Why is Table Difference Between Conscious and Preconscious

May 20, 2023
Difference Between Conscious and Preconscious

Conscious and Preconscious: Consciousness and Unconsciousness differ significantly in many ways. Consciousness involves awareness, intentionality, and responsiveness while Unconsciousness refers to being unaware or doing things unknowingly. Civilizations such as Hindus have acknowledged an unconscious mind for millennia through Vedas that detail it extensively. Our interpretations of what is good or bad often mislead our conscious brain causing issues within society as whole; the unconscious mind often does not see events through its eyes but remains nonobjective due to rigid frames and judgments we create within us due to nonobjectivity within rigid frames and judgments created within us by humans themselves causing problems within society – here we explore many differences between conscious and unconscious minds! In this article we will look at many differences between conscious and unconscious minds so we can discuss many differences between both.

What is Conscious?

Figure-no-01: Conscious

Consciousness is rational and logical, responding appropriately to various situations. It’s important to keep in mind that the conscious and unconscious minds are unaware of each other; our conscious mind teaches us many skills, which cannot all fit within its capacity so much of it gets transferred over to our unconscious minds and stored there until needed by our conscious ones again. Some believe our emotions come from our unconscious mind when in reality our conscious mind controls all of them – training the latter can help manage many emotional problems more efficiently than trying harder at controlling our conscious one so by training our conscious one to think differently so we can deal with emotional problems more efficiently than ever before!

What is Preconscious?

Figure-no-02: Preconscious

The greatest achievers in history possess minds free of biases and judgments; thus enabling them to see things for what they are without any filter. Furthermore, these individuals had learned how to tap into their unconscious minds for creativity purposes. Unconscious minds differ significantly from conscious ones and perceive only what lies beyond. Unconscious communication occurs before verbal dialogue even starts taking place; nonverbal exchange often precedes verbal exchange. The unconscious mind recognizes smiles on faces and triggers them in our conscious mind to smile back, providing intuitive and spontaneous responses from within us all.

Unconscious minds play an instrumental role in learning processes; our conscious minds may struggle to understand complex theories. An effortless learning curve may appear to exist for cycling, with most of the learning occurring unconsciously due to conscious brain limitations in terms of maintaining balance, eye-hand coordination and scanning obstacles at once. Once we master cycling, the knowledge is stored away in our subconscious minds.

Many individuals who had not cycled in over 40-50 years were still able to ride easily at the end of their lives because their unconscious mind had stored all the knowledge. Our conscious minds cannot keep pace with all of the physiological responses from various parts of our bodies, while our unconscious minds regulate systems such as our nervous and circulatory systems, breathing system, urinary and reproductive systems and more.

What is the Difference between Conscious and Unconscious Behaviors?

  1. Our conscious minds tend to be sequential and logical when processing information quickly; while our unconscious minds tend to be more spontaneous.
  2. The unconscious mind multitasks more easily than the conscious one.
  3. Unconscious thought processes tend to connect many ideas and thoughts together while conscious minds tend to think in linear and cause-and-effect terms.
  4. The unconscious mind understands why certain events occur while conscious mind searches for it.
  5. Conscious minds tend to be analytical while the unconscious ones perceive and experience things more deeply.
  6. Dreams, reflections, meditation and sleep all involve our unconscious mind.
  7. The unconscious mind moves parts of the body without exerting effort, while conscious mind must exert effort.


Aspect Consciousness Preconsciousness
Awareness High awareness of self and external environment Limited awareness, below conscious attention
Attention Focused attention Less focused attention
Voluntary Control Ability to exert intentional control Less voluntary control, more automatic and involuntary
Accessible Knowledge Immediate and easily retrievable information Information readily available but not currently in focus
Subjective Experience Involves subjective awareness and experience Lacks subjective awareness or experience
Mental Processes Deliberate and conscious thinking and actions Automatic and preconscious mental activities
Examples Engaged conversation, solving complex problems Automatic behaviors, implicit memory, priming effects

Importance of understanding the difference between consciousness and preconsciousness

Understanding the difference between preconsciousness and consciousness is vitally important for many reasons.

  1. Self-Awareness : Being aware of their mental processes requires being conscious of both preconsciousness and consciousness influences on them, such as emotions, thoughts and behaviors that result from them; being conscious can give individuals greater insight into themselves for deeper self-reflection and personal growth.
  2. Understanding consciousness and preconsciousness in therapeutic settings is essential: Psychoanalysis and therapeutic approaches use the preconscious to examine subconscious desires which may contribute to psychological distress. Individuals can address unresolved issues by bringing preconscious material to conscious awareness.
  3. Decision: making involves an intricate interaction between conscious and unconscious processes. Being aware of these dynamics can help individuals become more conscious of preconscious biases or gut feelings that could impact their decisions, leading them to make more rational and informed choices.
  4. Memory and Learning: Conscious and unconscious processes play an integral part in retrieval and formation of memories, so understanding their impact on processes like implicit memory storage or priming can provide opportunities to optimize educational strategies.
  5. Marketing and Advertising: Marketers often rely on preconscious processes to influence consumer behaviour, so learning to differentiate between preconciousness and conscious awareness will enable people to make better choices by becoming aware of advertising techniques used.
  6. Meditation and Mindfulness: Meditation and mindfulness practices aim to cultivate awareness of the present moment while distancing from preconscious thoughts. Understanding the difference between preconsciousness and consciousness is crucial in developing mindfulness skills.

