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Alternatives to Cognition by Christina Lee

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Chapter 5

Unconscious Cognition: Elaboration of Ideas to Shore Up a Failing Paradigm

Most, if not all, of our currently held ideas and theories about mental processes are wrong.

—Tulving (1985, p. 386)

The earlier chapters of this book have illustrated some of the problems that arise from an assumption that all human behavior is the result of conscious or at least reportable thought. In this chapter, I examine the concept of unconscious cognition, a concept that has been argued to provide a solution to these problems. But this, too, provides only an illusion of explanation.

The evidence that conscious thought does not control all human action is incontrovertible (e.g., Jacoby, Toth, Lindsay, & Debner, 1992). As Bruner (1992) pointed out, most ...

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