Sunday, 22 April 2012

How to commit to a goal

Reality check

The researchers divided 136 participants into three groups and gave them each a different way of thinking about how they wanted to solve a problem, in this case it was an interpersonal one.
  1. Indulge: imagine a positive vision of the problem solved.
  2. Dwell: think about the negative aspects of the current situation. 
  3. Contrast: first imagine a positive vision of the problem solved then think about the negative aspects of reality. With both in mind, participants were asked to carry out a 'reality check', comparing their fantasy with reality.
Crucially, participants were also asked about their expectations of success in reaching their goal.
The researchers found that the contrast technique was the most effective in encouraging people to make plans of action and in taking responsibility but only when expectations of success were high. When expectations of solving their interpersonal problem were low, those in the mental contrast condition made fewer plans and took less responsibility.
The contrast condition appeared to be forcing people to decide whether their goal was really achievable or not. Then, if they expected to succeed, they committed to the goal; if not, they let it go.
Using this technique, the same thing happens to emotions as well as thoughts. In a second experiment the mental contrasting had the effect of committing people emotionally to the goal if they thought they could succeed, or letting the goal go if they didn't. Both those who indulged or dwelled made no such emotional investment.
A third experiment found that people in a mental contrast condition were more energised and took action sooner than those who only entertained positive or negative fantasies on their own. Once again people didn't commit themselves to goals they didn't expect to achieve.

 Why mental contrasting is hard

Carrying out a kind of reality check sounds like a straightforward technique, but from other research we know that it's easy to get wrong.
The positive fantasies about the future must come first, followed by the negative aspects of reality. Then it's also vital that we think carefully about the difference between fantasy and reality. A study has found that if people don't contrast fantasy with reality then the technique doesn't work (Oettingen & Gollwitzer, 2001).
There's a good reason why we need to rub our noses in the difference between fantasy and reality. It's because we hate to have inconsistencies pointed out to us and will attempt all kinds of mental contortions to avoid them. Psychologists call this cognitive dissonance: our mind's discomfort with thoughts and actions which are incompatible with each other.
Our natural reaction is to avoid bringing fantasy and reality together because it's uncomfortable. Suddenly it becomes obvious what needs to be done and these realisations can be depressing—we might have a lot of work to do. Worse, we might have to face the fact that our goal is unworkable.
Another reason the technique is difficult is that people dislike moving from happy to depressing thoughts. We want to keep thinking about happy things. Or if we're thinking negative thoughts, it's difficult to change to positive.

Hearts and minds

When done right, the strength of this technique is it forces us to decide. People have a natural tendency to avoid decisions, preferring to stay in a fantasy land where the chance of failure is zero.
Mental contrasting makes us ask ourselves if this is really a goal we want to pursue. If not we should forget about it and move on to something else. If we expect to succeed then it forces us to commit our hearts and minds to it, making us act now with energy and focus.
And if we imagine failing then we should anticipate regret. A vague goal you don't care about is a goal to which you're not committed. Deciding to do one thing, rather than another is always a kind of risk, both cognitive and emotional. The time we expend pursing one goal is time that can't be spent pursuing others.
By contrast, if we never fully commit then it's difficult to achieve anything. What the mental contrasting technique forces you to do is choose. Making a choice—a committed choice—is the first step along the journey to realising your goals.

Friday, 20 April 2012

The useless info of the day : Gum and memory

A gum can freshen your breath,act as a substitute of cigarette but according to a new research it can also improve your memory.

A team of psychologists in the United Kingdom argued that gum may be able to improve memory, since according to their investigations of those who chewed gum during a test of short and long term memory performed significantly better than those who did not.

 As announced by Andrew Scholey of the University of Northumbria in Newcastle UK, "These results demonstrate for the first time that the gum can improve long-term and working memory. There are a number of possible explanations, but it is still hypothetical, "he says.

Either it is true or not, the habit of chewing gum never stops entertaining young and old.


Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The Intouchables (2011)

The Intouchables (French: Intouchables, which translates literally as Untouchable) is a French film directed by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano. In just nine weeks after its release in France on 2 November 2011 it became the second most successful French film of all time (in number of spectators) in the French box office, behind the 2008 film Welcome to the Sticks.

The feel-good dramatic comedy has become a cultural phenomenon in France where it was voted cultural event of the year 2011 by 52% of the French.

