AskDefine | Define subconscious

Dictionary Definition

subconscious adj : just below the level of consciousness n : psychic activity just below the level of awareness [syn: subconscious mind]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. partially conscious.
  2. below the level of consciousness.


partially conscious
below the level of consciousness


the subconscious
  1. that part of the mind that is not consciously perceived; one's innermost thoughts


that part of mind that is not consciously perceived

Extensive Definition

The term subconscious is defined as existing or operating in the mind beneath or beyond consciousness. The word was coined by the psychologist Pierre Janet, who credited it with a subliminal level of awareness and automatism. In the strict psychological sense, the adjective is defined as "operating or existing outside of consciousness". The term also appears in Sigmund Freud's very early work, to denote the unconscious mind but was soon eliminated due to its ambiguity. It may also be used to describe the preconscious, information contained in the mind, which although not presently in the conscious, may be recalled by "directing attention to them", such as memories not being recalled at present, but still available to be recalled at will. Use of the term "subconscious" is avoided in academic settings despite remaining popular in common use.

Modalities targeting the subconscious mind

There are a number of methods in use to try to directly affect the subconscious/unconscious mind, primarily the following:

Notes and references

Further reading

  • Hill, Napoleon. Think and Grow Rich (1937), Chapter XII "The Subconscious Mind".
  • Powell, Robert Charles (1979). "The 'Subliminal' versus the 'Subconscious' in the American Acceptance of Psychoanalysis, 1906-1910." Journal of the History of the Behavioral Science, 15, 155-165.
  • Murphy, Joseph Murphy (2001). The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, Bantam Books.
  • How to Work Wonders With Your Subconscious Mind by Christian D. Larson, Aware Publishing.
subconscious in Spanish: Subconsciente
subconscious in Finnish: Alitajunta
subconscious in Slovak: Podvedomie

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Freudian, anima, coconscious, collective unconscious, conscience, conscious self, death instinct, deep-rooted, deepest mind, ego, ego ideal, ego-id conflict, ethical self, foreconscious, heart, hidden, id, inmost heart, inner, inner man, inner self, innermost, latent, libidinal energy, libido, mind, motive force, persona, personality, pleasure principle, preconscious, primitive self, psyche, psychic apparatus, racial unconscious, repressed, self, subconscious mind, subliminal, subliminal self, submerged mind, superego, suppressed, unconscious, unconscious mind, underlying, vital impulse
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