Our Identity Is Mostly Based on Unconscious Brain Processes

It is amazing to think that our identities are almost entirely based of processes from our mind that happen subconsciously. Most of us believe that those beliefs we hold dearly, and the ensuing opinions we have, and the emotions we experience from them have come about from lots of thought over a long period of time. Perhaps we believe that over time our thoughts have matured and synthesized based on a lifetime of experiences and interactions with the world around us – and that this influences the way we respond to thing today and the decisions we make. Thought gurus refer to this as the top-down method of executive control. And it is not just everyday people who think in this manner, scholars and scientists think this way too.

Different Types of Consciousness

Researchers and scientists have always seen human consciousness as something this is comprised of two distinct phenomena. The first of these is the consciousness that we are experiencing from any one minute to the next. This is knowing who we are and where we exist in the world. It also means have the capability to evaluate objects, and to measure the opportunities and threats that occur around us. The second of these happened to our thoughts, our feelings, our impressions, our intentions, and even our memories. So this is where things become somewhat different to common beliefs, a new report that was posted in the Frontiers of Psychology says that all our thoughts and our feelings are created from unconscious mechanisms that lie behind our ordinary logical thoughts.

Processes of Consciousness are Actually Reversed

It is not that we reach conclusions about things as we simply become aware of how they make us feel about them. Scientists are now saying that these “contents of consciousness” are totally unrelated to our “experience of consciousness.” These contents of consciousness come from “non-conscious brain systems.” These researchers have indicated that “personal awareness is analogous to the rainbow which accompanies physical processes in the atmosphere but exerts no influence over them.”

Authors of this new study claim that the unconscious systems are actually creating the contents of our consciousness using what they are calling a “continuous self-referential personal narrative.” This means that our thoughts, our feelings, and our emotions are actually created “behind the scenes.” It seems that these processes are extremely fast and very efficient, as you might imagine them to be. Our very survival depends upon them.

So this brings up the question about how this affects the personal narrative we all experience? Researchers claim that this is simply the accumulation of all the things we have learned and the impressions we have experienced. And this information is being updated constantly as we experience new things daily. This personal narrative is very vital as it is the thing that allows us to interact with other human beings and understand them, and it also lets us bond with them too. These are the things that help create and promote activities for the common good of society.

It is interesting as to how did these new ideas were discovered by researchers. They examined past studies about hypnosis, particularly those that were used for the treatment of various neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric disorders. These studies consistently reveal how people alter their thoughts, their moods, and their perceptions, when they were experiencing highly suggestive states. There was one study where volunteers were raising their hands even before they told their brains to do so, just as if it were completely unintentional. Researchers had wondered if aliens were commanding them to do so.

What is interesting is they recorded brain activities of the participants while they were under hypnosis. So after this the question was asked how responsible people are for their own behavior, and how much of their behavior is out of their conscious control? The two scientists making this discovery are David Oakley, who is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at UCL, located in England and Peter Halligan, who is a Professor of Neuropsychology from Cardiff University, in Wales.