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The New Unconscious$
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Ran R. Hassin, James S. Uleman, and John A. Bargh

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195307696

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195307696.001.0001

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Nonconscious Control and Implicit Working Memory

Nonconscious Control and Implicit Working Memory

(p.196) 8 Nonconscious Control and Implicit Working Memory
The New Unconscious

Ran R. Hassin

Oxford University Press

The empirical examination of the capacities and capabilities of the cognitive unconscious creates an ongoing debate, partly because each new piece of evidence may carry far-reaching implications for our understanding of consciousness, or, more generally, for our views on what is it like to be human. This chapter examines working memory (WM) and controlled processes, which—unlike their longtime companions, the automatic processes—are exclusively associated with conscious processing. The main purpose of this chapter is to advance the argument for nonconscious control and nonconscious controlled processes. First, it presents systematic data which show that WM can operate outside of conscious awareness. Second, it reviews recent findings in social cognition and shows how they suggest that motivational aspects of WM can flexibly control behavior outside of conscious awareness. Last, it presents a conceptual analysis that starts by pointing out that the notion of control is used in more than one sense. Importantly, once the meanings of control are un-confounded, the relations of conscious awareness and cognitive control become a matter of empirical inquiry.

Keywords:   cognitive unconscious, consciousness, working memory, controlled processes, nonconscious control, conscious awareness, social cognition, cognitive control

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