more from Georges Rey

Single Idea 3162

[catalogued under 16. Persons / C. Self-Awareness / 4. Errors in Introspection]

Full Idea

Experiments have shown (Nisbett and Wilson 1977) that people's introspective knowledge is a lot less reliable than they suppose. People are sensitive to but entirely unaware of many factors that influence their social behaviour.

Gist of Idea

Experiments prove that people are often unaware of their motives


Georges Rey (Contemporary Philosophy of Mind [1997], 3.2.2)

Book Reference

Rey,Georges: 'Contemporary Philosophy of Mind' [Blackwell 1997], p.84

A Reaction

This type of observation rests on an overemphasis on the conscious mind. We are not conscious of liver events, or of deep buried brain events, both of which motivate us. We should only expect introspection to reveal what is fully conscious.