Articles

The cognitive unconscious

Science  18 Sep 1987:
Vol. 237, Issue 4821, pp. 1445-1452
DOI: 10.1126/science.3629249

Abstract

Contemporary research in cognitive psychology reveals the impact of nonconscious mental structures and processes on the individual's conscious experience, thought, and action. Research on perceptual-cognitive and motoric skills indicates that they are automatized through experience, and thus rendered unconscious. In addition, research on subliminal perception, implicit memory, and hypnosis indicates that events can affect mental functions even though they cannot be consciously perceived or remembered. These findings suggest a tripartite division of the cognitive unconscious into truly unconscious mental processes operating on knowledge structures that may themselves be preconscious or subconscious.

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