I am reading this intriguing book titled Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts (2014) by Stanislas Dehaene. In one of the chapters he talks about how the brain has natural division of labor, by which he meant that the unconscious brain would be doing the math, or the hard work and generating probabilities, and then the conscious brain would collapse the probabilities and choose the most elegant or beneficial one to the specific situation.

My question is regarding the vocabulistics of the unconscious brain, or the tools employed by it. Does the unconscious brain have very "set in stone" tools or do these tools for information processing increase and evolve as we learn more. However, wouldn't that mean that the conscious processing was inturn leading to the evolution of the unconscious, and for the lack of a better word, a trickle down effect?


closed as too broad by Arnon Weinberg, AliceD, Robin Kramer, Chris Rogers, Keno Feb 20 '17 at 5:03

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to CogSci. Trickle-down evolution? I've heard of trickle down economics, but that's new to me. ;) $\endgroup$ – Christian Hummeluhr Mar 29 '15 at 9:03
  • $\begingroup$ That's certainly true for knowledge. For example, if you consciously learn that a behavior is not advisable (Don't eat yellow snow!), this link will become part of your associative network. Also for motor learning, it is clear that complex behaviors (such as driving a car) are difficult conscious processes at first but become automatized over time. For tools, it may depend on what you mean with this term. If you think about cognitive operations than may be not. If it's complex info patterns then yes. Think of chess players who learn to quickly recognize and apply complex chess configurations. $\endgroup$ – user7759 Mar 29 '15 at 11:38
  • $\begingroup$ The question may be to broad. Just for the knowledge-part of the question, there are big models on how this works. As an example: psychology.northwestern.edu/documents/bodenhausen-attitude.pdf $\endgroup$ – user7759 Mar 29 '15 at 11:42
  • $\begingroup$ @ChristianHummeluhr No i just made it up to extrapolate the idea of trickle down economics to consciousness because trickle down economics or evolution seemed to explain my thoughts $\endgroup$ – sanster9292 Mar 29 '15 at 15:19
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    $\begingroup$ @ChristianHummeluhr It is a curious phrase and i thought it elucidated my idea well $\endgroup$ – sanster9292 Mar 29 '15 at 16:53