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Communicate with your subconscious mind ?

  1. Aug 23, 2007 #1

    I wonder if anyone here that can communicate with the subconscious mind. I have tried many times but i don't get any signs. I have bought the book thegeniewithin Harry W Carpenter.
    I wan't to know if someone here can communicate with the subconscious mind that can help me.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 23, 2007 #2


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    Mainstream psychology no longer recognizes a 'subconscious mind.'

    - Warren
  4. Aug 23, 2007 #3
    I prefer to call it the "Toddler Within". Toddlers can brain each other with a toy telephone fighting over a piece of lint, and otherwise display behavior and emotions that are out of proportion with the situation or even completely out of touch with reality. Although the adult mind in us can know better, many of these emotionally immature reactions persist throughout our lives.

    I've had some success with lucid dreaming and surrender in general. In lucid dreams I just tell myself over and over as I fall asleep "Finish the dream". By running that tape through to the end I find it is like reassuring a child that, no matter what, I will be there for him.
  5. Aug 24, 2007 #4
    No one bothered to tell me. Got a link for this?
  6. Aug 25, 2007 #5
    why? it doesnty exist?:confused:
  7. Aug 25, 2007 #6


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    Subconscious existence:

    I think it's more difficult to say that the subconscious doesn't exist, because it's interpreted a couple different ways:

    1) The hypothalamus' actions: breathing, heartbeat, temperature regulation.

    2) That casual kind of assumptions you have brewing underneath your word-based thoughts.

    3) Freud's subconscious.


    1) I know exists, but I don't really think it's some form of consciousness, I think it's a biological machine more or less

    2) I experience, but I don't know what the psychological term for it is; I've always called them subconscious without giving much thought to it.

    3) I have no idea what Freud was on about, but he's been considered wrong about most of his assumptions, so I can only assume that this is what one means by no longer recognizing a 'subconscious'.
  8. Aug 26, 2007 #7
    I would largely agree with Pythagorean. There are a lot of things going on in our brains, including things we are not conscious of. If you want to call those processes the "subconscious mind," then that is perfectly fair to do. But I'm not sure what it would mean to "communicate with it." You are communicating with it all the time! If you couldn't interact with your non-conscious mental processes, what exactly would they be doing?

    But you can't "talk" with them. It's not even clear what that would mean. You could gain increased conscious control over some of them (i.e., through "bio-feedback"), but that wouldn't be talking with the subconscious, it would simply making something that was non-conscious conscious.

    Please take a minute for science at http://coglanglab.org
  9. Aug 26, 2007 #8
    The description of the book Loikan mentions is 'positive thinking'. So I'm assuming it's more along the lines of assumptions we make without necessarily knowing we're making them. Modes or models for processing experiencial data and how that effects us psychologically.
  10. Aug 27, 2007 #9
    Denial is another interesting aspect of what some people call the unconscious. How could it be possible for a person to lie to themselves or be unaware of themselves? A more accurate view might be that such things fall under the category of pretense. For example, we might pretend that we are not aware of our heartbeat, in order to focus our attention more on other things.

    People use a variety of ways to help focus their attention. For example, when attempting to picture something in our minds we become more likely to say things like "see what I mean". These are acquired habits that people often call unconscious acts.
  11. Aug 27, 2007 #10
    Very easily. Our memories are not designed to be accurate. Nor is consciousness. Our mental abilities were designed to help us function effectively. Denial can be effective.

    Here's another classic example: people are very bad at knowing what will make them happy. Many victims of a crime believe they want revenge. However, study after study shows that revenge does not make you happier. Similarly, children make parents less happy (and also live shorter lives). It isn't necessary for evolution that we actually like children or like revenge; it is necessary that we are highly motivated to have both. (The bright side is many things that we think would make us miserable, like losing a limb, typically don't make people unhappy and may even make them happier.)

    I wrote a post on a similar theme recently on my blog:
    http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/do-you-see-what-you-see-14026.html [Broken]

    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  12. Aug 27, 2007 #11
    Ancient Chinese saying, "Don't listen to what people say, watch what they do."

