Skip to main content
Select Source:

Subconscious

SUBCONSCIOUS

A term that appears rather frequently in the psychological literature of the late 19th century, especially in France, the "subconscious" was used to designate a mental state that is subliminal, diminished, or weak and obscure; in terms of conscious thought it implied a difference a degree not of kind. "Judgment and reasoning, whether conscious, subconscious, or unconscious, remain the same, except for a difference in the degree of clarity of the representation," wrote Théodule Ribot in La Logique des sentiments (1905, p. 80).

The subconscious was most clearly delineated in the work of Pierre Janet. In Automatisme psychologique (1889), he posited two contrasting forms of mental activity, automatism and synthesis. The former corresponded to the primal and archaic; the latter, to creativity and higher levels of consciousness. On the basis of experimental work with hysterics, Janet demonstrated that in morbid states, due to a diminished field of consciousness, automatism took precedence over the activity of synthesis.

Janet essentially identified the subconscious with psychic automatism and, in hysteria, he hypothesized profound dissociation and splitting of the personality. He was influenced by the work of Frederick Myers, the British psychical researcher, and the work of American physician Morton Prince on dual and multiple personalities; he also took into account earlier investigations by Jean-Jacques Moreau de Tours on hashish intoxication.

In his early writings, including Studies on Hysteria (1895d), Sigmund Freud used "subconscious" as more or less equivalent to "unconscious" but he soon abandoned the former and disapproved of usage that conflated the two terms. He characterized the unconscious as actively associated with intrapsychic conflict while viewing Janet's subconscious as passive and associated with psychological and physiological weakness. To Janet's "dissociation" he opposed the concept of repression and the psychological duality of separate domains of conscious and unconscious mental functioning.

Annick Ohayon

See also: Flournoy, Théodore; France; Great Britain; Janet, Pierre.

Bibliography

Freud, Sigmund, and Breuer, Josef. (1895d). Studies on hysteria. SE,2.

Janet, Pierre. (1889). L 'Automatisme psychologique: essai de psychologie expérimentale sur les formes inférieures de la vie mentale (thesis). Paris: Felix Alcan.

. (1937). Les troubles de la personnalité sociale. Annales médico-psychologiques.

Ribot, Théodule. (1905). La logique des sentiments. Paris: Alcan.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Subconscious." International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Subconscious." International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/psychology/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/subconscious

"Subconscious." International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis. . Retrieved July 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/psychology/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/subconscious

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Subconscious

Subconscious

A term used by some to describe a segment of the mind below the threshold of consciousness and by others as a collective name for mental phenomena dissociated from those directly or introspectively cognized. F. W. H. Myers, an early and prominent psychical researcher, ascribed various supernormal faculties to it. During the early twentieth century, theories involving such faculties eliminated for many any need to appeal to spirit agencies. Others, however, pointed to the subconscious as a means to reconcile mental activity with spirit agencies. The subconscious may beas J. H. Hyslop pointed outthe very instrument for receiving and transmitting foreign transcendental stimuli, to which, on favorable occasions, it becomes sensitive.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Subconscious." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Subconscious." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/subconscious

"Subconscious." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . Retrieved July 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/subconscious

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

subconscious

sub·con·scious / səbˈkänshəs/ • adj. of or concerning the part of the mind of which one is not fully aware but which influences one's actions and feelings: my subconscious fear. • n. (one's/the subconscious) this part of the mind (not in technical use in psychoanalysis, where unconscious is preferred). DERIVATIVES: sub·con·scious·ly adv. sub·con·scious·ness n.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"subconscious." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"subconscious." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/subconscious-0

"subconscious." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved July 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/subconscious-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

subconscious

subconscious (sub-kon-shŭs) adj. (in psychoanalysis) denoting the part of the mind that includes memories, motives, and intentions that are momentarily not present in consciousness but can more or less readily be recalled to awareness. Compare unconscious.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"subconscious." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"subconscious." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/caregiving/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/subconscious

"subconscious." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Retrieved July 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/caregiving/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/subconscious

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

subconscious

subconscious: see unconscious.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"subconscious." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"subconscious." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/subconscious

"subconscious." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved July 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/subconscious

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

subconscious

subconscious XIX. See SUB- 5.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"subconscious." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"subconscious." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/subconscious-1

"subconscious." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved July 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/subconscious-1

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

subconscious

subconsciousfactious, fractious •anxious • captious •precious, semi-precious •infectious •conscientious, contentious, licentious, pretentious, sententious, tendentious •Athanasius, audacious, bodacious, cactaceous, capacious, carbonaceous, contumacious, Cretaceous, curvaceous, disputatious, edacious, efficacious, fallacious, farinaceous, flirtatious, foliaceous, fugacious, gracious, hellacious, herbaceous, Ignatius, loquacious, mendacious, mordacious, ostentatious, perspicacious, pertinacious, pugnacious, rapacious, sagacious, salacious, saponaceous, sebaceous, sequacious, setaceous, spacious, tenacious, veracious, vexatious, vivacious, voracious •facetious, Lucretius, specious •adventitious, Aloysius, ambitious, auspicious, avaricious, capricious, conspicuous, delicious, expeditious, factitious, fictitious, flagitious, judicious, lubricious, malicious, Mauritius, meretricious, nutritious, officious, pernicious, propitious, repetitious, seditious, siliceous, superstitious, suppositious, surreptitious, suspicious, vicious •noxious, obnoxious •conscious, subconscious, unselfconscious •cautious, tortious •atrocious, ferocious, precocious •Confucius • luscious •bumptious, scrumptious •compunctious, rambunctious

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"subconscious." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"subconscious." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/subconscious

"subconscious." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved July 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/subconscious

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.