What is consciousness?

The definition of the word conscious, linked to the world of the human psyche, is made by the Austrianpsychologist and doctor Sigmund Freud, which he describes as: “The subjective face of a part of the physical processes that occur in the neural system, especially the perceptual processes …”and later “Consciousness is but a sensory organ for the perception of psychic qualities.” (1)

In another document, Freud refers to the conscious “as an adjective to qualify a psychic state, or as a noun, to indicate the location of certain processes constitutive of the functioning of the psychic apparatus”.

Note: The threelevels of consciousnessof Freud in his “First Topic”(2) are thepreconscious, the conscious andunconscious, which is handled both within psychology and in thepsychodynamic modeland approach.

What are the characteristics of the conscious?

The term conscious has its own characterization, which we mention below:

1. It encompasses everything rational, logical and analytical

For someone like Freud, consciousness constitutes the entire rational context of the person ; It is something that fully deals with the cognitive capacities of the human being and turns us into thinking beings with logical reasoning and a great capacity for analysis.

To highlight: The conscious distinguishes us from the rest of the animal speciesand is related to the rational brain.

2. Group thoughts, emotions and actions linked to reality

All the information we receive from daily experiences through perception is accumulated in thoughts and expressed in emotions and reactions, which are closely linked to the reality of the subject’s contact with the environment.

This is how the conscious has the ability to form ideas and representations of the reality that surrounds the human being and also react to that reality through behavior.

You should know: The activity of the conscious is related to the waking stage of the human being. (3)

3. It is related to short-term memory

In relation to this point, we must emphasize that short-term memory refers to the ability of the brain to keep a small amount of information immediately available for a short period of time.

Due to the dynamics of cognitive processes , the conscious is related to that primary memory or active memory of the subject.

Note: Some academic articles have established that short-term memory lasts approximately 30 seconds. (4)

4. It represents the perception of the present moment

The conscious is activated in real time , that is, it processes all the data it perceives through the senses, which it processes immediately and converts it into some form of behavior or emotion.

To highlight: Perception is one of the main elements of the conscious , considered by Freud as an integral factor of the psychic apparatus.

5. Allows reflection and critical thinking

The conscious, despite being directly related to short-term memory, there is a close link between this memory and long-term memory , where reflective processes take place and allows critical thinking based on the information stored in long-term memory. term.

You should know: A prerequisite to activate critical thinking and reflection is that the information already processed is temporarily or permanently stored in memory .

6. Allows decision making

Following the thread of the previous point, in the conscious from the relationship that exists between short memory and long-term memory, the analysis of problems and decision making are allowed.

Note: This decision-making process can happen within the short memory duration, but it can also happen after a process of reflection and analysis.

Key Findings

  • The conscious is part of Freud’s levels of consciousness and is made up of the psychic space occupied by cognitive processes in the brain.
  • The conscious is linked to the waking state and to the short-term memory ofthe human being.
  • In the conscious is processed and stored .individual perceives through the sensory organs is
  • The conscious distinguishes us from the rest of the animal species and is related to the rational brain.

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