The Plot

The movie tells the development of the improbable friendship between Philippe, a wealthy tetraplegic, and Driss, a young offender of Senegalese descent, who is hired as his live-in carer.

The film begins at night in Paris. Driss is driving Philippe's Maserati Quattroporte at full speed, with Philippe in the front passenger's seat. They are soon chased by the police. "I bet you 100 euros I shake them off," Driss tells his passenger. Yet they are caught. Unfazed, Driss doubles his bet with Philippe, convinced they will get an escort. In order to get away with his speeding, Driss claims the tetraplegic Philippe must be urgently driven to the emergency room; Philippe pretends to have a stroke and the fooled police eventually escort them to the hospital. The two men are jubilant. As the police leave them at the hospital Driss says "Now let me take care of it," and they drive off.

The story of the two men is then told as a flashback, which occupies most of the film.

Philippe, a rich quadriplegic who owns a luxurious Parisian mansion, is interviewing, along with his assistant Magalie, to recruit a live-in carer to help him. Driss, a candidate, has no ambitions to get hired. He is just there to get a signature showing he was interviewed and rejected in order to continue to receive his welfare benefits. He is extremely casual and shamelessly flirts with Magalie. He is told to come back the next morning to get his signed letter. Driss goes back to the tiny flat that he shares with his extended family in a bleak Parisian suburb. His aunt, exasperated from not hearing from him for six months, orders him to leave the flat.

The next day, Driss returns to Philippe's mansion and learns to his surprise he is on a trial period for the live-in carer job. He learns the extent of Philippe's disability and then accompanies Philip in every moment of his life, discovering with astonishment a completely different lifestyle. A friend of Philippe's reveals to Philippe Driss' criminal record which includes six months in jail for robbery. Philippe states he does not care about Driss' past as long as he does his current job properly.

Over time, Driss and Philippe become closer. Driss dutifully takes care of his boss, who frequently suffers from psychosomatic pain. Philippe discloses to Driss he became disabled following a paragliding accident and that his wife died very young.

Gradually, Philippe is led by Driss to put some order in his private life, including being more strict with his adopted daughter Elisa, who behaves like a spoiled child with the staff. Driss discovers modern art and opera and suddenly decides to paint.

For Philippe's birthday, a private concert of classical music is performed in his living room. At first very reluctant, Driss is led by Philippe to listen more carefully to the music and opens up to Philippe's music. Driss then plays the music he likes to Philippe (Earth, Wind and Fire).

Driss discovers that Philippe has a purely epistolary relationship with a woman called Eleonore, who lives in Dunkirk. Driss encourages him to meet her but Philippe fears her reaction when she discovers his disability. Driss eventually convinces Philippe to talk to Eleonore on the phone. Philippe agrees with Driss to send a photo of him in a wheelchair to her, but he hesitates and asks his aide, Yvonne, to send a picture of him as he was before his accident. A date between Eleonore and Philippe is agreed. At the last minute Philippe is too scared to meet Eleonore and leaves with his aide Yvonne before she arrives. Philippe then calls Driss and invites him to travel with him in his private jet for a paragliding week-end. Philippe gives Driss an envelope containing 11 000 euros, the amount he was able to get for Driss's painting, which he shamelessly sold to one of his friends, by saying it was from an up-and-coming artist.

Adama, the younger brother of Driss, who is in trouble with a gang, takes refuge in Philippe's mansion. Driss comes clean about his family and reveals his secret wounds. Philippe eventually advises Driss, who "may not want to push a wheelchair all his life", to seek work elsewhere.

Driss returns to his suburbs, joining his friends, and manages to help his little brother. Due to his new professional experience, he lands a job in a transport company. In the meantime Philippe has hired carers to replace Driss but he isn't happy with any of them. His morale is very low and he stops taking care of himself. Yvonne is worried and contacts Driss. Driss arrives and decides to drive Philippe in the Maserati and the action comes back to the first scene of the film, the police chase. After they have eluded the police, Driss takes Philippe straight to the seaside. Driss and Philippe arrive at a restaurant with a great view of the ocean. Driss suddenly leaves the table and says good luck to him for his meeting. Philippe does not understand but a few seconds later Eleonore arrives. Philippe looks outside and sees Driss walking along the seawalk, smiling at him.


The film won the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix award given to the best film at the Tokyo International Film Festival and the Award for Best Actor to both Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy in 2011.

