Cognition

About

Receptiviti’s Cognition framework provides access to nine measures that quantify levels of multiple aspects of cognitive processing and analytical thinking.

This framework makes it possible to analyze how people think, digest information, problem-solve, and make decisions.

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Measures

MeasureSummaryHigh Score DefinitionLow Score Definition
analytical_thinkingReflects structured, hierarchical thinking, complex problem solving, and higher order executive functioning.Reflects formal, logical, hierarchical and strategic thinking.Reflects more informal, here-and-now, and narrative thinking.
cognitive_processesA measure of the automatic cognitive processes involved with paying attention, or processing environmental inputs and the world around us.Suggests that unnecessary or attentional demands are being imposed on a person, making the task of processing information more difficult.Suggests attentional demands are less burdensome or more manageable.
causationThe degree to which a person is engaged in causal thinking, or understanding the relationship between a cause and its effect.Suggests significant causal thinking or focus on understanding the relationship between a cause and its effect.Suggests little-to-no causal thinking or focus on understanding the relationship between a cause and its effect.
certaintyThe degree to which a person is using language that reflects concepts such as certainty, specificity, and completeness, with the intention of persuading themselves or someone else that something is true.Suggests a significant focus on persuading themselves or someone else that something is true.Suggests little-to-no intention of persuading themselves or someone else that something is true.
comparisonsThe degree to which language is being used to compare one entity with another.Suggests a significant amount of language being used to compare one entity to another.Suggests attentional demands are less burdensome or more manageable.
differentiationThe degree to which language is being used to distinguish between entities, people, or ideas.Suggests a significant amount of language being used to distinguish between entities, people, or ideas.Suggests little-to-no language being used to distinguish between entities, people, or ideas.
discrepanciesThe degree to which a person is comparing or articulating the difference between a current state with an alternative state, as often seen in expressions of inferiority, desires, or expectations.Suggests significant language being used to articulate the difference between a current state with an alternative state.Suggests little-to-no language being used to articulate the difference between a current state with an alternative state.
insightThe degree to which a person is focused on understanding, insight or gaining clarity into themselves, someone else or an entity.Suggests a significant focus on understanding, insight, or gaining clarity.Suggests little-to-no focus on understanding, insight, or gaining clarity.
tentativeThe degree to which a person is signalling uncertainty or the using non-definitive or hedging language.Suggests significant signalling of uncertainty or significant use of non-definitive or hedging language.Suggests little-to-no signalling of uncertainty and little-to-no use of non-definitive or hedging language.

Additional Information on the Cognition Framework

Analytical Thinking

The Analytical Thinking measure indicates the degree to which language shows markers of deliberate, structured, and complex thinking. Lower levels of Analytical Thinking is indicative of less productive, less structured and less hierarchical thinking.

For example, highly analytical language is typical of scientific writing and intellectual speech. Language with lower scores on this measure is typically seen in highly social environments, such as casual gatherings among friends.

A drop from baseline in the Analytical Thinking style of an individual is highly correlated with significant events in an individual’s personal life, especially in the case of negative events. A significant event will disrupt pre-existing cognitive patterns, and lead to a temporarily less structured way of thinking and communicating. With finite mental resources available, when increased mental energy is dedicated to coping, less mental energy is available for higher-level thinking.

Examples of related research:

There is a vast body of research examining Analytical Thinking and behaviour. For example, researchers have used this measure to investigate the relationship between higher grades and graduation rates in university settings, the speeches of political leaders, long-term language trends in our politics and culture, and the helpfulness of online customer reviews, and much more.

High-scoring example: “There seems to be an issue with our solution - we should contact the team to discuss."

Low-scoring example: “I’m really concerned for my friend’s dog, I don't think he’s doing so well.”

Cognitive Processing

The Cognitive Processing measure - also referred to as Cognitive Load - looks at the markers present in language that indicate someone is using increased mental energy to process environmental or situational stimuli. Words in this category are broad, and include certain adjectives (i.e., obvious, essential, specific), verbs (i.e., distinguish, suppose, consider), nouns (i.e.,secret, question, findings), that reflect increased levels of cognitive processing.

When individuals are trying to understand the world around them, they often use words that demonstrate this behaviour. If this mental processing is continuous or rigorous, it can increase an individual’s Cognitive Load. This increase can occur due to the complexity or format of a task, time pressure, a significant event or change that impacts them, and other factors. Elevated attentional demands can have a significant and negative impact on analytical thinking, decision-making, and one’s ability to carry out complex mental tasks.

In combination with other frameworks such as Social Dynamics, this category can be immensely helpful in understanding how individuals process the world around them.

