Sunday, May 15, 2011

Evidence for the unconscious

People have been trying to find evidence for the unconscious mind for centuries. Sigmund Freud got famous by promoting bogus theories about the unconscious. Julian Jaynes theorized about ancient men hearing the voices of gods in their unconscious minds.

Now psychologists claim to have new evidence:
Now, new research by four Israeli psychologists—Liad Mudrik and Dominique Lamy of Tel Aviv University, and Assaf Breska and Leon Y. Deouell of Hebrew University of Jerusalem—suggests that scientists have been underestimating the abilities of the unconscious mind. “Integration can happen even when we’re unaware of the stimulus,” says Mudrik. “Unconscious processes are much more sophisticated and deeper than was previously believed.” ...

To test this idea, the researchers put their subjects—18 men and women with normal vision—before a stereoscope, which allows stimuli to be introduced to each eye separately. ...

The incongruent scenes broke through the visual noise and came into awareness significantly faster than the congruent ones.
This seems to be nothing more than the trivial observation that it takes more time to recognize an unfamiliar scene.

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