Omar Sy received the César Award for Best Actor on 24 February 2012 for the role of Driss (defeating Jean Dujardin, nominated for The Artist). He is the first actor of African descent to receive this award.

In the United States, a review published in Variety finds the movie "offensive", "which flings about the kind of Uncle Tom racism one hopes has permanently exited American screens". In the film Driss (Omar Sy) is of Senegalese descent. Most French journalists do not understand such an interpretation and highlight the cultural issue that America has with anything linked to ethnicity.

The Weinstein Company has acquired rights of the film in English-speaking countries, Scandinavian countries, China and US remake rights.

The Cast

François Cluzet as Philippe
 Omar Sy as Driss
 Anne Le Ny as Yvonne
 Audrey Fleurot as Magalie
 Clotilde Mollet as Marcelle
 Alba Gaïa Kraghede Bellugi as Elisa
 Cyril Mendy as Adama
 Christian Ameri as Albert
 Grégoire Oestermann as Antoine

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Color Psychology

 Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions. - Pablo Picasso
Do you feel anxious in a yellow room? Does the color blue make you feel calm and relaxed? Artists and interior designers have long understood how color can dramatically affect moods, feelings and emotions. It is a powerful communication tool and can be used to signal action, influence mood, and cause physiological reactions. Certain colors can raise blood pressure, increase metabolism, or cause eyestrain.
Of course, your feelings about color can also be deeply personal and are often rooted in your own experience or culture. For example, while the color white is used in many Western countries to represent purity and innocence, it is seen as a symbol of mourning in many Eastern countries.
Why is color such a powerful force in our lives? What effects can it have on our bodies and minds? Continue reading to further explore the history of color including how it's used, the effects it may have and some of the most recent research on color psychology.


What Is Color?

In 1666, English scientist Sir Isaac Newton discovered that when pure white light passes through a prism, it separates into all of the visible colors. Newton also found that each color is made up of a single wavelength and cannot be separated any further into other colors.
Further experiments demonstrated that light could be combined to form other colors. For example, red light mixed with yellow light creates an orange color. Some colors, such as yellow and purple, cancel each other out when mixed and result in a white light.
If you have ever painted, then you have probably noticed how certain colors can be mixed to create other colors. Marion Boddy-Evans,'s Guide to Painting, has an excellent overview of color theory basics including how different colors can be mixed.

Color Psychology - The Psychological Effects of Color

While perceptions of color are somewhat subjective, there are some color effects that have universal meaning. Colors in the red area of the color spectrum are known as warm colors and include red, orange and yellow. These warm colors evoke emotions ranging from feelings of warmth and comfort to feelings of anger and hostility.
Colors on the blue side of the spectrum are known as cool colors and include blue, purple and green. These colors are often described as calm, but can also call to mind feelings of sadness or indifference.

Color Psychology as Therapy

Several ancient cultures, including the Egyptians and Chinese, practiced chromotherapy, or using colors to heal. Chromotherapy is sometimes referred to as light therapy or colourology and is still used today as a holistic or alternative treatment.
In this treatment:

  • Red
    Red is thought to be linked to the base chakra and the spine, hips and legs. It's thought to stimulate and boost physical energy, strengthen willpower, increase circulation, clear congestion and is linked with sexuality. Too much red may overstimulate and possibly promote anger or aggressiveness.
  • Orange
    Orange is thought to encourage joy, socializing and optimism, which is why it's considered useful for depression or sadness. Orange is associated with the sacral chakra and it's believed to benefit the kidneys, urinary tract and the reproductive organs. Too much orange is thought to lead to tiredness, pessimism and confusion.
  • Yellow
    Yellow is associated with the solar plexus chakra. An imbalance in the solar plexus chakra is thought to promote fear, apprehension, confusion, lack of determination, introversion or power issues, which this color is believed to balance. Yellow is associated with the intellect and mental processes and is uplifting. The solar plexus chakra is also thought to influence the digestive system. Too much yellow is believed to lead to poor concentration and hyperactivity.
  • Green
    Green is a color that's thought to encourage emotional stability, purity and calmness. It's related to the heart chakra, so it's believed to help with emotional issues, such as love, forgiveness, trust and compassion. An imbalance in the heart chakra is associated with fear of relationships, mistrust, jealousy, isolation and insecurity.
  • Blue
    Blue is related to the throat chakra and is said to be connected to the throat and lungs. It's thought to enhance verbal expression and communication, artistic expression and willpower. It's a calming color and is believed to help insomnia, anxiety, throat problems, high blood pressure, migraine and skin irritation.
  • Indigo
    Indigo is associated with the third eye chakra, located between the eyes, and is related to the eyes and the lower part of the head. It's said to encourage greater intuition and strengthen the lymph system, immune system and help purify and cleanse the body.
  • Purple or Violet
    Purple, or violet, is associated with the crown chakra, which is at the top of the head. It's thought to encourage spirituality, intuition, wisdom, mastery and mental strength and focus. Too much purple is thought to promote pride and arrogance.
  • Most psychologists view color therapy with skepticism and point out that the supposed effects of color have been exaggerated. Colors also have different meanings in different cultures. Research has demonstrated in many cases that the mood-altering effects of color may only be temporary. A blue room may initially cause feelings of calm, but the effect dissipates after a short period of time.
    Studies have also shown that certain colors can have an impact on performance. Exposing students to the color red prior to an exam has been shown to have a negative impact on test performance. More recently, researchers discovered that the color red causes people to react with greater speed and force, something that might prove useful during athletic activities.

