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Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. Juni 2004

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  • Taschenbuch: 262 Seiten
  • Verlag: Harvard Univ Pr; Auflage: New Ed (1. Juni 2004)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0674013824
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674013827
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 14 x 1,8 x 21 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.5 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 43.242 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
  • Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen

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Wilson convincingly argues that our conscious minds are but the tip of the iceberg in deciding how we behave, what is important to us, and how we feel. Surveying a variety of contemporary psychological research, this book describes an unconscious that is capable of a much higher degree of "thinking" than previously supposed by adherents of either Freudian or Behaviorist branches of psychology. Capable of everything from problem solving and narrative construction to emotional reaction and prediction, the adaptive unconscious is a powerful and pervasive element of our whole personalities. Indeed, it may be the primary element of our personalities, controlling our real motivations, judgments, and actions...A fascinating read. -- David Valencia Library Journal 20020901 Timothy Wilson...offers a charming, talkative and yet authoritative review of how it became clear that most of what happens inside us is not perceptible by us. In fact, other people often know more about events inside [us]...because they can monitor [our] actions and body language better than [we] can...Strangers to Ourselves is certainly worth reading and reflecting upon. -- Tor Norrentronders New Scientist 20021005 This book offers an intricate combination of page-turning reading, cutting-edge research, and philosophical debate. At some level, Wilson points out, individuals know that processing and decision-making go on below the threshold of awareness; if every decision had to reach consciousness before action could be initiated, people would not be able to respond as promptly as some situations dictate. How does this processing occur? What standards are employed in reaching "less than" conscious decisions? Wilson explores these questions with penetrating clarity, impressively integrating literature from a variety of professions and disciplines including psychology and business...Wilson does an excellent job of covering research that addresses factors (internal and external) influencing decision-making processes that may appear to be unconscious...Highly recommended. -- R. E. Osborne Choice 20030201 [Wilson's] book is what popular psychology ought to be (and rarely is): thoughtful, beautifully written, and full of unexpected insights. -- Malcolm Gladwell New Yorker 20040920 There is much here to arouse interest and provoke thought in any reader, and the book does not outstay its welcome...The writing is clear and engaging, and the subject matter is illuminating and entertaining. Though Wilson insists that introspection is limited in its ability to reveal our true selves, it would be a very dull reader who was not roused by this book into a close self-examination. -- Jo Lawson Times Literary Supplement 20040813


"Know thyself," a precept as old as Socrates, is still good advice. But is introspection the best path to self-knowledge? What are we trying to discover, anyway? In an eye-opening tour of the unconscious, as contemporary psychological science has redefined it, Timothy D. Wilson introduces us to a hidden mental world of judgments, feelings, and motives that introspection may never show us.

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5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Stephen A. Haines am 30. April 2008
Format: Taschenbuch
Timothy Wilson enters the structure erected by Sigmund Freud a century ago bearing a wrecking bar and fresh wall paint. Freud's concept of the unconscious is in dire need of updating, Wilson contends, but not demolished entirely. The construction can be refurbished with modern research. Instead of the unconscious being hidden away until a psychotherapist teases it back into view, says Wilson, its effects can be detected by new observing techniques - even done in the laboratory setting. In fact, the author argues, much of the unconscious is there to help us through our daily lives. We just don't perceive its role or influence. In an easily read and nearlycomprehensive account of how over the past century psychology has revised the Freudian construction, Wilson has produced a shiny, almost new edifice. Sadly, the structure lacks a foundation.

