This page spells out some of the assumptions behind CogZest.
If your work involves (or used to involve) learning and working with knowledge, then odds are that developing your “cognitive potential” can make you a happier person. You’re the type of person who gets a kick out of continuing to become more competent and useful to others.
So what is cognition? You can think of cognition as your abilities to learn, reason, remember, solve problems, and so on. It’s what your mind and parts of your brain do.
We believe you can leverage the most potent findings of Cognitive Science to move your cognition forward. That makes sense, as Cognitive Science is the science of the mind. Cognitive Science is at the heart of our interdisciplinary approach. Cognitive Science, as we see it, is the set of all scientific endeavours that extend our knowledge of the human mind: so long as these ideas are rigorous, clear, computable, extensible, criticizable but not refuted, and progressive, they’re in! Cognitive Science is inclusive but technical and demanding. (FYI, here is a masterly book on the History of Cognitive Science—but not ripe with practical applications, that one.)
Our job at CogZest is to build and deliver user-friendly goods and services that are derived from Cognitive Science. Sometimes that means we need to extend the boundaries of cognitive science—That’s OK: science and applications are synergistic. So Luc spends a lot of his time reading, thinking and writing about cognitive science; and deriving very practical implications to help experts learn more effectively and efficiently with technology. Effectiveness, or productive thinking, is an essential component of cognitive productivity as we construe it.
The other rigorous sciences—e.g., physics, chemistry, life sciences, etc.—have been extensively applied: bridges, computers, surgery… you name it. Many significant results from Cognitive Science are locked up in highly technical journals or watered down for masses of students. We are are adapting, extending and delivering these results to you, so that you can more easily extend the limits of your expertise.
Perhaps you’re intrigued by the word “zest” blended in CogZest. It reflects our belief in the importance of emotional, motivational and attitudinal drivers of cognition. Luc Beaudoin’s doctorate was part of an ambitious project to understand “cognition and affect”. If you study great minds in any discipline, you might find, as we have, that they developed zest—courage, enthusiasm and resiliency to weather the storms which life inevitably produces and to capitalize on life’s opportunities. Take one of our favourite examples, Sir Winston Churchill. His extensive career included significant setbacks, challenges and responsibilities. His determination is partly responsible for the democratic freedoms much of the world enjoys today. His hallmark was his cognitive zest. He was not just a politician. He was an energetic, smart working, highly respected thinker and writer. He earned a Nobel Prize for literature. There is much to learn from zestful minds like him—stay tuned for more from us on that.
The biographies of great minds contain clues about the importance of cognitive zest. They show how it can help one be immensely productive. Academic psychologists, such as Albert Bandura, have done extensive research on a related topic, which we have mined. The flip side, of course, is that if one allows one’s self-confidence to decay, one’s productivity will plummet. But perceived self-efficacy is an enabler—something more than that drives cognitive zest. We’ll say more about that too.
And where does “cognitive fitness” fit in? Cognitive fitness is an informal conceptual analog to physical fitness. Think of it as the upside of “learnable intelligence.” (Not to be confused with IQ. ) CogZest does not bet on or against the possibility of improving cognitive fitness or affecting working memory capacity. Instead, we focus on performing cognitive work in a manner that may improve your cognitive productivity—with or without technology. For example, using more productive ways to read and master documents can make you a smarter person, not in the IQ sense, but in that you will better understand and utilize the information in those documents. We are always on the look-out for strategies that help you “to get things learnt” more productively while also improving your abilities.
Finally, as we age, some things become more difficult and some become easier. Fortunately, there is a rapidly growing body of literature on cognitive aging. We have detailed ideas about how you can partially offset the downside of cognitive aging while benefiting from its potential upside—with zest! We aim for realistic improvements; not for miracles.
You’ve invested in reading this document. With our tools and techniques, you can distill and capitalize on this and any document worth reading.