The nature of the human mind has been a controversial subject among psychologist and scientists. It has baffled many especially on how it works on some particular extreme cases that seem to be out of the normal ranges of human knowledge. The unconscious and the conscious minds have been claimed to function independently. Christopher Bergland ( 20th March, 2014), offered new insights on the workings of the unconscious and conscious mind.
I agree on the assertion that the brain has both implicit and explicit systems. The implicit system makes implicit learning possible. This type of learning is automatic and happens unconsciously through continued practice and conditioning. The explicit side requires the brain be active and conscious to grasp specific procedures and knowledge that can be remembered and articulated. Both allows the people to form opinions, perceptions as well as create interactions with the people and the environment.
The implicit learning requires one to repeat an activity over a period to grasp it. The learned activity repeats itself automatically such that one can do it without paying attention. For example, one can learn to ride a bicycle, tying shoelaces or serving a tennis ball. After several attempts of performing these activities, the brain becomes accustomed to the activity and hence can replicate them unconsciously, i.e. one may not require thinking actively about the activities yet doing them correctly. Explicit active require active attention like telling one’s phone number.
This is evidenced by the recent research by the American society of Anesthesiologist (ASA) who established that rats could remember odors exposed to them while deeply anesthetized. This indicated that even when one is not conscious, the brain does not stop learning. The unconscious part, herein referred to as implicit system as earlier indicated is able to continuously learn and replicate the activities later. This finding confirms what the Journal of Neuroscience that found out that the cerebellum plays an active role in human olfaction. The human brain receives and registers information while under anesthesia.
David Smith, 2014, offered more evidence of the existence of two cognitive systems with implications on child development and cognitive aging. Smith agrees that repetition of an activity leads to learning and replication without an active mind. Smith was able to unplug one system; the unconscious brain leading to those who had been incapacitated turning to conscious learning that was in futility. This clearly indicated the presence of the two brain systems. Scientists at Umeå University and Karolinska Institutet found in Finland established a close relationship between the conscious and unconscious mind. They found that induced out-of-body state disrupted explicit memories. Patient N.M had had Hippocampus removed accidentally but he was able to learn puzzles and other implicit skills.
These results agree with Sigmund Freud’s description of the brain. Freud divided the mind in to two; the conscious part that he called ego and the unconscious section comprising of the id and the super ego. His theory described unconscious as the mental processes that the individuals do unaware. He further held that there are messages held in the unconscious mind with both actual and symbolic significance. He believed that that the unconscious mid held socially unacceptable desires, wishes and suppressed traumatic memories and painful memories. However, the stored messages do not have to be negative.
However, Freud arranges the brain hierarchically and vertically; conscious mind, preconscious, and the unconscious mind. He divides the unconscious mind into id and super ego. He also asserts that the conscious mind works to suppress the unconscious mind and can only be interpreted through free will and meditation.
Although there is enough evidence of the two system of the brain, there is no enough data on the implicit part to make definite conclusions. Further research is thus necessary.
Christopher Bergland. New Clues on the Inner Workings of the Unconscious Mind. 20th March, 2014