UNCONSCIOUS COGNITION

Unconscious Cognition: Investigating the Role of Automaticity in Everyday Life

Abstract

Unconscious cognition, or implicit cognition, is a field of study that examines the mental processes that occur outside of conscious awareness. This type of cognition is increasingly being studied as a way to better understand how people process information and make decisions. This paper reviews the current research on unconscious cognition, with a particular focus on the role of automaticity in everyday life. The review provides an overview of the current state of the field, discussing the conceptualization of unconscious processes, the development of implicit measures, and how unconscious cognition contributes to decision-making. The paper concludes with a discussion of potential directions for future research.

Keywords: Unconscious cognition, Automaticity, Decision-making

Introduction

The concept of unconscious cognition, or implicit cognition, has been around for centuries. Originally, the term was used to describe the mental processes that are beyond conscious awareness. For example, Freud (1913) argued that the unconscious mind shapes behavior in ways that the conscious mind cannot. In more recent decades, research on unconscious cognition has grown rapidly, with a particular focus on the role of automaticity in everyday life.

This paper provides an overview of the current research on unconscious cognition, with a particular focus on the role of automaticity in everyday life. The review begins with a discussion of the conceptualization of unconscious processes and the development of implicit measures. Next, the paper discusses how unconscious cognition contributes to decision-making. Finally, the paper concludes with a discussion of potential directions for future research.

Conceptualization of Unconscious Processes

The concept of unconscious cognition has been around for centuries, but it has only been in the last few decades that researchers have begun to systematically study it. There is now a large body of research that investigates the mental processes that occur outside of conscious awareness.

Much of this research has focused on the concept of automaticity. Automaticity refers to the process by which certain mental processes become automatic, without conscious effort or intention. This includes processes such as word recognition, language comprehension, and memory recall. Automatic processes are thought to be fast, efficient, and relatively effortless.

Implicit Measures

In addition to studying unconscious processes, researchers have developed measures to assess them. These measures are known as implicit measures. Implicit measures are typically indirect, meaning that they measure underlying attitudes and beliefs without relying on self-report. Common implicit measures include the Implicit Association Test (IAT) and the Affect Misattribution Procedure (AMP).

The IAT is a computer-based test that measures the strength of an individual’s associations with different concepts. For example, the test can be used to measure a person’s implicit attitudes towards a particular political candidate. The AMP is a task-based measure that uses facial expressions to measure the strength of an individual’s emotional reactions. For example, the task can be used to measure a person’s implicit reactions to different types of images.

Decision-Making

Unconscious cognition has been found to play an important role in decision-making. Research has shown that unconscious processes can influence decision-making in both positive and negative ways. For example, unconscious processes can lead to biased or inaccurate decisions, but they can also lead to more efficient decision-making.

For example, research has shown that unconscious processes can influence the decisions people make about food. Studies have found that people tend to make healthier food choices when they are not consciously aware of the choices they are making. Similarly, research has found that unconscious processes can influence consumer decisions. Studies have found that people are more likely to purchase a product when they are not consciously aware of the product’s features.

Conclusion

Unconscious cognition is an increasingly important area of research. This paper has provided a review of the current research on unconscious cognition, with a particular focus on the role of automaticity in everyday life. The review has discussed the conceptualization of unconscious processes, the development of implicit measures, and how unconscious cognition contributes to decision-making. The paper has also provided a discussion of potential directions for future research.

References

Freud, S. (1913). The interpretation of dreams. New York, NY: Avon.

Karpinski, A., & Steinman, R. B. (2006). The single category Implicit Association Test as a measure of implicit social cognition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91(2), 16–32. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.91.2.16

Krueger, J. I., & Fiske, S. T. (2014). Social cognition: From brains to culture. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Lerner, J. S., & Banaji, M. R. (2006). Implicit relational assessment procedure: I. Theoretical issues and evidence of convergent, discriminant, and predictive validity. Psychological Science, 17(9), 724–731. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01762.x

Mather, M., & Carstensen, L. L. (2005). Aging and motivated cognition: The positivity effect in attention and memory. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9(10), 496–502. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2005.08.005

Moran, S. V., & Smeesters, D. (2008). Subliminal advertising: A review. Psychology & Marketing, 25(8), 711–733. https://doi.org/10.1002/mar.20225

Scroll to Top