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consciousness

consciousness, in psychology, a term commonly used to indicate a state of awareness of self and environment. In Freudian psychology, conscious behavior largely includes cognitive processes of the ego, such as thinking, perception, and planning, as well as some aspects of the superego, such as moral conscience. Some psychologists deny the distinction between conscious and unconscious behavior; others use the term consciousness to indicate all the activities of an individual that constitute the personality. In recent years, neuropsychologists have begun to investigate the links between consciousness and memory, as well as altered states of consciousness such as the dream state. See also defense mechanism; psychoanalysis.

See D. C. Dennett, Consciousness Explained (1991); A. Damasto, The Feeling of What Happens (1999); S. Blackmore, Consciousness: A Very Short Introduction (2005); C. S. Hill, Consciousness (2009); D. J. Chalmers, The Character of Consciousness (2010).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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