Chapter 1: Thinking Without Awareness

“How much do we know at any time?
Much more, or so I believe, than we know we know!”
~Agatha Christie, The Moving Finger

Has anyone ever told you that “you are amazing”? Well, you are. You process vast amounts of information off screen. You effortlessly delegate most of your thinking and decision making to the masses of cognitive workers busily at work in your mind’s basement. Only the really important mental tasks reach the executive desk, where your conscious mind works. When you are asked, “What are you thinking?” your mental CEO answers, speaking of worries, hopes, plans, and questions, mindless of all the lower-floor laborers.

This big idea of contemporary psychological science—that most of our everyday thinking, feeling, and acting operate outside conscious awareness—“is a difficult one for people to accept,” report John Bargh and Tanya Chartrand, psychologists at New York University. Our consciousness is biased to think that its own intentions and deliberate choices rule our lives (understandably, since tip-of-the-iceberg consciousness is mostly aware of its visible self). But consciousness overrates its own control….

Chapter Contents

Introduction to the Automaticity of Being
Children’s Intuitive Learning
Left Brain/Right Brain
Implicit Memory
Knowing Without Awareness
Two Ways of Knowing

Links to other websites about thinking without awareness: