link between subconscious and conscious

when i observe things in the world, and i make a decision to move my muscles a certain way, thats my conscious. i feel like the thing that makes my conscious conscious is the fact that i can observe the world. i see my subconscious as the power generator humming under the hood that just does stuff in the background and cant see with my eyes because they are busy being used by my conscious.

it just plain seems that the subconscious should not be able to understand sensory information since i tried so ahrd all my life to learn what the sensory information means and how to react to it consciously. how did the subconscious learn to pump adrenaline when i read something?

if i get a package and i open it up and read a letter, then i am using my conscious abilities that i have learned over the years to form conscious ideas and consciously make decisions based on that.

heres the question: if the letter says “the package contains a bomb that will now detonate” how does my unconscious mind ‘read’ that letter and know to pump me full of adrenaline?

is there a little man who is also conscious inside me? like the guy who plays the ass of the horse costume? cause i didnt make the conscious decision to pump adrenaline after reading the letter. but somebody knew how to read and also knew how to pump adrenaline. my pituitary gland cant read. only my special conscious human-only mind can read.

is the subconscious nothing but chemical triggers?

Future Man wrote:

What you are referring to as conscious abilities stem from your subconscious. The reason you are able to read that letter and form a conscious thought about it is because of all the environmental stimuli you have experienced in your lifetime. Those experiences are embedded in your subconscious, yielding you to compare that with what you have already have experienced(could have been years and years ago), with what you are seeing at the moment; its how we process information. The older you get, the quicker you are at being able to process information, simply because you have more to relate to. You kind of have the right idea, but you arent giving any credit to your subconscious. Those conscious ideas you are holding arent always conscious, when they are latent, they are stored in the subconscious until they need to become conscious thoughts.

Now to address your questions. For the first one, your subconscious has learned through environmental stimuli that the words “a bomb that will now detonate” means panic. Someone else may not have the same emotion to this letter. In order for an emotion to occur, a physical arousal must occur 1st. If you really think about it, most emotions have the same physical arousal that occurs. Adrenaline pumping, sweating, increased heart rate. etc. What happens is that the arousal is a cue to look around your environment for a cause, once this cause has been found we interpret the cause(whether its the true cause, or what we just think to be the true cause) to be the reason for the emotion, and react accordingly. When you read that letter, the only reason you experience an emotion is because you have preconcieved notions about bombs. Your subconscious has been taught through experience that bombs hurt and kill people. So the sequence goes like this: You read the letter, your subconscious unconscious to you sends the adrenaline rushing, because it knows bombs kill, and you consciously think that since your adrenaline is pumping and all that good stuff that you must be experiencing an emotion, you realize the that the words on the letter more than likely caused this, so you experience PANIC. I hope that makes since. And I hope it answered your question.

“Subconscious,” as a psychologically defined thing, is completely different from what you’re talking about. You seem to be talking about reflexes and the backbrain or brainstem or in some cases the spinal cord. It’s not the “subconscious” that gives you a heart-pumping fight-or-flight reaction when you are scared shitless, it is the cooperation between your conscious mind, which has the emotion of being scared shitless, and your brain, which jacks up the adrenaline when you are scared shitless. If this is not per se a conscious reaction, neither is it one driven by the part of one’s mind defined in the jargon as “subconscious.”

I’m taking the “subconscious” here to be the pseudo-Freudian entity responsible for the content of your dreams and such. Perhaps this is the part of your mind which is “housed” in the part of your brain responsible for handling adrenaline and reflexes and such; but I’m not aware that we can call that biological mechanism part of the “subconscious.”

Note to people who actually specialize in psychology: if I have grossly misrepresented your field and its objects, I apologize; this is, however, my understanding of the concepts at work.

Okay Mr. Zen, would you not agree that you have thoughts that you dont know about? You do without thinking on some occasions? Its called automaticity and it occurs because of our previous interactions with information. Psychology defines the subconscious as existing in the mind but not immediately available to consciousness : affecting thought, feeling, and behavior without entering awareness. I will apologize in advance for this statement. Fuck Freud and stop relating him to these terms people! There are many theories, and I dont know any of them, but I am not referring to Freud at this time. Also, where is your theory of emotion stemming from? This is your opinion right?

I got no problems with what you’ve written here; all I was trying to do is make sure we’re all clear as to what we’re talking about.

I have no theory as to the source of emotion; however, the conscious mind is able to change emotions by directed effort, and thus it cannot be entirely subconscious.

I’ve never heard the term “automaticity”; is it the same as “reflex”? Or “conditioning”? If not, can you elaborate the differences?

1st off let me begin by apologizing for coming off as insensitive and taking so long to reply.
Zen Swashbuckler wrote:

Think about what I wrote earlier and what you have written here. I agree with you, the conscious mind can indeed change what we percieve as emotions by direct effort, but what is actually occuring is your conscious mind rationalizing from what you already know. This makes me think of some questions: without experience and knowledge of experience, in future experiences how would you know how to react? How can you explain an automatic reaction to a stimulus introduced to you in the environment? We have to be running off of something, otherwise we wouldnt know what to do. Really think about how you organize the information in the world. We compare and contrast, we always say, “Hey that’s like ‘something’.” Think about where that ‘something’ comes from. It is already there in our mind(subconscious), but it was not there when we were born, we experienced it, and stored it. Here’s how it goes: You experience the stimulus; your subconscious already has endless amounts of information that you use as a guide as to how to react in certain situations. So when introduced to a stimuli, that stimuli is entered into your subconscious, automatically and without our knowledge, your subconscious then searches for comparisons, when it finds something similar, you react how you previously reacted in this type of situation, or you react consistently with how you felt about the situation after experiencing it before(as sometimes our cognitions change about certain stimuli).

Automaticity is a term that describes the ability to perform certain task automatically. It is related to the information processing approach in middle childhood when children can now experience processing efficiency from the ability to do this.