Learning Objectives

  • Understand the logic underlying the assumption that unconscious processes are important.
  • Obtain a basic understanding of some important historical thoughts about unconscious processes.
  • Learn about some of the important psychological experiments on the unconscious.
  • Appreciate the distinction between consciousness and attention.

Have you ever grabbed a candy bar, chewing gum or a magazine as you purchased your

groceries? These well-known “impulse buys” raise an intriguing question: what is really driving your decisions? While, on the one hand, you might argue that it is your conscious mind that decides what you buy, what you eat and what you read. On the other hand you’d probably have to admit that those celebrity magazines and salted chocolates weren’t actually on your shopping list with the eggs and the bread. So where did the desire to purchase them come from? As we will see in this module, there are a number of forces that operate on your thinking and decisions that you might not even be aware of; all of them being processed by the unconscious.


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UPEI Introduction to Psychology 1 Copyright © by Philip Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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