"Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary study of mind and intelligence" (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). "Cognition" relates to any conscious as well as unconscious mental process such as memory, perception, problem solving, and language processing. The research of an eclectic assembly of academic disciplines including linguistics, psychology, anthropology, neuroscience, philosophy, and computer science intersect at the topic of cognition. While the cognitive abilities of other living organisms are studied, the focus of most academic interest is centered on human cognition.
The study of cognition should interest anyone who has ever shared a similar sentiment to that captured in the following lines by Alexander Pope from his Essay on Man; anyone who has ever cursed, laughed, cried, or otherwise mused over this human puzzle.
Plac'd in this isthmus of a middle state, A being darkly wise and rudely great, With too much knowledge for the sceptic side, With too much weakness for the stoic pride, He hangs between; in doubt to act of rest; In doubt to deem himself a god or beast; In doubt his Mind or Body to prefer; Born but to die, and reas'ning but to err;... Still by himself abus'd, or disabus'd; Created half to rise, and half to fall; Great lord of all things, yet prey to all; Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurl'd; The glory, jest and riddle of the world.