COGNITIVE SIMULATION  -  For surgeons across specialties


What is it and what it isn't

Considered separately, cognition involves mental processing of information while simulation is an artificial creation of an experience. Correspondingly, cognitive simulation is creating a life-like experience by mental processing. Let's be clear, cognitive simulation does not mean simply thinking about operative steps. It involves processing of sensory information to create a 'feel' of the operation. Neither is it a 'mental practice' as unlike mental practice, cognitive simulation vividly resembles the real experience. One can say that it is a method to create virtual reality simulator in mind. In contrast to technical simulators that allow limited range of procedures without a holistic experience, cognitive simulation is useful for any procedure and creates a quality experience that no simulator can match.

Some surgeons may find the concept of cognitive simulation mysterious. For them, hands-on experience is the only way to improve operative skills. They are unable to grasp the idea that mental training can improve a physical activity like surgical performance. The only way to clear the misconception is to broaden the understanding about this evidence-based method and apply in practice to experience the benefits.


While cognitive simulation will guide you to perfect the art of surgical skills, it is also designed to fill in the pieces and pinpoint what is lacking in the current method. It is no coincidences that some surgeons find they already know few techniques mentioned. In fact, those surgeons who have learnt through hands-on practice will have subconsciously applied some of the techniques. However, those who understand it well will henceforth consciously apply the techniques to achieve better results.


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