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Chapter Two. Cognetics and the Locus of ... > Cognitive Conscious and Cognitive Un...

2-2. Cognitive Conscious and Cognitive Unconscious

Oh Doctor Freud, Oh Doctor Freud, how we wish that you'd been otherwise employed!

—“Doctor Freud,” David Lazar, 1951

It can be difficult to deal with the psychologically, philosophically, and historically laden terms—such as conscious and unconscious—that we use to describe aspects of the way our minds work. In an engineering context, it is useful to work with the more limited concepts of the cognitive conscious and the cognitive unconscious. More accurate would be the terms empirical conscious and empirical unconscious, but Kihlstrom's more euphonic coinage has priority (Cohen and Schooler 1997, p. 137). Understanding that we possess these two distinct sets of limited mental abilities and understanding how they work in relationship to human-machine interfaces is as essential to designing interfaces as is knowing the size and the strength of the human hand when we are designing a keyboard.


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