Wilson points out that our brains are the result of life's evolutionary process. There is the ancient, rapidly responding elements inherited from ancient ancestors. There is also the rather cumbersome, plodding segment, more recently acquired by our species. In fact, it may be that which distinguishes our species. The ancient parts drive us to jump back when we see a long, slim, dark shape on the ground while walking in the woods. The newer, slower cognitive functions allow us to detect the object has bark and knots - it's a twig, not a snake. Although Wilson is anxious for us to understand our brains are based on an evolutionary foundation, he's quick to dismiss the nascent science of evolutionary psychology as "too extreme" in comparing us to other animals. His field is psychology, not ethology, and he's not willing to surrender his role.
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2 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von agigi am 23. Februar 2007
Format: Taschenbuch
i can only recommend to those who want to know the nature and working of the Brain. We are not what we think we are- and that is the message.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 59 Rezensionen
192 von 200 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A Disconcerting Kick out of the comfort zone 5. Januar 2006
Von Patrick Thompson - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
This is not a self-help book in the 'pop-psychology' vein, as I percieve it. This book is less about easy answers and more about deeper hows and whys. After all if you know how and why, answers become self-evident anyway, but the reciprocal is not always true. It easier to determine answers but they usually don't tell you why and how.

Though I admit approached this work in a recreational mindset - you know, that 'this looks like a fun read'...boy was I wrong in some respects! This little book will kick your notions of consciousness and just who or what is in charge of you right on their head. You get to face concept that it's not always the conscious you that is at the helm (even when you're sure it is) some respects the conscious you is often just a spectator. Weird, but true I feel. How many times for example somebody will ask you something and you know the answer the instant they have finished speaking? You haven't even had time to work out the answer and there it is (i'm not talking about automaticity or simple stuff)...then you have to check the answer with your conscious mind to see that it is right (which it is: often my conscous mind takes much longer to arrive at the same answer when checking). That is your adapative unconscious! And this thing is far more pervasive and in control then we may imagine or realize.

Ok, this isn't a massively scholarly work that is so arcane as to be unapproachable by most. Indeed it is simply written exposition of a particular philosophy of mind than, while not heavily evidenced, is rather commonsensical. As Richard Feynman suggested you can describe virtually anything in simple terms if you understand it well enough, and both I and my unconscious both agree that Timothy D Wilson has a firm grasp on this concept. Though I suspect there is an ulterior motive: get people to undertand how to interpret their behavior by seeing how other's see them and modify this so they act in more approapriate and decent way toward others (now there's a goal...)

Chapters include:

Freud's Genius, Freud's Myopia

The Adapative unconscous

Who's in charge?

Knowing who we are

KNowing Why

Knowing How we feel

KNowing how we will feel

Introspection and self-narratives

Looking outward to know ourselves

Observing and changing our behavior

So Mr WIlson basically does some things with this book, for example:

* He teaches you recognize that your conscious you is not entirely in charge

* He teaches you that, although you can't 'see' your unconscious mind directly, you can see it's effects and interactions with others and therefore you can view and interpret it indirectly.

* We typically delude and misinterpret ourselves to protect and enhance our mental wellbeing

* we tend to overexaggerate the effect of various phenomena

* we tend to consciously want things that we convince oursleves would improve our lives, that really our detrimental to our wellbeing

* He suggests that often our feelings about things are not legitmate, and that there is a difference between what we actual feel and what we think we are feeling because we reinterpret our feelings in a light that is not quite stark but rather softer, more protective, safer - a bit like a fading actress and the filter/stocking over the camera lens that blurs the view and hides much?

* introspection is not a bad thing (though given most people who read this are probably highly introspective anyway- that might be preaching to the choir)

There is so much more so rather than spoil it for you I will say this: leave your pretentions at the door with this book. Its approachable and interesting and certainly worthy of consideration. Expect to at least question your view of yourself, your identity and how you view your interactions with the world. For some people this might be a truly disconcerting is always the case when we learn we might not be quite the person we thing we are or are forced to look at oursleves in a less delusionary and favorable light.. Of course that takes an open mind, courage and a willingness to pursue greater truth. I for one am glad I did take this journey.

