consciousness, in psychology, a term commonly used to indicate a state of awareness of self and environment. In Freudian psychology, conscious behavior largely includes cognitive processes of the ego, such as thinking, perception, and planning, as well as some aspects of the superego, such as moral conscience. Some psychologists deny the distinction between conscious and unconscious behavior; others use the term consciousness to indicate all the activities of an individual that constitute the personality. In recent years, neuropsychologists have begun to investigate the links between consciousness and memory, as well as altered states of consciousness such as the dream state. See also defense mechanism; psychoanalysis.

See D. C. Dennett, Consciousness Explained (1991); A. Damasto, The Feeling of What Happens (1999); S. Blackmore, Consciousness: A Very Short Introduction (2005); C. S. Hill, Consciousness (2009); D. J. Chalmers, The Character of Consciousness (2010).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Consciousness: Selected full-text books and articles

Conscious and Unconscious By David Edwards; Michael Jacobs Open University Press, 2003
Purple Haze: The Puzzle of Consciousness By Joseph Levine Oxford University Press, 2001
FREE! The Concept of Consciousness By Edwin B. Holt Macmillan, 1914
Self and Consciousness: Multiple Perspectives By Frank S. Kessel; Pamela M. Cole; Dale L. Johnson Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1992
A Universe of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination By Gerald M. Edelman; Giulio Tononi Basic Books, 2000
The Evolution of Consciousness By Kishore Gandhi Paragon House, 1986
Scientific Approaches to Consciousness By Jonathan D. Cohen; Jonathan W. Schooler Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1997
Identity, Consciousness, and Value By Peter Unger Oxford University Press, 1990
Thinking about Consciousness By David Papineau Clarendon Press, 2002
The Significance of Consciousness By Charles P. Siewert Princeton University Press, 1998
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