Cultural cognition refers to the ability to interact effectively with people who come from different socioeconomic, cultural and linguistic backgrounds, who are different from each other and different from the professionals who engage with them. Cognition is the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses. When we understand and practice cultural cognition effectively, it means we are culturally competent, and so we are able to practice reflective self-awareness without defensive posturing. To be culturally competent, as the social sciences define it, means to recognize the behavior of people as an expression of their culture. In order to do this, then, the critical thinker committed to social justice must understand what makes up the culture of different communities, including issues related to gender, race, age disparities, and especially the economic realities experienced by them.