Implicit Cognitions in Awareness: Three Empirical Examples and Implications for Conscious Identity

Abstract

Across psychological science the prevailing view of mental events includes unconscious mental representations that result from a separate implicit system outside of awareness. Recently, scientific interest in consciousness of self and the wide-spread application of mindfulness practice have made necessary innovative methods of assessing awareness during cognitive tasks and validating those assessments wherever they are researched. Studies from three areas of psychology, self-esteem, sustainability thinking, and the learning of control systems questioned the unconscious status of implicit cognitions. The studies replicated published methods of investigating (a) the Name-letter effect, (b) implicit attitudes using IAT, and (c) unselective learning of a control task. In addition, a common analytic method of awareness assessment validation was used. In Study 1, the famous Name-letter effect in 191 university students was predicted by the validity of reported awareness of preference reasons. In Study 2, 44 participants self-reported hesitations and trial difficulty predicted IAT scores for sustainability attitudes. Study 3 demonstrated the control performance of 96 participants was predicted by the validity of the rules in awareness they reported. In all three studies the prediction functions did not produce significant residual error. The repeated finding that self-knowledge in awareness predicted what should be cognitions outside of awareness, according to the dual processing view, suggests an alternative model of implicit mental events in which associative relations evoke conscious symbolic representations. The analytic method of validating phenomenal reports will be discussed along with its potential contribution to research involving implicit cognitions.



Author Information
Thomas Wilson, Bellarmine University, United States

Paper Information
Conference: ECP2017
Stream: Qualitative/Quantitative Research in any other area of Psychology

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