Implicit cognitions in awareness: Three empirical examples and implications for conscious identity.




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The International Academic Forum



Peer reviewed



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 widespread 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 results using methods of investigating (a) unselective learning of a control task (b) implicit attitudes using IAT, and (c) the Name-letter effect. In addition, a common analytic method of awareness assessment and its validation was used. Study 1 demonstrated that learned control of a dynamic system was predicted by the validity of rules of control in awareness. In Study 2, verbal reports of hesitations and trial difficulty predicted IAT scores for 34 participants’ environmental attitudes. In Study 3, the famous Name-letter effect was predicted by the validity of university students’ reported awareness of letter preference reasons. 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.


open access


consciousness, implicit attitudes, implicit learning, implicit self-esteem


Wilson, T. L. (2017) Implicit cognitions in awareness: Three empirical examples and implications for conscious identity. Proceedings of the European Conference on Psychology and Behavioral Science, Brighton, UK, July 2017, pp.15-26.


Research Institute

Institute for Psychological Science