What most of us still call ‘our conscious thoughts’ are really like dolphins in our mind, jumping briefly out of the ocean of our unconscious for a short period before they submerge themselves once again. This ‘dolphin model of cognition’ helps us to understand the limits of our awareness. For example, the windows of time in which these leaps into consciousness unfold (as well as subsequent ‘underwater’ processing) vary hugely. And similar to the way that dolphins break the surface of the water, thoughts often cross the border between conscious and unconscious processing, and in both directions.

    The point is that the mental contents available to us via introspection are nothing more than momentary flashes of automatic cognitive processing, grinding away beneath the waves of our awareness most of the time. This raises a strange question: who is the ‘us’, standing at the prow and watching these dolphin-thoughts scoot past?

posted by orbat: 210 days ago