attention, calculation, and ability to follow easy commands and orientations. This test was developed by Folstein with the intention of differentiating between organic and functionally impaired psychiatric patients. 

There is no requirement for specialized training or practice for the administration of this test. It also possesses a good level of validity and reliability for diagnosis and assessment of Alzheimer’s disease. It also comes with the advantages of a short period of administration and easiness of use. The content of this test is highly verbal, lacking sufficient to adequately measure visuospatial and/or constructional praxis. Apart from this, it’s utility in measuring impairments due to focal lesions is uncertain. 

Conclusion

In this article, we discussed the topic: cognitive functions test. We discussed the nature of the cognitive test, uses of cognitive tests, causes of cognitive functions test, signs of cognitive impairments, Montreal cognitive assessment, and the thirty-question cognitive assessment. 

FAQs: cognitive functions test

How is cognitive function tested?

Different types of cognitive tests exist and the way of testing depends on the type of cognitive test involved. Most of the cognitive tests involve answering certain questions or performing simple tasks. Cognitive tests enable the measurement of various mental functions such as memory, language, and the ability to recognize objects. 
Some of the common types of test are as follows:

Montreal cognitive assessment
This test involves three parts. The first part requires the participant to memorize a shortlist of words. The second part involves identifying the picture of an animal. The final and the third part involves copying the picture of an object or shape.

Mini-mental state exam
The mini-mental state exam is a test with a duration of seven to ten minutes at the maximum. In this test, the participant is required to name the current date, count a given set of numbers backward, and identifying everyday objects like a watch or pencil.

Mini-cog
This is a three to five-minute test that involves recalling. The material to be recalled is a list of three-word lists of objects and drawing a clock. 

What are the basic cognitive functions?

The main cognitive functions are memory, language, executive functions, attention, and visual-spatial abilities. 

Attention – attention refers to the ability to maintain sustained focus without giving way to distractions on one particular stimulus. It is used to do every kind of daily activity and it is essential for the efficient functioning of an individual. Attention exists in different forms and of different intensities.

Attention and focus are two different concepts and their underlying process is completely different. Attention depends on the sensory receptors in the brain that is used to process sight, smell, hearing, and touch. Focus requires a higher degree of awareness. The role of focus is to rule out unwanted stimuli from the environment and background noises. 

Memory – memory refers to the cognitive process that involves retaining, recalling, and reprocessing new and old information. It is a cognitive process. Memory is of three kinds. They are working memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory. Working memory is used when people want to perform everyday tasks. The memory center of the brain is the hippocampus which has connections to many other important neural networks.
 
Language skills – language is basic for human survival and allows people of different cultures and countries to communicate with each other. It is a complex brain activity that requires different types of analysis of both words and sentences. The most important factor in a language is frequency. Frequency is extremely essential to proper usage of any kind of language.

Executive brain functions – executive brain functions are characterized by more complex brain functions and require more focus. They rely on the basic skills to get things done. There are different types of executive functions. They are inferential, analogical, and automatic. The tasks that are executive functions- based include, planning for a holiday, playing a board game, figuring out a broken vehicle, and such activities.
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Inferential reasoning involves deductions, inferences, and hypotheses. It is used when we are faced with a new problem to solve for which we have no ready solutions to apply. In such a situation, we are forced to consider all elements of the problem. 
Analogical reasoning involves recycling, meaning we use previously used solutions for current problems that might be sharing similar characteristics with the previous problems. 

Automatic reasoning involves quick and efficient thinking. In this type of reasoning, we used a well-known and commonly used solution for our problems. This happens because of the use of automatic knowledge in such situations. For instance, traveling to the store in a familiar mode of transport such as a bus or a tricycle. 

Visual and spatial abilities – it refers to the ability to identify the position of an object with relation to other objects existing in the environment. It also involves estimating the distance between yourself and the objects in your surroundings. The visual system is responsible for this kind of visual analysis and understanding. Mental imagery is the ability to mentally picture things, sounds,  and sensations.

Is cognitive a function?

Cognitive function refers to an array of mental abilities that includes learning, thinking, reasoning, remembering, problem-solving, decision-making, and attention. Each cognitive function involves different areas of the brain and is complex activities on its own. The psychometric approach is used to define, measure, and quantify cognitive abilities using the most basic underlying constructs of abilities such as general intelligence, fluid intelligence, and crystallized intelligence. 

What improves cognitive function? 

Cognitive functions can be improved by indulging in any kind of brain-stimulating activities such as reading, writing, and participating in such activities that help to boost our memory and our brain functions on varying levels. Reading a novel is a great way to improve your cognitive functions such as thinking, and analyzing. There are also plenty of brain-training games that help in optimizing brain connectivity and processing of information accurately. 

In order to give your brain a full workout, you need to engage both hemispheres of the brain by exploring, learning, and practicing new things. 

What is IDRIabs?

This is a general website that provides individual personality assessments to determine individual personality types. These tests provided by the company are peer-reviewed through the conduction of scientific researches and the authenticity is determined professionally in the field accordingly.  This enables individuals to discover their real selves. 

What is your dominant cognitive function?

Among the various cognitive functions that are performed by each one of us, there exists a dominant cognitive function that rules our processing and functioning of cognitive processes. This function will be the one that has the highest priority in our minds. This particular function will be the dominant function. Each personality type has one dominant function that will be ruling their life. 

References

https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/cognitive-testing/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/cognitive-function-test

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