    There have been studies of what is sometimes referred to as the zombie aspect of our personalities. For example, when asked to estimate how steep a hill is, people are often wildly inaccurate. However, ask them to show you with their hand and their accuracy goes way up. Such studies demonstrate clearly that our so-called subconscious mind tends to appraise the situation quite differently from that of our conscious mind.

    Edited - off topic
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  13. Aug 28, 2007 #12


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    No, that means it's easier to show something than to articulate it, it has nothing to do with the subconcious.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2007
  14. Aug 28, 2007 #13


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    I'm curious, what does the psychology/neuro community call this?

    I have two examples, and I'm not sure if they occur in the same parts of the brain or are even considered the same behavior:

    2a) when you're driving somewhere that you've driven many times before, you don't really think about where you're going. You can go off into la-la land, insignificantly bantering with yourself until you reach your destination at which point you have no memory of most of the drive (besides what you were thinking to yourself).

    2b) Assumptions or judgments that you've made or been raised into that you don't even notice you're making when approaching a problem.
  15. Aug 29, 2007 #14
    No, there are other experiments that have been done that prove my point. For example, people are asked to play a game of cards in which they draw from one of two decks. Unbeknownst to them, one of the decks is rigged. When asked which one is better than the other they show little better than a fifty-fifty chance of picking the correct deck. However, they actually play the better deck more.

    There are a number of such experiments that all lead to this same conclusion. Of course, you could claim that all these people are merely lying or incapable of clearly articulating what they know, but without any demonstrable motive or problem in articulating the answer it seems silly to me. Again, I think of the subconscious more as a pretense or denial of their awareness of the reality of the situation. Something caused more by the reliance on habits than a conscious decision to lie or the inability of expressing ourselves clearly.

    As Lao Tzu said,

    Habits are the end of honesty and compassion,
    The beginning of confusion!

    Nonetheless, as human beings we are the masters of habits. We create habitual ways of looking at the world (ie- beliefs) as a routine way of thriving and surviving. The trick it seems is to be aware of what we are doing, accepting of what we are doing, and thereby a little more open minded about what we do.
  16. Aug 30, 2007 #15
    In ascribing these things, alternately, to pretense, denial and habit, I think you're overlooking the phenomenon of Procedural Memory. It's something you'd be interested in if these sorts of issues concern you. It's a type of memory that doesn't seem to be dependent on the usual functioning of the amygdala/hippocampus, because it continues to work even when those parts of the brain have been damaged beyond the formation of new long term memories. You can teach a person with this kind of damage to perform a new procedure, and the next day they will be able to perform it but with no recollection of how or when they learned it.
  17. Aug 30, 2007 #16
    Is this strictly in the Freudian sense of the subconscious? Because I was under the impression that the idea of unconscious thought ("background," non-conscious processes) is accepted by mainstream science.

    If this is not the case, are there any articles I could read that talk about evidence against this?
  18. Aug 30, 2007 #17


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    I was referring to the Freudian notion of a subconscious -- a "tape recorder" in the back of your head that remembers and stores everything that's ever happened to you, yet is ironically not available to your conscious mind.

    Obviously many functions become autonomic -- eating, even driving -- after being practiced enough. The brain is extremely good at off-loading repetitive tasks into less expensive, automatic areas of the brain.

    - Warren
  19. Aug 30, 2007 #18
    O, ok.

    Still, that notion of the subconscious is not 100% erroneous. The idea that everything is stored in perfect detail might be wrong, but, as far as I know, the verdict is not yet in on concepts such as repressed memories.

    Doesn't the unconscious extend beyond mastication and breathing? "Gut feelings" or even the processes involved in learning (how does the brain go about storing and organizing that information) are certainly not conscious.

    Maybe the term subconscious no longer applies. It just creates trouble (but a great deal of $$ for manufacturers of "subconscious healing music" and crap like that).
  20. Aug 30, 2007 #19
    There are a great number of other things I left out that can effect and affect us including not least of all procedural memory. However, their influence is noted precisely because it effects our habits and beliefs.
  21. Aug 31, 2007 #20


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    Ah yes, Freud's "tape recorder", I guess I do remember something about that.

