Sigmund Freud and the Cognitive Unconscious


According to the cutting-edge article, papers authored by Professor Tauber has presented well-documented discussions about the cognitive unconscious. Most of these discussions do not encompass the unconscious mind about Freud, but a small portion includes Freudian unconscious mind. For the later part, the immediate question, which pops up in mind is the link between the Freudian unconscious and cognitive unconscious mind. This article would be concentrating on exploring these hyperlinks between the two.

Description and Defining the Unconscious Mind

Tauber has discussed some of the ways of description and defining the unconscious mind by way of Freud as every mental activity, and thought comes under the category of the unconscious mind, which are not conscious. The initial Topographical model presented by Freud clarified the unconscious as systems UCs and established its associations with other two systems, which are systems Pcs (Preconscious) and Cs (Conscious). While, in his second structural model, the black hole model Ucs has to be caste aside because the elements of the new model, namely, id, ego, superego, all had dimensions of unconscious mind and this model made the unconscious mind more descriptive than before. Another aspect of differentiation between the conscious and unconscious mind, which Freud considered, was that the conscious mind involved secondary thinking process and the unconscious mind involved primary thinking process. This difference between both remained practical and applicable in both topographical and structural models. The primary process of thinking involved acceptance and impermanence of contradictions and processes like condensation and displacement as if this thought process refers to an exceptional and distinctive way of unconscious thought process. On the other hand, the secondary thought process is the normal one which refers to the logical and lengthy thoughts. According to Freud, only the conscious thoughts are verbal while the unconscious thoughts are not. The polarization of primary and secondary thought processes cannot be matched in equal terms with the concept of polarization of unconscious/id thoughts and conscious/rational thoughts presented by Tauber. Suzanne Langer and Ernst Cassirer termed the primary thought process as the informal and mythological thought process, and it only becomes illogical when it is viewed using narrow perspectives of secondary thought process.

Freud's Theoretical and Clinical Perspectives

To approach unconscious mind from Freud's theories, the theoretical and clinical Freud needs to be differentiated. Theoretically, Freud has uncontrollably tried to establish and explain the theory of mind while clinically, Freud struggled to present a concept of the unconscious through which we can easily comprehend not only the normal dreams but also the clinical symptoms of psychological disorders. This difference of theoretical and clinical was initially recognized by George Kline, and he referred this to Metapsychology and Clinical theory. Both of these are highly connected to each other and Freud himself did not differentiate these.

Analysis by Tauber

Analysis conducted by Tauber is so much relevant to this distinction which initiates and differentiates between conscious and unconscious mind, with conscious as rational, self, normative and moral while unconscious as irrational, other, and amoral. According to Tauber, the division between the conscious and unconscious mind does not necessarily need to be the ultimate one because the cognitive science has shown that there is a cooperation between cognitive conscious and unconscious and Freudian unconscious assimilates into a bigger cognitive unconscious. Tauber has emphasized the importance of ego and how it work unconsciously to manage and perform infinite functions, besides controlling the id. According to Tauber, "Indeed, if we regard Freudianism without Oedipus (i.e., a theory of unconscious intention absent repression or sexual neuroses) as fundamentally a conception of the mind characterized by a spectrum of conscious and unconscious thought, then the basic dynamics Freud described have been amply demonstrated by contemporary experimental studies (Tauber 2013, 234)."

Understanding Cognitive Unconscious

This gives rise to the query that does cognitive conscious include the fundamental dynamics of Freudian theories. Although huge elements of metapsychology are not needed for the working principles of avoidance and unawareness conflicts, mental or psychic conflicts, work on the conflicts and get advantages through acknowledgments, and an inclination to revive the conflicts with the therapist during the therapy, but a sense of unconscious is needed. This is because to explain that a client might remain unaware of the conflicts represented by his symptoms.


The unconscious opens up possibilities about psychoanalytic knowledge and the issue with cognitive unconscious of Tauber, and other psychologists are that they do not cover clinical unconscious presented by Freud. In short, the article presents the results of cognitive science about the unconscious mental states. Tauber has also emphasized on the similarities between results obtained by cognitive science and Freud's work on ego psychology.

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