Understanding the Unconscious

The unconscious is where most of the work of the mind gets done; it's the repository of automatic skills (such as riding a bike), the source of intuition and dreams, the engine of much information processing. Fleeting perceptions register in the unconscious mind long before we may be aware of them.

The unconscious mind is not some black hole of unacceptable impulses waiting to trip you up, but it can be the source of hidden beliefs, fears, and attitudes that interfere with everyday life. Most forms of psychotherapy aim to bring into conscious awareness many of these hidden hindrances, so that we can examine them and choose how to deal with them.

Recent Posts on Unconscious

How Does Your Cerebellum Counteract "Paralysis by Analysis"?

By Christopher Bergland on August 04, 2015 in The Athlete's Way
Neuroscientists from McGill University have discovered that the cerebellum learns to expect the unexpected and can help counteract "paralysis by analysis" in both life and sport.

Creative Concerns

At first glance, the notion that creativity perturbs us is oxymoronic. We live in an age in which we are encouraged to prize all things ingenious. However, novelty also brings risk and uncertainty.

New Empirical Research on Dream Recall and Content

These new articles in the journal Dreaming show the importance of taking age, culture, and external threats into account when trying to understand the nature and functions of dreams in people’s lives.

The Archeology of Misbehavior

Archeology is the study of human activity in the past. The archeology of misbehavior is studying current behavior to uncover hidden sources. The “ruins” of misdeeds are built upon personality architecture and cultural landscapes.

Are You a Giver or a Taker?

Think you are a Giver? There's something to watch out for that could turn you into a Taker.

Severe Migraine: Finding Answers in the Mind, Not in Pills

There are 45 million Americans with migraine and about 10% of those have frequent and severe headaches that are unresponsive to medications and other treatments. Most doctors would describe migraine as a genetic disorder, however this blog presents a different view. A patient with severe migraines is presented and her cure lay in her willingness to reappraise her life.

The Meaning of the APA's Dealing With the Torture Scandal

After years of deception, and opposing strong and clear dissent from within its very ranks, the APA finds itself in a particularly awkward position. What does a professional organization which has lost its moral compass do when the news breaks? What does its reaction to the current controversy tell us about the APA’s organizational character?

Culturally Induced Blindness

Can you answer this simple riddle or do you suffer from cultural blindness?

How the Brain Can Hear Voices That Don't Exist

By Guest Bloggers on July 17, 2015 in The Guest Room
Schizophrenic individuals who experience auditory hallucinations seem to hear voices emanating from within. Neuroscientists are investigating how and why this happens.

Sentence Completion: A Way to Measure Motivation?

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on July 14, 2015 in A Sideways View
There are many different forms of projective techniques, which are attempts to assess a person's unconscious wishes and desires

There Are Monkeys Everywhere

We who are sighted can be the blindest of all. We can confuse what we see with what is really there, but what we see has to be taught to our eyes/minds. Actually there are monkeys all around us. You just have to learn to see them I will tell you how.

Hypocritical Capitalism

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on July 11, 2015 in Hidden Motives
When capitalism takes its own picture, it inevitably smooth’s over the blemishes,

Why Vulnerability Takes Courage

Being vulnerable can be terrifying, but when we find the courage to step out on stage, we have the opportunity to reveal our deepest secret, which is often ourselves.

The Psychology of Repression

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on July 02, 2015 in A Sideways View
Repression is a well known Freudian concept, written about by both Sigmund and daughter Anna. The central question is how and why this process occurs and whether it is essentially healthy or unhealthy?

Can Subliminal Messages Create Feelings of Love and Lust?

Can a sexy picture in the background or a well-chosen romantic word, trigger automatic feelings of love and desire? Could the right situation or association make you seem more attractive, sexy, or alluring to a potential lover? See what the research has to say here...

The Avatar Theory of Consciousness

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on June 27, 2015 in Memory Medic
Evolution made us smart enough to be effective killers and hopefully wise enough to be more humane.

Behavioral Economics—An Exercise in Design and Humility

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on June 23, 2015 in Consumed
What's the state of your bad decision making? Read Dan Ariely's exclusive take on irrationality and its consequences.

Are You Using Your Anger—or Is It Using You?

Anger can help us stand up for ourselves or give us the momentum to make the changes we need to make. But when anger is a constant state—either in a society or a person—it’s rarely useful and usually destructive.

How to Get Unstuck

Have you ever felt stymied? Stuck in the mud on a problem or when you're trying to be creative? Here are some ideas to get you moving out of the muck and back on track.

Owning Our Psychological Dark Matter

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on June 14, 2015 in Ambigamy
When we divvy responsibility for problems, we tend to take responsibility for consciously but not unconsciously motivated error, which can cause additional problems.

Nothing as It Seems but That Which Lies Beneath

And then we came to discover we are not the masters of our own houses

The Truth About Trying to Do It All (Simultaneously)

Have you ever been so consumed with what happened at work that you find yourself in your driveway with no real recollection of how you got there? What price are we paying for a life on autopilot?

Beyond Bread and Butter

Progressive political activists are too fixated on economic inequality and justice, reflecting a narrow and incorrect view of what people really need.

Synchronicity Can Signal Love Moments or Breakthroughs

Creating the environment that allows for you to aware of how synchronicity and its cousin, serendipity, can enrich your life.

Speed: Scientific Self-Correction versus Plate Tectonics

By Lee Jussim Ph.D. on May 15, 2015 in Rabble Rouser
If psychological science is self-correcting, it is very very very hard to detect.

My Design Psychology Career: 'Art + Science' = True Love

By Toby Israel Ph.D. on May 14, 2015 in Design on My Mind
Sculpting beautiful, profoundly meaningful places that allow us to transcend

It Is All in the Eyes

What is the difference between a blink and a wink?

The Thinking Trap

People believe their own thoughts despite the fact that much psychological science shows this is an illusion........

12 Ways Eye Movements Give Away Your Secrets

Eye movements unconsciously give away your secret personal information.

Geography of Aging and the Illusion of Self

By Mario D Garrett PhD on May 04, 2015 in iAge
There is no "me". My body is a fusion of the outside world and an internal reality. The distinction between me and them is purely a creation of my mind. The separation comes as an afterthought. My mind creates this dualism, but in reality my body is fused with the geography and behavior of others around. The sense of self is how the body placates me.