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© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Consciousness: Selected full-text books and articles

Kinds of Minds: Toward an Understanding of Consciousness
Daniel C. Dennett.
Basic Books, 1996
Conscious and Unconscious
David Edwards; Michael Jacobs.
Open University Press, 2003
Purple Haze: The Puzzle of Consciousness
Joseph Levine.
Oxford University Press, 2001
FREE! The Concept of Consciousness
Edwin B. Holt.
Macmillan, 1914
Self and Consciousness: Multiple Perspectives
Frank S. Kessel; Pamela M. Cole; Dale L. Johnson.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1992
The Taboo of Subjectivity: Toward a New Science of Consciousness
B. Alan Wallace.
Oxford University Press, 2000
A Universe of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination
Gerald M. Edelman; Giulio Tononi.
Basic Books, 2000
The Evolution of Consciousness
Kishore Gandhi.
Paragon House, 1986
Scientific Approaches to Consciousness
Jonathan D. Cohen; Jonathan W. Schooler.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1997
Identity, Consciousness, and Value
Peter Unger.
Oxford University Press, 1990
Thinking about Consciousness
David Papineau.
Clarendon Press, 2002
The Significance of Consciousness
Charles P. Siewert.
Princeton University Press, 1998
The Remembered Present: A Biological Theory of Consciousness
Gerald M. Edelman.
Basic Books, 1989
Consciousness: Essays from a Higher-Order Perspective
Peter Carruthers.
Clarendon Press, 2005
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