     Note: This information should be used for education only and should not be used to diagnose or treat disease. There is no evidence that color therapy can be used to treat, alone or in conjunction with standard therapy, any condition or disease. If you have any symptoms, please see your primary care provider.

    Friday, 13 April 2012

    The Innkeepers (2011)

    The Innkeepers is a 2011 horror film written, directed, and edited by Ti West, starring Kelly McGillis, Pat Healy and Sara Paxton.

    The Plot

    During the final days at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, two employees determined to reveal the hotel's haunted past begin to experience disturbing events as old guests check in for a stay.


    The Innkeepers has received generally good reviews from critics. As of 3rd February 2012, the film has a 76% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes with 61 out of 80 reviews counted, with consensus "It doesn't break any rules of the genre, but The Inkeepers serves as additional proof that Ti West is a young director that discriminating horror fans can trust". David Harley of horror movie review site Bloody Disgusting gave the film three skulls out of five saying that "once the tone shifts from light-hearted comedy to balls-to-the-wall horror, it makes the two halves feel like separate films" and that The Innkeepers is "just kind of disappointing". Others gave the film more favorable reviews, with Life After Undeath giving the film 8 out of 10 and saying that "it is a slow burn with a wicked punch and it is creepier than that one eyed whore with the deep voice you always avoid on your way back from the 'massage' parlor". gave the film a largely negative review stating that "nothing happens for a VERY long time, other than the old tried, tested, overdone and predictable jump scenes, and for a film that is over 100mins long, that isn’t good."

    The Cast

    Sara Paxton as Claire
     Pat Healy as Luke
     Alison Bartlett as Gayle, Angry Mom
     Jake Ryan as Jake Schlueter
     Kelly McGillis as Leanne Rease-Jones
     Lena Dunham as Barista
     George Riddle as Old Man
     Brenda Cooney as Madeline O'Malley
     John Speredakos as Officer Mitchell

    Thursday, 12 April 2012

    Wrath of the Titans (2012)

    Wrath of the Titans is a 2012 American fantasy film and sequel to the 2010 film Clash of the Titans. The film stars Sam Worthington, Rosamund Pike, Bill Nighy, Édgar Ramírez, Toby Kebbell, Danny Huston, Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson with Jonathan Liebesman directing a screenplay by Dan Mazeau and David Leslie Johnson. Wrath of the Titans takes place a decade after the events of the first film as the gods lose control over the imprisoned Titans and Perseus is called once again, this time to rescue his father Zeus, overthrow the Titans and save mankind.

    Talk of a sequel began with the release of Clash of the Titans in March 2010. Scribes Dan Mazeau and David Leslie Johnson were hired in June 2010 and director Jonathan Liebesman was brought on-board in August 2010. The majority of the casting took place between January and February 2011. Principal photography began in London in March 2011. The film was converted to 3D in post-production. Wrath of the Titans was released in 2D and 3D on March 30, 2012 in the United States.