This is a good book. Read it and be glad you did!
112 von 120 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Truth is Stranger than Freud 4. Juni 2003
Von James R. Mccall - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This book asserts that we rarely know much about our own minds, what we do know is sometimes wrong, and moreover, that introspection is often powerless to help us to better self-knowledge. Not only that, but perfect strangers can sometimes tell us things about our personality that we didn't know.
Wilson, a psychology professor, is not really going out on a limb here, but rather reporting the strong results of recent research (some of which is his own) on the "adaptive unconscious". The new view of the mind that is gradually being built up by controlled experiments is often at variance with Freud's compelling but fanciful views on the unconscious and repression. The current model has the mind composed of a conscious part and, perhaps, several unconscious parts, each of which has a special ability, like recognizing faces, responding to emergencies, or selective remembering and forgetting. The author normally lumps these specialized parts together for purposes of discussion, since his intent is to contrast our conscious mind with our unconscious, and to re-evaluate what it is we can know about ourselves through examining our conscious motives, thoughts, and feelings.
Anyone who has ever been surprised at an emotion that has come over him, seemingly from nowhere, or by his actions in a new situation knows how disconcerting it can be. Are one's conscious emotions just fake - placeholders for real feelings that well up when one isn't looking? Are one's firm intentions just flimsy self-deceptions that are blown away by the right circumstances? It's probably not that bad (usually!), but we should know just how much of what we feel and think and think we remember is under our conscious control. The author is not really in the self-help business, but he does recommend several things we can do to find our real selves - and even to change. His tone is modest but hopeful: it's true that self-knowledge is elusive, but one can find out important things about one's self by indirect means. One can even influence one's unconscious, so change is possible. Perhaps an introvert will never become the life of the party, but he can take action to readjust his socializing comfort level so as to at least enjoy the party.
This book will interest someone who wants to see what sorts of things psychologists are learning about the mind these days, or who just wants to learn some things about his own mind. I liked it. In spite of the fact that much of the time we are running on autopilot, Wilson by no means absolves us of the responsibility for our actions, and gives us techniques and suggestions that help us to control our (often obstreperous) unconscious minds. Most usefully, he points out that self-knowledge is not simply "there", nor is it particularly easy to get. On the other hand, he made me realize that there is a new person that I might want to know better - myself.
78 von 83 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
One of those books. 7. Januar 2006
Von T. Smith - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
Every once in a while you read a book whose ideas you know will stay with you in varying degrees the rest of your life. Congratulations: you are presently reading about one of those such books. Buy this book, read it, and thank me later.

So you think you know yourself fairly well, huh? Read this book and then see what you think. The author's thesis is that we all have what he calls an "adaptive unconscious" which really "runs the show" in our lives. Now, I am far from being a determinist and the author, if I am correct, doesn't see himself as a determinist. I have always believed in free will--still do I suppose (I'm not sure because I just finished reading this book today.) However, I am convinced now that "free will" resides as much in the adaptive unconscious as much--if not more--than it does in my conscious mind. This is mind-boggling for me-and it will be for you if you read the author with an open mind.

Timothy Wilson writes a solid, engaging book that refuses to condescend into pop psychology. In other words, he's a good writer who is able to put across complex psychology into words most laypeople can understand--a daunting task. One would have to read through dozens of psychological papers and books (and subsequently, take several naps) in order to figure out what he says very succinctly yet accurately in this book.

I have worked with people in a "helping profession" for over twenty years. I have longed believed, though I am not a psychologist, in "the power of the unconscious mind." "Just think on it"--"Give him some time to think about it" are phrases I have said numerous times. After reading this book, I'm convinced that in such instances the "adaptive" unconscious already probably knows what to do--it's the conscious mind that's lagging behind, instead of vice-versa. I'm reminded of the urban saying: "Free you mind and you @#$ will follow." After reading this book I'm convinced that it is our adaptive unconscious that is the one doing the leading. If we want happiness, then we need to somehow be listening to it.

"Strangers to Ourselves" is aptly named because it is difficult for one to access one own adaptive unconscious; consequently it is also not so easy for others to do it either, although others often have more insight into ourselves than we want to admit. The adaptive unconscious often finds it necessary to categorize people--doing so just makes it easier to operate within a limited amount of time. This is the downside to having an adaptive unconscious: racism and other such -isms can gain a foothold. Today industry, business and other sectors too often bring their agendas to the table when it's time to try to understand a human being. Personality tests are made so that people can be "understood" and then placed into the appropriate round or square hole--it's part of the human nature and the adaptive unconscious to attempt to do so. Ironically, Wilson makes it implicitly clear that it is *not so easy* to understand a human being because in order to do so one must access the adaptive unconscious in some way. Good luck. There is no test made which can access it.

