Watching this resources will notify you when proposed changes or new versions are created so you can keep track of improvements that have been made.
Favoriting this resource allows you to save it in the “My Resources” tab of your account. There, you can easily access this resource later when you’re ready to customize it or assign it to your students.
Theories of levels of consciousness include developmental, cultural, neural, computational, and moral perspectives.
Provide an overview of psychological theories of levels of consciousness, including Freud's theory of the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious levels of awareness.
First appearing in the historical records of the ancient Mayan and Incan civilizations, various theories of multiple levels of consciousness have pervaded spiritual, psychological, medical, and moral speculations in both Eastern and Western cultures.
The Ancient Mayans were among the first to propose an organized sense of each level of consciousness, its purpose, and its temporal connection to humankind.
Sigmund Freud divided human consciousness into three levels of awareness: the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious.
First appearing in the historical records of the ancient Mayan and Incan civilizations, various theories of multiple levels of consciousness have pervaded spiritual, psychological, medical, and moral speculations in both Eastern and Western cultures. Consciousness can be defined as human awareness to both internal and external stimuli. Because of occasional and sometimes substantial overlap between hypotheses, there have recently been attempts to combine perspectives to form new models that integrate components of separate viewpoints.
The Ancient Mayans were among the first to propose an organized sense of each level of consciousness, its purpose, and its temporal connection to humankind. Because consciousness incorporates stimuli from the environment as well as internal stimuli, the Mayans believed it to be the most basic form of existence, capable of evolution. The Incas, however, considered consciousness a progression not only of awareness but of concern for others as well.
Freud's Theory of Consciousness
While Eastern perspectives on consciousness have remained relatively stable over the centuries, fluctuations in theory have come to define the Western perspective. One of the most popular Western theories is that of Sigmund Freud, medical doctor and father of psychoanalytic theory. Freud divided human consciousness into three levels of awareness: the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious. Each of these levels corresponds and overlaps with Freud's ideas of the id, ego and superego. The conscious level consists of all those things we are aware of, including things which we know about ourselves and our surroundings. The preconscious consists of those things which we could pay conscious attention to if we so desired, and where many memories are stored for easy retrieval. Freud saw the preconscious as those thoughts which are unconscious at the particular moment in question, but which are not repressed and are therefore available for recall and easily 'capable of becoming conscious" (for example, the "tip of the tongue" effect). The unconscious consists of those things which are outside of conscious awareness, including many memories, thoughts, and urges of which we are not aware. Much of what is stored in the unconscious is thought to be unpleasant or conflicting; for example sexual impulses which are deemed "unacceptable. " While these elements are stored out of our awareness, they are nevertheless thought to influence our behavior.
Freud's levels of consciousness
This figure illustrates the respective levels of the id, ego, and superego. The part above water is known as the conscious level; the top level of waves just below the surface and above the white line is the preconscious level; and the bottom level is the unconscious.
Modern Theories of Consciousness
While Freud's theory remains one of the best known, various schools within the field of psychology have developed their own perspectives. For example, developmental psychologists view consciousness not as a single entity, but as a developmental process with potential higher stages of cognitive, moral, and spiritual quality. Social psychologists view consciousness as a product of cultural influence having little to do with the individual. Neuropsychologists view consciousness as ingrained in neural systems and organic brain structures, and cognitive psychologists base their understanding of consciousness on computer science.
Assign this as a reading to your class
Assign just this concept, or entire chapters to your class for free. You will be able to see and track your students' reading progress.
Source: Boundless. “A History of Theories of Consciousness.” Boundless Psychology. Boundless, 26 Jun. 2015. Retrieved 27 Jun. 2015 from https://www.boundless.com/psychology/textbooks/boundless-psychology-textbook/states-of-consciousness-6/introduction-to-consciousness-41/a-history-of-theories-of-consciousness-177-12712/