Cognition is a broad complex of skills and qualities that human typical possess like memory, attention, reasoning, understanding written and spoken language and decision making. A definition is difficult to give, its like giving a definition for conscousness, everybody knows what consciousness is until you ask somebody to define it. Cognition can be seen as all skills that deal with information processing of the brain and changing this information in sense of interpreting this information and changing behaviour or thoughts accordingly.
Cognition is highly developed in humans and sets us apart from other species. Also within human beings cognition is highly variabel. The quality of cognition expressed as intelligence can vary a lot. Part of this difference is the skill of a brain to manipulate information and to keep this information stabile in the mind.
A lot of the quality of cognition has to do with the architecture of the brain, how many connections between neurons there are, how well the specific parts of the brain for memory and processing are developed. These are qualities that can be changed only over longer time. Its well known for example that learning to play an instrument can change connectivity in motorical parts of the brain. Further when we are exposed to a stimulating environment in our youth it will influence on our intelligence. Bilingual people are known to have a healthier cognitive future with delayed cognitive decline at an older age. Also a game known as Dual-N-Back seems to be a proven way to train your working memory, a cognitive skill that is comparable to RAM memory of a computer.
A thing we can influence more directly is the chemical balances in the brain. Neurotransmitters are substances that influence the way neurons function. They are not directly responsible for cognition but influence the “state” of neurons and hence influence the way information is processed. An important system in the brain is the ARAS, Ascending Reticular Activating System. this is a system lying in the brainstem with projections to the cortex. It’s this system that influences our wakefullness by modulating cortical activity through cholinergic and noradrenergical activity. By influecing this system we can influence our wakefullness and hence cognition. How can we enhance our alertness? One way is to use substances that act as noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors. Noradrenaline acts by being released in the synaptical cleft and attach to the nearby neuron, modulating its firing pattern. After a while noradrenaline is released from its position and taken up by the neuron through a special pore. A reuptake inhibotor blocks such a pore making it possible for noradrenaline to act longer and hence influence wakefullness. More noradrenaline enhances wakefullness. This is only one of the means by which NZT.1 by Paneuromix is a cognition enhancer.