Definition: Cognition; (Pronounced: kägˈniSHən) Latin; noun
1. The mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.
Why I love this word:
Cognition refers to thinking. There are obvious applications of conscious reasoning--reading a book, designing a garment, understanding your homework--but it takes many subtler forms like interpretation, guiding your physical actions, and emphasizing with others. The older metaphor for human cognition was the computer, which is a logical, information-processing machine. Your brain and thought process is a logical, information-processing machine.
Photograph from Kinfolk