This book has helped me to realize how my lack of appreciation for the unconscious has hurt me. For example, my unconscious probably knows how some people really are--however, my conscious mind (for reasons the author helps me to understand) says "no, give so-and-so a chance." Or "you're jumping the gun." This book has helped me to see that my lack of a better prayer life and my lack of writing any more than I do are hurting me because they are hurting my growing adaptive unconscious. This book isn't about spirituality by any stretch of the imagination but the reader will read this book and consequently probably will have your own "adaptive unconcious" tap you on the shoulder and tell you "now apply this page to your ________ life."

I'll never be the same after reading this book.
26 von 28 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Have you seen yourself lately? 1. November 2003
Von Gary C. Marfin - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Strangers to Ourselves is a clearly written and important book identifying the various internal walls impeding self-knowledge and providing advice on how we might enhance our ability to surmount them. The former constitutes the more interesting aspect of Wilson's book. His contention is that "human personality resides in two places: in the adaptive unconscious and in the conscious construal of the self." The latter is often deceptive, the former inaccessible. Much of the difficulty we face in getting an accurate assessment of our self stems the existence of our "adaptive unconciousness," that set of mental processes that influence our behavior "behind the scenes," as it were. For all its important influence, our adaptive conciousness remains beyond the accessibility of our conscious. So, how are we to achieve his second objective; that of trying to improve our self-knowledge? On this question, Wilson does not abandon us, though he does concede that there are limits to what we can do. The development of self-narratives, trying to observe ourselves as though we were outside ourselves (like the mathematician who solved a problem he found otherwise intractable until he managed to transform himself as his friend, John Nash, and approach the problem from Nash's vantage point), and altering our behavior in advance of attitudinal change are among his proposals for deepening self-understanding. In all, an excellent source for the general reader to come to grips with him or herself. I know, if my adaptive unconciousness could reach me, that it would agree!
16 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
An excellent description of how minds work 16. Dezember 2006
Von gjc - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
I've been a fan of Timothy Wilson's research in social psychology for quite some time. He has been an author or co-author on some classic studies and reviews in psychology - usually asking interesting questions, using clever research methods, and written with clarity. In particular, if you can get your hands on the following paper it will give you a good idea of what you'll see in this book: "Telling more than we can know: verbal reports of mental processes" in Psychological Review (1977) with Richard Nisbett.

In the first chapter "Freud's Genius, Freud's Myopia" Wilson compares modern and early psychological theories of the unconscious. Wilson argues that Freud made a great contribution to psychology by pointing out that we aren't always aware of our motives and thoughts, but that Freud's conceptualization of the unconsciousness was limited for many reasons. Wilson's view is of an information-processing unconscious that does much of the work needed to navigate us through the world without taxing our limited consciousness - unlike Freud's view of the unconscious as a reservoir of inappropriate thoughts and desires. Furthermore, Wilson's view is informed by much more, and more rigiourous, research than Freud's.

An interesting chapter in the middle of the book discusses people's ability - or lack there of - to predict how they will react emotionally to events. This chapter is a good introduction to the concept of "affective forecasting" for people who are unfamiliar with the topic. However, the more recent book by Wilson's research collaborator Daniel Gilbert ("Stumbling on Happiness") is a more thorough and up-to-date treatment of this subject.

In "Strangers to Ourselves" Wilson expands on some of his own research on the limits of introspection, as well as integrating ideas from other researchers. Wilson argues that because we cannot know ourselves via introspection that self-knowledge can be enhanced by understanding other people - an excellent point in my opinion as a psychologist. In the later chapters, Wilson blends his ideas about consciousness and self-knowledge with Jamie Pennibaker's research and theories into the effects of writing about emotional events.

This is a fantastic book and I'd highly recommend it to people with any level of background knowledge in psychology from novices to experts.
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