Understanding the Unconscious

The unconscious is where most of the work of the mind gets done; it's the repository of automatic skills, the source of intuition and dreams, and an engine of information processing. Fleeting perceptions may register in the unconscious mind long before are 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

Knowing Oneself Is Easier Said Than Done

By Graham Collier on February 21, 2017 in The Consciousness Question
There is no guarantee you will ever completely know just who and why you are.
Paul Nunez

Are Some Scientists Serious About Denying Free Will?

A brief look at the issues of consciousness and free will.

This Motivation Hack Will Instantly Alter Your Thinking

By Bobby Hoffman Ph.D. on February 16, 2017 in Motivate!
The "Anchor Hack" can help you identify personal benchmarks that enhance performance and increase achievement.

Psychosexual Stages: Freud’s Theory of Personality

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on February 14, 2017 in A Sideways View
Is it true that many of our adult behaviours are a function of unresolved conflicts in childhood?

What Sexism Research Says About the Rebuke of Senator Warren

Silencing Warren reflected sexism still pervasive in American politics.

Subconscious Fear Exposure Helps Reduce Phobias, Study Finds

By Christopher Bergland on February 09, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
A new study reports that a technique called "backward masking" can help arachnophobes reduce their fear of spiders simply by subconsciously viewing images of spiders.
Can Stock Photo Inc. /Alexmit, used with permission

Could a Zombie Be Elected President?

Can philosophical zombies tell us something about the deep mystery of consciousness?

Thoughts on Grof, Epilepsy, and Mysticism

By David Dillard-Wright Ph.D. on February 04, 2017 in Boundless
The boundaries between neurological disorder and mystical experience cannot be mapped neatly.
Paul Nunez

Is the Brain More Than the Sum of Its Parts?

Emergence: How can a brain be more that just a bunch of interacting nerve cells?

Psychosomatic? No, my Stomach Really Hurts!

Today’s post is brought to you by my stomachache. My wife says I’m just being psychosomatic, but what does that even mean?

Implicit Racial Prejudice and Explicit Discrimination

Recent media coverage has questioned the utility of research on implicit biases. This article responds to criticisms of the IAT.

Radical New Discoveries Are Turning Neuroscience Upside Down

By Christopher Bergland on January 12, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
New discoveries are changing the way neuroscientists view how subcortical brain regions (including the cerebellum, basal ganglia, and brainstem) interact with the cerebral cortex.

Gut Feeling

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on January 11, 2017 in A Swim in Denial
When Meryl Streep spoke out about vindictiveness at the Golden Globes, was she right to trust her gut instinct?

Don't Let the Swag Throw Off Your Swagger

By Gayil Nalls Ph.D. on January 06, 2017 in Sensoria
Hotel Amenities...why pay for them when they’re free? Read the ingredients (if you can find them) before you decide.

Creative Thinking in Action

What objects or "things" could you bring into play, to help you reach a fresh new view of what's possible?

The Goose

In every one of us, even in a tranquil little mother goose village, there is the human story, and human pain.

The Misinterpretation of Libet and Our Man in Alaska

By Thomas Hills Ph.D. on December 27, 2016 in Statistical Life
How does consciousness control action?

Post-Time War Stress Disorder: Doctor Who's Secret Symptom

Can the eponymous hero of "Doctor Who," the longest-running sci-fi TV series, help us understand PTSD?

The Laws of Unintended Consequences

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on December 21, 2016 in Ambigamy
Pay attention to unintended consequences and how they happen. If you do, you'll minimize the bad ones and you'll be more compassionate with yourself about those you can't escape.

Why You Struggle to Understand the Paradoxical Trump Voter

By Tiffany McLain LMFT on December 18, 2016 in Living Between Worlds
Why your mind tries to make simplistic assumptions about complex situations.

Three Subtle, Subconscious Ways We Procrastinate

By Caroline Beaton on December 11, 2016 in The Gen-Y Guide
Do you feel like you're constantly busy but getting nothing done? These three little known, but well-established methods of procrastination could be the problem.

A Farewell to Reality? Illusion in the 2016 Election

By Brenda Berger Ph.D. on December 04, 2016 in Hearts and Minds
Are you still shocked and confused about the results of the presidential election? Here are some thoughts about what might have been behind the outcome.

"I Think It'll Get Darker Before It Gets Lighter"

By Abigail Brenner M.D. on November 29, 2016 in In Flux
This beloved story is one of self-discovery and transformation. Every time we venture forward into unknown territory we change, transforming into a fuller expression of ourselves.

Can People Overcome Their Implicit Biases?

Vice President-Elect Mike Pence probably underestimates the pervasiveness and the near inevitability of implicit bias.

What Stress Can Do to You: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

By Sharon K. Farber Ph.D. on November 24, 2016 in The Mind-Body Connection
"The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another." — William James

Linda The Bank Teller Case Revisited

The skill of providing answers on the basis of the meaning that is literally given to us is not typically a useful skill.

8 Ways to Trigger Lucid Dreaming

Ever wonder how you could induce a lucid dream? Here are 8 techniques supported by research.

The Technology of Dreaming in "Falling Water"

"Falling Water," new on the USA Network, goes further than any other television show in exploring the multiple dimensions of dreaming latent within the human mind.

Memory for Chaos

By Fernand Gobet, Ph.D., and Morgan H. Ereku on November 09, 2016 in Inside Expertise
A hallmark of experts is that they recall domain-specific meaningful material better than non-experts. A new study shows that this superiority extends to meaningless material.

Harvard Study Decrypts the Ancient Mystery of Consciousness

By Christopher Bergland on November 05, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
In a groundbreaking new study, neuroscientists at Harvard Medical School may have unearthed the seat of human consciousness.