The use of "cognitive" in health terminology. A latent controversy

Revista de psiquiatrí́a y salud mental
Luis Salvador-Carulla, Francisco Aguilera


The adjective «cognitive» has a double meaning and it is used for naming two disciplines with separate activities: Cognitive neuroscience and cognitive psychotherapy. This has an unrecognised impact on the health terminology and the classification systems. The current use of this term is reviewed in a series of key dictionaries, scientific books, databases (OldMedline and PsycINFO) and specific web searchers (Google Scholar). The history of this term and its etymology is also reviewed and compared to other alternatives (i.e. noetic) as well as its use in international classifications (e.g. the International Classification of Functioning - ICF). The modern use of the term «cognitive» in Neurosciences can be traced back to Hebb in a 1955 one year before that recorded at official version. The different meaning of this term in psychology can be traced back to the same decade. Departing from the ICF framework of mental functions, «cognitive» can be regarded as a generic term that encompasses both neurocognitive and meta-cognitive functions and should not be used for classification purposes. A hierarchy is suggested for the use of «neurocognitive» in the classification of mental functions. The polysemic use of this name reveals a lat...Continue Reading


Mar 1, 1996·History of Psychiatry·G E Berrios
Aug 9, 2002·Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience·Michael B MillerMichael S Gazzaniga
Jul 16, 2003·Trends in Cognitive Sciences·Jacques Vauclair, Patrick Perret
Apr 2, 2005·The British Journal of Psychiatry : the Journal of Mental Science·Jonathan EvansUNKNOWN ALSPAC study team
Oct 24, 2007·Psychopathology·Luis Salvador-Carulla, Marco Bertelli
Jul 28, 2009·Cognitive Neuropsychiatry·Robert M BilderRussell A Poldrack
Oct 3, 2009·Psychological Medicine·P SachdevT M Anderson

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Feb 7, 2013·Revista de psiquiatrí́a y salud mental·Luis Salvador-CarullaRafael Martínez-Leal
Aug 3, 2012·Revista de psiquiatrí́a y salud mental·David GilMarta Arrieta
Nov 15, 2011·Gaceta sanitaria·Ramon Sabes-FigueraLuis Salvador-Carulla
Sep 30, 2010·International Review of Psychiatry·Jorge J Rodríguez
Sep 9, 2011·Journal of Urban Health : Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine·Françoise BartenRuth Stern
Aug 25, 2016·Ciência & saúde coletiva·Daniel Ricardo Zaraza-Morales, Dora María Hernández-Holguín
May 1, 2017·Revista de salud pública·Juan C Eslava-Castañeda

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