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Am Psychol. 1992 Jun;47(6):796-801.

Nonconscious acquisition of information.

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  • 1University of Tulsa, OK 74104-3189.


The authors review and summarize evidence for the process of acquisition of information outside of conscious awareness (covariations, nonconscious indirect and interactive inferences, self-perpetuation of procedural knowledge). Data indicate that as compared with consciously controlled cognition, the nonconscious information-acquisition processes are not only much faster but are also structurally more sophisticated, in that they are capable of efficient processing of multidimensional and interactive relations between variables. Those mechanisms of nonconscious acquisition of information provide a major channel for the development of procedural knowledge that is indispensable for such important aspects of cognitive functioning as encoding and interpretation of stimuli and the triggering of emotional reactions.

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