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Unconscious Mental Life


Unconscious mental life consists of mental states - percepts, memories, and the like which influence conscious experience, thought, and action outside of phenomenal awareness and voluntary control. Automatic processes, for example, appear to operate unconsciously in this sense. In addition, dissociations between explicit and implicit memory, as in various forms of amnesia, indicate that subjects can be influenced by memories that they cannot consciously remember. The explicit-implicit distinction has been extended to various other psychological domains, including perception ('subliminal' perception, inattentional blindness, and attentional blindness), learning, and thinking. In principle, it can also be extended beyond cognition to motivation and emotion. In each case, subjects show the influence of mental states of which they are not consciously aware.

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