    The Plot

    Ten years after he defeated The Kraken, Perseus (Sam Worthington), the demigod son of Zeus (Liam Neeson), now lives as a fisherman with his 10-year-old son, Heleus (John Bell). One night, Perseus is visited by Zeus, who tells him that the powers of the gods are fading and the walls of the underworld prison of Tartarus are breaking due to the lack of devotion from humans and states they will need the world's armies to combat the potential threat, but Perseus shows little interest and refuses to get involved. Afterwards, Zeus travels to Tartarus to meet with his brothers Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Poseidon (Danny Huston), and his son Ares (Edgar Ramirez). He tells Hades they must forget the past and unite to rebuild Tartarus, but Hades orders his minions to attack. They severely injure Poseidon, and Ares betrays Zeus over showing Perseus more affection, taking him prisoner and stealing his thunderbolt. Hades and Ares plan to drain Zeus' power to revive Kronos, the father of Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon, in exchange for the two to remain immortal.

    The walls of Tartarus break, unleashing monsters into the world. After slaying a Chimera that attacks his village, Perseus then takes Heleus to the Mount of Idols, so they can speak to Zeus, but the dying Poseidon arrives instead. He informs Perseus that Hades and Ares are holding Zeus in Tartarus, and tells him to meet with his demigod son Agenor (Toby Kebbell) to find the fallen god Hephaestus, who knows the way into Tartarus. Poseidon gives Perseus his trident before succumbing to his injuries and crumbling into dust.

    Perseus flies on Pegasus to the campsite of Queen Andromeda's army. Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) has imprisoned Agenor for stealing crown jewels, but Perseus has him released. Perseus, Andromeda, Agenor, and a group of soldiers set out at sea to find Hephaestus, with Agenor explaining that Hephaestus created the three great weapons that Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon wield: Zeus’ Thunderbolt, Hades' Pitchfork, and Poseidon’s Trident, and that together they form the Spear of Triam, the only weapon that can defeat Kronos. Agenor uses Poseidon's trident to direct the boat to Hephaestus's island, where they encounter three Cyclopes who attack them. When Perseus shows them the trident, they lead the group to Hephaestus (Bill Nighy), the smith god, stripped of much of his godly power after siding with Hades after he betrayed the Olympians ten years prior. He explains that he has a map to navigate the path into Tartarus. He leads them to the door into the Labyrinth, where they are attacked by Ares after a soldier prayed for him to come. Ares kills most of the soldiers while Hephaestus opens the door. Hephaestus then sacrifices himself so that Perseus, Andromeda, and Agenor can enter the door before it closes. Agenor tries to use the map to direct them, but the labyrinth continually shifts. Perseus gets cut off from the group and encounters and kills a Minotaur. Eventually, The group reunites at Tartarus.

    Meanwhile, Zeus has been almost entirely drained of power and close to death as Kronos starts to awaken. Zeus apologizes to Hades and asks his forgiveness as he forgives Hades for his actions. Hades has a change of heart and finally decides to help Zeus and the human army, but Ares intervenes. Perseus arrives and uses the trident to free Zeus. As they are escaping, Ares throws Hades's pitchfork into Zeus's back.

    Perseus, Andromeda, Agenor and Hades carry a weakened Zeus down to the base of the mountain where Andromeda's army is gathered. Perseus combines the trident and Hades’ pitchfork, but he still needs Zeus's thunderbolt, which Ares still has. Perseus prays to Ares, challenging him to a fight at the Temple of Gods, which Ares accepts. At the temple, Perseus finds out Ares has kidnapped Heleus, who was brought to watch Perseus die. Ares easily subdues Perseus, but is distracted when Heleus tries to challenge him by pointing a sword at him, giving Perseus the opportunity to subdue him. Perseus then destroys Ares with Zeus's Thunderbolt and combines the gods' weapons into the Spear of Triam. Meanwhile, Andromeda's army is subdued by Kronos' army of Makhai, but a redeemed Hades and a revived Zeus use what power they have left to defeat the army, who have murdered almost all of Andromeda's men. Kronos then appears and starts to destroy them, in which Zeus and Hades defend them and at the same time are giving Perseus the opportunity to fly right down Kronos' throat. Kronos lets out one last blast, and Zeus takes the brunt of the force to protect Hades. Perseus throws the Spear into Kronos' stomach, destroying him once and for all.

    Perseus meets with Zeus and Hades. Zeus commends Perseus for his courage, stating that the time of the gods is over before turning to dust. Hades is now human, though he states he might be better as one before walking away. Perseus reunites with Andromeda and kisses her. Knowing that their are still Titans to battle, Perseus decides to train Heleus to be a soldier.


