Detectives Sherlock Holmes and Feluda are among the most popular fictional characters because of their high IQ or intelligence quotient. We all know that high IQ signifies human intelligence, but did you know that IQ can also change over time?

A vast body of research has shown that humans have the capacity to adopt new cognitive thinking skills throughout their lives. Therefore, IQs aren’t fixed and can increase over time. 

Since the process of developing cognitive skills is a life-long one, you can train your brain to utilize its full potential. Expanding your cognitive capacities will help you pursue your personal and professional goals with new rigor.

Cognitive Skills List

Before we understand how to improve cognitive skills, let’s take a look at the cognitive skills list:

1. Attention

The cognitive skills examples of attention include situations where you need to stay focused on a task. There are three key types of attention—sustained, divided and selective.

2. Perception

The cognitive skills examples of perception include visual perception and processing, auditory processing, linguistic processing and spatial awareness. Here, multiple senses are used to interpret information.

3. Memory 

There are two types of memory—short-term and long-term. In order to retain and recall information, we use our memory skills.

4. Thinking speed 

The time taken to gather and process information indicates our thinking or processing speed. Cognitive skills examples that determine processing speed include thinking on your feet or doing mental math.

5. Logical reasoning

It enables us to form ideas, make decisions and solve problems. People with good reasoning skills like to separate facts from opinions.

How To Improve Cognitive Skills?

Anyone can increase or expand their cognitive abilities. Here are some handy examples of cognitive skills increasing tactics:

1. Seek Novelty 

When you seek novelty, you will create a new area of interest for yourself. It will incentivize you to focus your energy on your tasks and chase your goals with enthusiasm and willingness. Upskilling yourself with a new online course or taking up new initiatives at the workplace are some examples of cognitive skills that can help push through the monotony.

2. Check Your social skills 

The internet has many advantages but it has also taken away the need to socialize and connect with other people. Isolation can cause adverse effects on your cognitive abilities, so it’s important to remind yourself to stay connected with your friends, family and co-workers.

3. Train Your Brain 

Thought leaders often highlight the importance of training our brains. The processing or thinking speed of an individual reduces over time due to inevitable factors like age. Most of the time, older people struggle to exercise their cognitive thinking skills. Brain-teasers like games, puzzles and riddles can challenge your mind and improve your thinking speed.

4. Do Some Light Exercise

More often than you realize, your physical health has a direct correlation to your mental health. Instead of staying glued to your seat, go for a walk or a jog. If the outside space is inaccessible, do some yoga or stretching exercises. Blood flow increases with physical activity, which helps in developing cognitive skills.

5. Sleep Adequately 

You must take healthy breaks from your work and get a good night’s sleep. It’s definitely easier said than done but your mind needs rest to accept and process new information. If you have trouble sleeping, address your underlying issues. Do mindful meditation or seek counseling. Most of all, find a way to relax and reboot your cognitive thinking abilities.

Harappa Education’s Thinking Critically course is designed to help you understand and utilize your cognitive skills effectively. The Ladder of Inference approach will teach you how to understand others around you. You’ll also learn how to process information better and how to make healthy arguments. Remember that critical thinking is a much-needed skill in the workplace.


Each of your cognitive skills has a significant role to play in your intellectual development. If you’re not mindful of your daily habits and lifestyles, your cognitive capabilities may be compromised. Cognitive functions can decline over time so it’s crucial to keep a check. Treat each new day as an opportunity to improve yourself.

Explore topics & skills such as the Cognitive SkillsBlack and White ThinkingCognitive Bias & the Theories of Intelligence from our Harappa Diaries blog section.

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