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Comparing The Unconscious And Consciousness Essay

2057 words - 8 pages

Comparing the Unconscious and Consciousness

Consciousness and unconscious are two psychological terms that are commonly used in this field of study. Their importances mainly appear when psychologists deal with their patients because they will surely think about these two terms. To understand these two terms we must know their definitions. This step can enable us to recognize the difference between them.

Consciousness is a psychological condition defined by the English philosopher John Locke as "the perception of what passes in a man's own mind." While unconscious in psychology is the aspect of mental life that is separated from immediate consciousness and is not subject to recall at will.
The history of consciousness is interesting because it was recently known just in the early 19th century the concept was variously considered. Some philosophers regarded it as a kind of substance, or "mental stuff," quite different from the material substance of the physical world. Others thought of it as an attribute characterized by sensation and voluntary movement, which separated animals and men from lower forms of life and also described the difference between the normal waking state of animals and men and their condition when asleep, in a coma, or under anesthesia, the latter condition was described as unconsciousness. Other descriptions included an analysis of consciousness as a form of relationship or act of the mind toward objects in nature, and a view that consciousness was a continuous field or stream of essentially mental "sense data," roughly similar to the "ideas" of earlier empirical philosophers.

The method employed by most early writers in observing consciousness was introspection looking within one's own mind to discover the laws of its operation. The limitations of the method became apparent when it was found that because of differing preconceptions, trained observers in the laboratory often could not agree on fundamental observations.

The failure of introspection to reveal consistent laws led to the rejection of all mental states as proper subjects of scientific study. In behaviorist psychology, derived primarily from work of the American psychologist John B. Watson in the early 1900s, the concept of consciousness was irrelevant to the objective investigation of human behavior and was doctrinally ignored in research. Neobehaviourists, however, adopted a more liberal posture toward mentalistic states such as consciousness.

Neurophysiological mechanisms that consciousness depends on the function of the brain has been known from ancient times. Although detailed understanding of the neural mechanisms of consciousness has not been achieved, correlations between states of consciousness and functions of the brain are possible. Levels of consciousness in terms of levels of alertness or responsiveness are correlated with patterns of electrical activity of the brain waves recorded by an electroencephalograph....

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