Examples of related research:

There is extensive research examining Cognitive Load, behaviour, and language. For example, researchers investigating Cognitive Load have shown that it can play a role in physicians’ decision-making, lead to more risk-averse behaviour, cause more impatience with money, and has a relationship with lying and deception.

High-scoring example: “I realized I’ve made a mistake - could you help me with this analysis before it’s all for nothing."

Low-scoring example: “I’m really happy it’s the weekend!”

Causation

The Causation measure includes language associated with the cause and effect of an action (i.e., change, create, initiate, solve). Individuals may also use more Causation words when dealing with an unexpected or surprising situation.

Examples of related research:

For example, some research has shown that the presence of Causation and Insight words when describing a past event could suggest that an individual is actively reappraising the event, and possibly shifting their feelings or thoughts towards it.

High-scoring example: “Their influence caused a major change in the organization."

Low-scoring example: “I think we need to take a left turn at the next stop."

Certainty

The Certainty measure evaluates a range of certain adjectives (i.e., complete, apparent, undeniable) and adverbs (i.e., confidently, absolutely, definitely) relating to Certainty and specificity.

Examples of related research:

Researchers have used the Certainty measure to examine many important behaviours, such as risk propensity, dogmatism, extremism, and more.

High-scoring example: “I’m absolutely sure that you’ll gain confidence in the unambiguity of the facts provided."

Low-scoring example: “I don’t think I know where I’m going.”

Comparison

The Comparison measure evaluates certain adjectives (i.e., cleanest, wittiest, newest) and prepositions (i.e., before, after,) that are used to compare one or more entities to each other.

High-scoring example: “The streets became emptier after midnight."

Low-scoring example: “How did you do on your exam?”

Differentiation

The Differentiation measure includes certain verbs (i.e., differ, hasn’t, can’t), adverbs (i.e., actually, differently, exclusively), conjunctions (i.e., unless, although, whereas), and other language related to difference and contrast. While the Differentiation and Discrepancy categories are similar, Discrepancy is typically used to point out inconsistencies, while Differentiation is typically used to discern among the qualities of two or more items.

High-scoring example: “Without that distinction, I actually can’t tell them apart.”

Low-scoring example: “I don't think that’s true.”

Discrepancy

The Discrepancy measure includes certain adjectives (i.e., abnormal, lacking, unnecessary), adverbs (i.e., normally, hopefully), and verbs (i.e., mustn’t, shouldn’t, ought) related to concepts of inconsistency and deviation. While the Differentiation and Discrepancy categories are similar, Discrepancy is used to point out inconsistencies, while Differentiation is used to discern among the qualities of two or more objects or concepts.

High-scoring example: “I could’ve suspected that his mistake would become a liability.”

Low-scoring example: “I really love when the snow falls at night.”

Insight

Words in the Insight measure are broad, and include certain verbs (i.e., accepted, comprehend, define), nouns (i.e., solution, reflection, complexity), and adjectives (i.e., perspective, question) related to understanding.

Examples of related research:

Some examples of research have shown that the presence of Insight and Causation words when describing a past event could suggest that an individual is actively reappraising the event, and possibly shifting their feelings or thoughts towards it.

High-scoring example: “Forgive me, I don’t understand your logic.”

Low-scoring example: “Can you help me prepare dinner later?”

Tentative

The Tentative measure includes certain adverbs (i.e., approximately, hopefully), verbs (i.e., guess, depending), and adjectives (i.e., indefinite, vague) related to non-definitive or hedging behaviour. For example, women and individuals who are lower in status can sometimes use more hedging language than men or those in positions of power.

​Examples of related research:

Some researchers have used this measure in examining the relationship between language markers and grandiose narcissism.

High-scoring example: “I’m still hesitant, but I suppose we can make an informed assumption.”

Low-scoring example: “There’s no way we can lose.”

Specs and Examples

The Cognition framework consists of measures that are indicative of cognitive processing and analytical thinking. A score of 0 implies that there was no detectable cognitive focus, while anything >0 implies that there was some kind of cognitive focus for that measure. Scores are derived from words that count towards a certain measure, and are divided by the total number of words in the text sample.

Let's look at a couple of examples:

Example 1: History essays are always difficult.

// partial response
{
"dictionary_measures": {
"causation": 0,
"certainty": 0.2
}
}

The example sentence returns a score of 0.2 for certainty because one word out of a total five words in the sentence indicates certainty, specifically the word "always".

Example 2: History essays are always difficult since there's no math

// partial response
{
"dictionary_measures": {
"causation": 0.1,
"certainty": 0.1
}
}

By adding the words since there's no math to the end of the previous sentence, the scores change. The addition of the causation word since, results in a causation score that is now 0.1 because 1 word out of a total 10 words in the sentence indicates causation. The certainty score is now 0.1 because one word out of 10, always, indicates certainty.