The Freud Museum


Is there any scientific evidence for the unconscious?

Decades of research conducted beyond the couch have lent overwhelming support to the notion that most mental processes take place outside of conscious awareness. Opinion is divided as to whether there is any scientific evidence for the Freudian unconscious, or indeed what would constitute evidence for something that, by definition, cannot be observed. Some scientists working in the field of psychological research have produced findings that seem to corroborate aspects of Freud's theory, but many psychoanalysts reject the idea that the unconscious is an entity that can be observed in test conditions: like the 'dark matter' of theoretical physics, it is a necessary inference rather than an observable phenomenon.

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