Introduction: Becoming Aware of the New Unconscious

James S. Uleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the past decade or two, a new picture of unconscious processes has emerged from a variety of disciplines that are broadly part of cognitive science. Unconscious processes seem to be capable of doing many things that were, not so long ago, thought of as requiring mental resources and conscious processes. These range from complex information processing through behavior to goal pursuit and self-regulation. Much has changed since John F. Kihlstrom's (1987) description of the "cognitive unconscious." In his influential essay, Kihlstrom describes the ways in which the computer as metaphor formed the basis for increasingly complex conceptions of human mental processes. To prove his point, Kihlstrom reviewed research on automatic processes, subliminal perception, implicit memory, and hypnosis. He concluded that "conscious awareness is not necessary for complex psychological functioning." That is, the cognitive revolution in psychology and the development of cognitive science across disciplines (includinganthropology, computer science, linguistics, and philosophy) had discovered a great deal about complex unconscious mental phenomena and provided rigorous methods for studying them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Mar 22 2012


  • Cognitive science
  • Cognitive unconscious
  • Computer
  • Hypnosis
  • Implicit memory
  • Information processing
  • John F. Kihlstrom
  • Self-regulation
  • Subliminal perception
  • Unconscious processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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