In spite of extensive research on theory of mind, lay theories about the unconscious have scarcely been investigated. Three questionnaire studies totaling 689 participants, examined to what extent they thought that a range of psychological processes could be unconscious. It was found that people are less willing to countenance unconscious processes in themselves than in others, regardless of the time period considered - present, past or future. This is especially true when specific experience-like situations are envisioned, as opposed to considering the question in abstract or generic terms. In addition, the notion of unconscious psychological processes is resisted for certain domains in particular: intending, sensing, believing, and thinking. We interpret this pattern by positing the existence of two conceptions about the unconscious that are differentially applied according to circumstances: one originating in prevalent social representations about the unconscious, the other based on self-model of the person as an intentional actor.
- Lay theories
- Social representations
- Theory of mind
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology