What is the preconscious?

The preconscious is asubjective concept of psychoanalysis, used to designate a system or level of the psychic apparatus, according to the “First Topic of Freud”(1), and this defines it as thatlevel that is immediately below theconscious.

Its function is to permanently storeall that information that cannot be stored in the conscious, but due to its importance, cannot be stored in the unconscious. In addition, it serves as a transit or means of linkbetween the conscious and the unconscious.

You should know: The preconscious, the conscious and theunconsciousmake up thelevels of consciousnessproposed by Sigmund Freud. (2)

What is the function of the preconscious?

Next, we will mentionsome of the most important functions that thepreconscious fulfills within Freud’s psychic apparatus:

1. Be governed by logical laws and the principle of reality

Although the preconscious hasno direct contact with reality, it is the closest instance and with which it has the greatest interaction with the conscious.

Note: For this reason, the preconscious is managed by the laws of rationality, logic and the reality principle. (3)

2. Postponing the instinctive or drive discharge

from the subconscious to the conscious.

3. Communicate the conscious with the unconscious system

We have already mentioned previously that the preconscious is the level of the psychic apparatus that communicates the conscious with the unconscious.

This situation conveniently helps to ensure that the Basic and instinctive needs of the human being are not expressed directly in the conscious , avoiding disorders in the patient’s behavior.

4. Carry out processes of the psyche

You should know: This happens because the memory of the conscious is limited (it only lasts 30 seconds) , both to process information and also to store it, using the psychic apparatus to the advantages of the preconscious.

5. Host significant content

As previously described, the preconscious is related to long-term memory and we also know that memory is unlimited in the preconscious.

This is how, at the preconscious level, all those aspects and contents that are vital for the individual and that may be necessary at any time, for example, to make a decision, are stored.

Note: Unlimited and permanentcontent such as telephone numbers, names of people or animals, important dates, the daily social act itself, emotions, among others,can be housed in the preconscious .

What is lodged in the preconscious?

The preconscious has as one of its functions, to store the information that cannot be stored in another site of the psychic apparatus, such as:

1. Experiences

The experiences are all those experiences that are acquired from any type of daily life situation, whether in the workplace, academic, social, among others.

To highlight: Generally, these experiences always carry an emotional charge, which means that once they have been processed by the conscious, they go to the preconscious to be stored and some of them will go to the unconscious.

2. Fantasies

Fantasies can mentally represent for the human being events, stories or images of things that do not exist in reality or that are or were real, but are not present and that the individual desires.

You should know: Fantasy can become so recurrent in our mind, because it is stored in the preconscious and is available whenever the conscious needs it.

3. Thoughts

Thought is a process of cognition characteristic of the preconscious , since through this cognitive mechanism the Ability to Plan and secretly DirectSubsequent behaviorhas been described .

Note: Thought is closely related to the reality principle and the laws of logic.

4. Feelings

, because they carry with them a strong emotional charge whether positive or negative, and

Key Findings

  • The preconscious is the instance that serves as a transit or link between the conscious and the unconscious.
  • All information that cannot be stored in the conscious is permanently stored in the preconscious .
  • This instance, together with the conscious and the unconscious, make up the levels of consciousness proposed by Sigmund Freud.
  • The preconscious despite not having direct contact with reality, is managed by the laws of rationality, logic and the principle of reality.

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