John Bargh: the mind – How the unconscious of us controls

“The unconscious has a strong and often invisible to our behavior, sometimes even to the fearsome way. It’s not just the people we are, but also our future, I and the goals that we will achieve shapes.“

Table of contents

The unconscious is a Autopilot

We can’t even remember actively in our critical coinages of the first years of life. The unconscious mind works like an Autopilot. Studies have shown that even for rational support students ‘ positive about people to talk to, if you hold a Cup of warm coffee in Hand instead of a cold drink. Small children sucking on cultural influences on, without you later and dig so deep that you fall back as an adult even if you reject them consciously.

The evolutionary urge in the modern world

People are equipped, Bargh, with internal drives that have developed in the very early periods of our evolutionary history. The consciousness is not in the centre of our actions, but we would largely operate unconsciously. The strongest evolutionary drive to protect ourselves physically and to survive, embossing our actions as Beliefs and unconscious. So we made our decisions in fraction of seconds. This is useful, because conscious Thinking and Action in extreme situations, the Evolution is too slow would have been. However, this unconscious Thinking and the pitfalls of Action, because it leads to lens misconceptions and stereotypes, Bargh.

Our technical development verläuuft according to Bargh much faster than our evolutionary-biological adaptation: “the fact that our unconscious biases are shaped in a far more dangerous and long-past world, and this are well-adapted to a world in which extreme cold and heat, droughts, and famines, hostile fellow human beings and wild animals, harmful bacteria and poisonous plant life threatened easily.”

Political values and evolutionary goals

Therefore, the need for security was fundamental, and have a powerful influence on our values, norms, and actions in modern life. This makes, for example, in political elections is noticeable. So Roosevelt had to overcome, such as Obama Barack, the fear of societal change. According to Bargh people would be more conservative and opposed to changes, when they feel threatened. It is much easier to turn a liberal into a Conservative than Vice versa. Studies have shown that you could move a liberal to conservative settings, by was fear in him. Conversely, an Experiment led, in the case of the subjects in a game invulnerable were imagined physically, to conservative settings, to the liberal converted.
Historians have found that the Belief that society was changing for the worse, is a constant, in the case of the Greeks, as with the Aztecs. As the world is, objectively speaking, not changing constantly for the worse, could be the reason for these ideas, not an objective. We would consider internal transformations, from Childhood to youth to aging to exterior changes. We are us only at the Moment of the present, about our emotional state in the Clear. Emotions were pulling in our consciousness, and held her. Older memories were associated mostly with strong emotions.

Truth and Emotion

Recent pasts would to distant pasts, and remained in the memory, because you have then drawn our attention, and strong emotions are triggered, with the objectivity that have to do little to nothing. What we thought was truth, is dependent on our emotions, when we are, for example, first angry and then quiet.

Today’s social motives and actions based on unconscious, evolutionary goals, and were in the service. According to Bargh, we should check our gut feeling, therefore, aware of and, if no time is received, at least no big risks for small targets, if our gut feeling.

Evolutionary Fears, the world view

Significantly, the importance of the Unconscious, for example, showed in a study on the evaluation of crime for the last eight years under 1800 US citizens. While Respondents who had to get in this time, children, thought that crime had increased, said those who did not have children, she was sunk. By the babies, the fear for the safety of the child was placed in the center, while the children, this fear is not loose. To protect children from potential dangers, parents need to be vigilant, and this responsibility is transferred to their view of the world, Bargh.

Shopping and emotions

Emotional States in the Unconscious act according to Bargh, what price do we pay for a commodity. We would be an object of more value, if we have it. We’re edging us in front of an object, we would sell it at a lower price than usual, in order to get rid of it. Sad to be ready for the same items to spend more money than people who are not sad. Buy Sad also help to feel better. This is demonstrated by the fact that antidepressants also lead to a moderation in the Buy.


The human memory is not, according to Bargh, only fallible. It can even be of recent experience fool you, for example, by the fact that we heard a name in the hours before often. A study showed that spouses assessed their own Work in the household is far higher than that of the other, for the sole reason that they had no recollection of what the other did while they were out of the house and on their own activities reminded. This was a point of frequent dispute: “I know exactly that I did it last week.”

The past going to a foreign country, we glorify. Almost every Generation of faith, art, music, and work ethic to be as good as before, the children are spoiled, there would be more crime, etc., – Past means Bargh, according to not only individual memory: “It is the past, the early past of our species, our unique past as a small child, we no longer remember, and our recent past, especially in the rear-view mirror of our day.”

The hidden presence

Even in the case of Korsakoff patients, there is an unconscious memory. While you can’t remember consciously what happened in the recent past, your body stores memories of unpleasant stimuli. So, patients with Korsakoff syndrome have the same pattern of – or aversion like people without this disorder, even though they have little or no memory of people and / or objects. The example of the Korsakoff patients show a fundamental mechanism: “While our conscious attention is often absorbed elsewhere, helps us, this unconscious control to decide the process, what we accept and what we reject when we stay and when we go.“

Our classifications would amount to good or bad, strong or weak, active or passive. Most importantly, the assessment in good or bad, then the potency, and the third is the vitality. In the course of Evolution, we should have first to know if something is out there good or bad for us. Would be encountered, for example, the stone age man Ötzi a Stranger, he would first need to assess whether he was good (friend) or evil (an enemy), then how much, and ultimately how fast and healthy it was. The elementary mechanisms, to approach the case for “good” and “bad” retreating, had all the animals. And they also apply to the people: “Each of us still bears the relics of the entire evolutionary history of our species.”

Effect of mere contact

The more often we came across something, the more positive we find it, writes Bargh, and it also explains the sense in it. The more often we do not see things that harm us, the more secure the points for us with no risk. Disturbs but little the known procedure, this effect immediately.


Ironically, lead the idea of a people, to act rationally, that the unconscious may even have a stronger effect. We accept, however, to have no truly free will, we could control our actions in reality, however, is better. So we could use our unconscious forces productive, by, for example, alter our environment.

Change to the environment

The best way to change the behavior, would be to change the environment. If a person wants to acquire good habits and bad, then he should remove the stimuli and opportunities which supported the bad habits from its environment. Effective self-control your were shopping the unhealthy Snacks, and if you want to reduce the alcohol, you would not fill up the bar. People with good self-control could not stand temptations in the narrow sense better than others, but would expose them less. Real self-control is with the use of less strength and effort of will connected when you Perform the desired actions.

Self-control means: In advance to do

People with good self-control would get her life in advance. Because you were unconscious means, in order to regulate itself and would make “necessary Evil”, such as sports, healthy diet or studying to become an everyday part of life – conscious self-control was, however, too exhausting and too unreliable, and prone to rationalization (“a piece of cake per day won’t hurt you”) and excuses (“I’ve had a hard day and needs to relax after work”).

Habituation is to the Unconscious

The use of external stimuli to control unwanted impulses and undesired behaviour is a powerful Instrument, which could result in significant changes in the way of life. Once a desired behavior is practiced, it’ll to the new habit and new Routine. The first weeks are the hardest, then the Whole routine over. Bargh cited the athlete Dr. George Sheehan: “The body wants to do the same as yesterday. If you are a go last night, he wants to run today. If not, he does not want it.“

The Setting determine our behavior, by far the most. In the Church, we were quiet at dinner, out of the house talkative, at the football game loud and boisterous. The fast food we would order food at the counter, in a fancy Restaurant, we wait to be led to a table.

We can the unconscious use

The psychologist concludes: “By tuning the strings of our spirit, with our intentions, we can improve our health, our peace of mind, our career and our relationships.” (Dr. Utz Anhalt)