    Wrath of the Titans has received generally unfavorable reviews from film critics. Metacritic assigned the film an average score of 37/100 based on reviews from 32 critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 23% approval rating with an average rating of 4.4/10, based on an aggregation of 144 reviews and offers the consensus; "Its 3D effects are an improvement over its predecessor's, but in nearly every other respect, Wrath of the Titans fails to improve upon the stilted acting, wooden dialogue, and chaos-driven plot of the franchise's first installment".

    Andrew Barker of Variety gave the film a positive review, saying, "The Clash of the Titans franchise has matured ever so slightly with Wrath of the Titans, hewing incrementally more faithfully to its Greek origins and trimming the fat in essential places". Richard Corliss of Time magazine wrote, "Wrath [of the Titans] radiates the straight-forward, straight-faced pleasures of the mytho-muscular epics, like Hercules and Jason and the Argonauts, produced in Europe a half-century ago". Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly commented, "For a movie that's basically all warmed-over pseudo-mythology and special effects, Wrath of the Titans is certainly more fun, in its solemnly junky way, than John Carter. It may also be a little more fun than its cheeseball predecessor, the 2010 remake of Clash of the Titans".

    However, Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter called it, "A relentlessly mechanical piece of work that will not or cannot take the imaginative leaps to yield even fleeting moments of awe, wonder or charm". Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times remarked, "It lacks a comprehensible story, and you won't need your CliffsNotes on the Greek myths. You get an idea of who the major players are, and then they spend a modest amount of time shouting laughable dialogue at one another while being all but forced off the screen by special effects.". Mark Olsen of the Los Angeles Times criticized, "Directed this time out by Jonathan Liebesman, the film lacks inspiration or zest in storytelling, performance or action. This is pure product, a movie desperately without energy or enthusiasm of any kind".

    The Cast

    Sam Worthington as Perseus
     Liam Neeson as Zeus
     Ralph Fiennes as Hades
     Édgar Ramírez as Ares
     Toby Kebbell as Agenor
     Rosamund Pike as Andromeda
     Bill Nighy as Hephaestus
     Danny Huston as Poseidon
     John Bell as Helius
     Lily James as Korrina
     Alejandro Naranjo as Mantius
     Freddy Drabble as Apollo
     Kathryn Carpenter as Athena
    Sinéad Cusack as Clea

    Saturday, 7 April 2012

    Sigmund Freud: Unconscious Mental Processes

    "We are effectively cognitive icebergs with most of our 'thoughts' occurring below the water line."

    Treating neuroses

    Frau Emmy von N. was one of the earliest patients to be treated with the nascent techniques of psychoanalysis. Frau Emmy suffered from a series of tics, some facial, the most obvious of which was a loud 'clacking' noise. To Freud the symptoms she showed were typical of hysteria and he soon set about treating her with his strange new methods.
    "Talking to a patient? What good could that do?"And what strange methods they were. He talked to her. Talking to a patient? What good could that do? He hypnotised her and soon she began to speak of her frightening experiences - being a maidservant in an asylum, nursing her dying brother. Then Freud did something more unusual. He let her give full vent to her emotion. Later, after she had calmed down a little, she seemed better...
    What then did these past events in Frau Emmy's life signal to Freud? What was the connection to her current symptoms? At this time Freud had begun to develop a theory that physical symptoms could be caused by thoughts not available to the conscious mind. His treatment - the talking, the hypnosis, the hand on the forehead, the free association, the couch - all were designed to try and access this so-called 'unconscious' world, to find the root-cause of distress. Once this root-cause could be identified and explained, Freud thought, the physical and psychological symptoms would be alleviated (Breuer & Freud, 1893).

    The cognitive unconscious

    "We are effectively cognitive icebergs with most of our 'thoughts' occurring below the water line."It was in Freud's work 'Project for a Scientific Psychology' (Freud, 1895) that he first laid down the radical (at the time) idea that cognitive processes are intrinsically unconscious. We are effectively cognitive icebergs with most of our 'thoughts' occurring below the water line, out of conscious perception.
    The fact that this idea is no longer considered radical is testament to the last few decades of research which have shown the importance of unconscious processes. We now have abundant evidence for unconscious processes in the operation of memory, affect, attitudes and motivation (Westen, 1998).
    And so, far from being unscientific and untestable, Freud's theory of unconscious mental processes was incredibly prescient. It laid the ground for some of the most important lines of research in psychology today. Research that tells us more and more about what it means to be human.

     These videos are from a documentary about his work and life: