What Is a Cognitive Test?

Cognitive tests assess a person's ability to function day to day.
Cognitive tests assess a person's ability to function day to day. (Image: taking test image by Petro Feketa from Fotolia.com)

Cognitive testing assesses a person’s cognition, which is the mental processing that allows for normal, daily functioning such as solving problems. For an overall picture of a person’s cognition, several different tests are required, as each test assesses only a few aspects of cognition.


A commonly assessed aspect with cognitive testing is attention. The attention assessment provides insight into whether a person’s attention span is in the healthy range. Abnormal attention spans may indicate attention deficit disorder or other conditions.


Cognitive tests assess both recent and remote memory. A person who is not able to recall recent or remote memories may have a medical condition such as Alzheimer's disease or some form of severe brain trauma.


The judgment cognitive tests assess the ability of a person to decide a correct course of action in a situation. Judgment is important, as being able to make authoritative decisions is necessary in all aspects of life. Impaired judgment may be due to emotional dysfunction or mental retardation.

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