    One thing I hear about (but have never actually seen) is people locking bad memories away, and then requiring hypnosis or some sort of similar therapy to bring the memories back and face them (think Hollywood had a hand in that assumption).

    Does this ever really happened and is there a name for this part of the "mind" or brain?
  22. Aug 31, 2007 #21
    My mom works mostly with kids and teens, especially kids who have some sort of trauma. And this is done to some extent (and obviously very carefully), which is why I am doubtful about completely dismissing the subconscious. She doesn't do it through hypnosis though (even if hypnosis were used, the memories would not be perfect like the "tape recorder" hypothesis suggests, so it is certainly wrong in that sense).

    Hypnosis simply puts a person in a state where they are more likely so relax and be open to suggestions. You can't magically retrieve something that isn't there, turn people into obedient zombies, or any of that wacky stuff that happens in movies.

    People can repress memories; completely forget about pretty big events in their lives, or, in their minds, change what happened. Trouble is often when the memory resurfaces during a period of extreme anxiety (a so-called flashback, or sometimes regression).

    I don't understand what the controversy over this is though. I think we've all re-remembered things we had completely forgotten. Maybe a smell brings back a childhood memory, stuff like that.

    Or does it not happen that sometimes you're trying to think of a solution to a problem, and you worry over it all day long, but nothing comes to mind... finally you give up and go to sleep. the next day as you're having lunch, an answer suddenly pops into your mind.
    Wouldn't that be attributed to non-conscious processes?

    Freud was a long time ago, and he was among the first of a science that was just beginning. He's bound to have been wrong in a lot of his assumptions, it doesn't mean he was wrong about everything or that he wasn't heading in the right direction. A great deal of modern psychology is based on his ideas.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2007
  23. Aug 31, 2007 #22


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    The problem with the "repressed memories" industry is that studies have shown time and time again that many of the so-called memories are actually implanted (either inadvertently or purposefully) by the interviewer during these periods of openness and hypnosis.

    - Warren
  24. Aug 31, 2007 #23
    I don't believe Freud ever proposed anything like this.

    This is a good explanation of Freud's unconscious:

    The whole page is worth reading:


    and his book The Interpretation of Dreams is really brilliant. Freud marveled in the introduction to a later edition of one of books that the harshest criticism he received always seemed to come from people who had never read anything he wrote.
  25. Aug 31, 2007 #24
    Well, it's possible to create a memory regardless of having been traumatized or psychoanalyzed, it's something that happens to everyone to some extent at one point or another.

    My mom works with cases where she already knows what happened, more often than not. Sometimes, though a person seems to have forgotten the event, the memory exhibits itself in other aspects of their behavior— It's still there, somewhere, in other words. A kid will make drawings that seem to allude to the event, that type of stuff.
    She has a sandbox in her office, sometimes she'll just watch the kids play. Or give them a toy family, and watch how the kid relates the characters, etc.

    I've heard the tape recorder theory so many times, usually attributed to Freud. So he never said such a thing after all?
    Any idea who did start the whole tape-recorder thing? I've heard the most ridiculous stories, like that people under hypnosis can remember the door to their childhood home down the most minute scratch and stain.

    I think the reason Freud has turned into fair game is because there are so many quack psychologists out there. I was talking with my parents about it the other day (sparked by the "is psychology a pseudo-science" thread from PF actually :tongue:), and it's part of why my dad has decided to leave the field for good. They feel it has lost its way. There are too many psychologists out there that are either poorly qualified, looking to make a quick buck, or just completely nuts.
    My mom still wants to keep practicing. But my dad is completely frustrated with the field and the way it's going. All the nuts doing mystic healing and crap like that get all the press coverage, while people doing real research are barely even mentioned in the news.
    That's a completely different topic though.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2007
  26. Aug 31, 2007 #25
    then again, in most cases, the complete oposite is true:

    The reason why there is so much dispute over these issues, I think, could be because we don't yet have the "if A >> then B" of the mind. It looks like more of a "if A >> then often C >> but sometimes D >> although E has also been known to happen among older people >> but for some reason H is more common among wealthier individuals >>..."
    This is why good psychologists learn many methods and models and are careful with which to approach each case.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2007
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