PRECONSCIOUS

psychoanalytic term for thoughts which are not presently in awareness, but which can be recalled more or less readily.The preconscious includes images, ideas or verbal expressions that can be called up with conscious effort. Examples of preconscious thoughts are the memory of what happened yesterday, early but accessible experiences, the face of a friend, or a verbal cliche. Sometimes the term “the preconscious” (or “the foreconscious”) is used as if it were a special repository for these thoughts, as contrasted with “the unconscious,” which consists of thought contents that can be brought to awareness only by special techniques or under special conditions, as in free association, hypnosis, or automatic writing. This is no simple process, however, since unconscious contents are at least temporarily barred from consciousness by internal forces such as repression—and before it is given external expression, all unconscious material must be critically examined by an agent, termed the censor, that resides in the preconscious and acts as a watchdog.The preconscious, together with the conscious and the unconscious, make up Freud’s early “topographical” theory proposed in 1913, which conceived the mind in terms of three regions or mental systems. In 1923, however, he ropounded a “structural hypothesis” which described mental functioning in terms of the id, which represents instinctual drives, the ego as the mediator between the id and external reality, and the superego which comprises moral precepts and ideals. At that time the concept of the censor as a single agent was replaced by the process of censorship exercised by a “chain” of agencies, the superego, the ego, and the ego- ideal

Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "PRECONSCIOUS," in PsychologyDictionary.org, November 28, 2018, https://psychologydictionary.org/preconscious/ (accessed March 20, 2019).
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