Re: Unconscious Processes Vs. Unconscious Mind

From: Cooke, Alex (
Date: Thu May 23 1996 - 19:16:37 BST

What Evidence is there for the Existence of Unconscious

The best evidence for unconscious perception is the difference in
conscious and unconscious perceptual processes. Firstly, experiments to
show Affective Reactions can be done, where the affective reactions are
most likely to be influenced by unconscious perception stimuli than
conscious perception stimuli. For example, if we were to take arbitrary
symbols, for example Chinese characters, and show them to two sample
groups, and then follow each of these symbols with a face depicting
either happiness (smiling), or sadness (crying); however the first
group will only be shown the face for a very short time, i.e. a
microsecond, so that they will only perceive the face unconsciously,
but to the second group, show the faces for much longer, i.e. a second,
so that they can consciously perceive the face. Then when shown the
arbitrary symbols again and asked whether they thought the symbol
represented good or bad, those who had unconsciously perceived the
faces, rated the symbols followed by happy faces as good, and sad faces
as bad, while those who consciously perceived the faces randomly rated
them. Another experiment that shows evidence for unconscious perception
would be to show that unconsciously perceived words are coded
differently to consciously perceived words. This can be done by showing
a target word to one sample so that it is unconsciously perceived (as
above), and to a second sample so that it is consciously perceived. The
whole sample is then shown a matrix containing 24 words, but not the
target word, and asked to identify the target word. The matrix does
however contain a structurally similar word and a semantically similar
word. Those who unconsciously perceived the word chose the semantically
similar word, while those who had consciously perceived the word chose
the structurally similar word.

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