Understanding the distinction between preconsciousness and consciousness allows us to appreciate the depth of human cognition, recognize hidden influences, and make better choices. Doing so promotes mental health, opens doors for personal and professional growth, and enhances self-awareness.

Freud’s Theory of Mind

Freud used a metaphor of an iceberg to describe his theory of mind. An iceberg stands as a representation of human awareness – only seeing what’s visible at first glance but unaware of deeper levels beneath.

  • Freud suggested that an iceberg is representative of human thought; its hidden depths represent our subconscious minds while its visible tip represents conscious ones.
  • Unconscious thought processes are complex and mysterious – no one knows just how much is lurking there.
  • Pre-conscious is another area, comprising of that portion of an iceberg which lies mostly submerged underwater yet remains visible on top. It is commonly known as “pre-conscious.”
  • Relationship The conscious and preconscious minds are interlinked in many ways. A person’s conscious mind encompasses all that can be experienced directly.
  • Preconscious information refers to what a person knows but doesn’t use regularly; when needed, their preconscious can push this information out into their conscious minds for use.
  • An example of a password would be for a website. It would be strange for someone to think constantly about their favorite website’s password while going about their daily business.
  • As people visit various websites, their conscious minds access and retrieve information stored within their subconscious.
  • The conscious mind, while limited in capacity and more focused on short-term issues, contains almost unlimited memory storage and information that can be accessed as necessary.
  • Preconscious information will usually surface into conscious memories when one makes an effortful attempt to recall it.
  • Preconscious acts as a filter between our conscious mind and relevant data; it ensures our thoughts remain logical and coherent.

What Are the Differentiations Between Consciousness and Preconsciousness?

Research and human experience offer ample examples of how the difference between preconsciousness and consciousness manifests itself in everyday life. Here are a few.

Therapy and Psychoanalysis:

  • Psychoanalysis often examines the preconscious to identify unconscious desires and thoughts which influence conscious behavior and emotions.
  • Hypnosis or dream analysis techniques are designed to access subconscious material and gain insight into psychological issues.

Marketing and Advertising Techniques:

  • Marketers use preconscious cues to influence consumer behaviors.
  • Subliminal advertising offers another effective means of targeting the preconscious mind- subliminal images or messages presented below the threshold for conscious awareness.

Mindfulness and Meditation Practices:

  • Mindfulness is the practice of cultivating conscious awareness in the present moment, increasing our capacity to observe thoughts, feelings and sensations as they occur.
  • Mindfulness can help us gain greater awareness of preconscious thoughts, automatic reactions and feelings.

Memory and Forgetting:

  • Our conscious minds play an integral part in memory and forgetting.
  • Preconscious memories can be activated through retrieval cues or triggers.
  • “Forgetting” refers to when information remains stored in one’s subconscious but is never brought forth to consciousness consciously for recall, but is retained without being actively remembered consciously.

Conscious Decision-Making

  • Good decision making requires thoughtful consideration and evaluation of potential options before reaching a conclusion.
  • Subtle influences such as gut reactions or intuitive responses can also have an effect on decision-making processes.
  • Cognitive Priming Priming is when exposure to one stimulus triggers subsequent responses that are related, often subconsciously.
  • Priming participants to behave more pleasantly can be accomplished by encouraging them with words associated with politeness.
  • Sleep and Dreams Dreams often emerge when our subconscious minds become more active while sleeping.
  • Dreams can provide insight into a person’s emotions and thoughts by uncovering unconscious or preconscious material.


Consciousness is our awareness of ourselves and the world around us, necessitating high awareness, focused attention and the ability to deliberately control thoughts and actions. Consciousness can also be described as subjective experience as it provides direct awareness of feelings, thoughts and perceptions through both awake and altered states of awareness.

Preconsciousness refers to mental functions that exist beneath the threshold for conscious awareness, yet can easily be brought to the fore if brought into focus. A preconscious state is distinguished by limited levels of awareness and attention compared with conscious states; actions performed under its control tend to be involuntary without conscious control. Furthermore, automatic behavior, implicit memory storage, priming effects are examples of such processes.

Preconscious information refers to knowledge that we access but may not be aware of; consciousness refers to personal experience while preconsciousness lacks this feature.