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Khokhlov N.A., Fyodorova E.D. (2021). Neuropsychology of the unconscious: current state of the problem. National Psychological Journal, [Natsional’nyy psikhologicheskiy zhurnal], 2021, (41)1, 127-148. doi: 10.11621/npj.2021.0111


Introduction. The sphere of the unconscious includes many phenomena that have a strong influence on human behaviour and cognitive activity. Although the importance of taking into account the unconscious is evident to most psychotherapists, its role is visibly underestimated in neuropsychology. In this regard, the present state of research on brain organization of unconscious processes is of interest.

Objective. The review aims to describe the current state of research on brain mechanisms of the unconscious. 

Procedure. The present paper describes a variety of unconscious phenomena. It also outlines widespread points of view on the correlation between consciousness and unconscious and discusses the freewill problem. The question posed is whether the research programme of neuropsychology allows studying the unconscious phenomena. The study analyses the subject matter of neuropsychology and discusses the historical change of A.R. Luria’s views on psychology of the unconscious. The paper describes the studies of brain mechanisms underlying a variety of unconscious manifestations that have been conducted within different psychological schools. The aim is to consider the essential principles of neuropsychological research of the unconscious.

Conclusion. In foreign neuroscience there are numerous studies in the field of brain mechanisms of unconscious processes. Up to now, the leading positions in the sphere are taken by neuropsychoanalysis and cognitive neuroscience. In Russian neuropsychology the unconscious is barely investigated because it does not comply with the traditional research object, that is, the higher mental functions. However, in the current conditions, the research programme of neuropsychology allows studying the unconscious. The paper highlights the advantages of investigating the unconscious phenomena from the neuropsychological standpoint considering its evolutionary purpose.

Received: 05/07/2020
Accepted: 12/14/2020
Pages: 127-148
DOI: 10.11621/npj.2021.0111

Sections: Neuropsychology;


Keywords: research programme; neuropsychoanalysis; cognitive unconscious; freewill; readiness potential; evolutionary neuropsychology

Available Online 30.03.2021

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For citing this article:

Khokhlov N.A., Fyodorova E.D. (2021). Neuropsychology of the unconscious: current state of the problem. National Psychological Journal, [Natsional’nyy psikhologicheskiy zhurnal], 2021, (41)1, 127-148. doi: 10.11621/npj.2021.0111

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