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Talvitie, V. Ihanus, J. (2002). The Repressed and Implicit Knowledge. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 83(6):1311-1323.

(2002). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 83(6):1311-1323

The Repressed and Implicit Knowledge

Vesa Talvitie and Juhani Ihanus

The distinction between implicit (non-conscious) and explicit (conscious) knowledge made by cognitive scientists is applied to the psychoanalytic idea of repressed contents. The consequences of repression are suggested to have been caused by implicit representations. Repressed memories can also be treated in terms of explicit representations, which are prevented from becoming activated. Implicit knowledge cannot, however, be made conscious, and thus the idea of becoming conscious of the repressed desires and fears that have never been conscious is contradictory. This tension may be relieved by reconceptualising the idea of becoming conscious of the repressed. It is suggested that this could be seen as creating explicit knowledge about the effects of implicit representations. By applying the implicit/explicit knowledge distinction, psychoanalytic ideas concerning the repressed could be connected to current views in the domain of cognitive orientation.

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