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Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious

Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious

Paperback

By (author) Timothy D. Wilson

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  • Publisher: The Belknap Press
  • Format: Paperback | 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 210mm x 17mm | 317g
  • Publication date: 1 June 2004
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge, Mass.
  • ISBN 10: 0674013824
  • ISBN 13: 9780674013827
  • Illustrations note: 1 table
  • Sales rank: 35,654

Product description

"Know thyself," a precept as old as Socrates, is still good advice. But is introspection the best path to self-knowledge? What are we trying to discover, anyway? In an eye-opening tour of the unconscious, as contemporary psychological science has redefined it, Timothy D. Wilson introduces us to a hidden mental world of judgments, feelings, and motives that introspection may never show us.

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Author information

Timothy D. Wilson is Sherrell J. Aston Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia.

Review quote

Wilson convincingly argues that our conscious minds are but the tip of the iceberg in deciding how we behave, what is important to us, and how we feel. Surveying a variety of contemporary psychological research, this book describes an unconscious that is capable of a much higher degree of "thinking" than previously supposed by adherents of either Freudian or Behaviorist branches of psychology. Capable of everything from problem solving and narrative construction to emotional reaction and prediction, the adaptive unconscious is a powerful and pervasive element of our whole personalities. Indeed, it may be the primary element of our personalities, controlling our real motivations, judgments, and actions...A fascinating read. -- David Valencia Library Journal 20020901 Timothy Wilson...offers a charming, talkative and yet authoritative review of how it became clear that most of what happens inside us is not perceptible by us. In fact, other people often know more about events inside [us]...because they can monitor [our] actions and body language better than [we] can...Strangers to Ourselves is certainly worth reading and reflecting upon. -- Tor Norrentronders New Scientist 20021005 This book offers an intricate combination of page-turning reading, cutting-edge research, and philosophical debate. At some level, Wilson points out, individuals know that processing and decision-making go on below the threshold of awareness; if every decision had to reach consciousness before action could be initiated, people would not be able to respond as promptly as some situations dictate. How does this processing occur? What standards are employed in reaching "less than" conscious decisions? Wilson explores these questions with penetrating clarity, impressively integrating literature from a variety of professions and disciplines including psychology and business...Wilson does an excellent job of covering research that addresses factors (internal and external) influencing decision-making processes that may appear to be unconscious...Highly recommended. -- R. E. Osborne Choice 20030201 [Wilson's] book is what popular psychology ought to be (and rarely is): thoughtful, beautifully written, and full of unexpected insights. -- Malcolm Gladwell New Yorker 20040920 There is much here to arouse interest and provoke thought in any reader, and the book does not outstay its welcome...The writing is clear and engaging, and the subject matter is illuminating and entertaining. Though Wilson insists that introspection is limited in its ability to reveal our true selves, it would be a very dull reader who was not roused by this book into a close self-examination. -- Jo Lawson Times Literary Supplement 20040813

Table of contents

Preface 1. Freud's Genius, Freud's Myopia 2. The Adaptive Unconscious 3. Who's in Charge? 4. Knowing Who We Are 5. Knowing Why 6. Knowing How We Feel 7. Knowing How We Will Feel 8. Introspection and Self-Narratives 9. Looking Outward to Know Ourselves 10. Observing and Changing Our Behavior Notes Bibliography Index