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A new book reveals the day-to-day working of our unconscious

Before You Know It is an arresting introduction to the workaday mysteries of the unconscious

By Antonio Melechi   February 2018

In the autumn of 2006, John Bargh, a social and cognitive psychologist at Yale, dreamed that he was being followed though a swamp by an alligator. Bargh was already an expert on unconscious thinking and automatic behaviour and had conducted many experiments, but his eureka moment came when the beast in his dream flipped over to reveal its underside.

“The white belly of the alligator,” Bargh writes, “was the unconscious, and it was telling me that… our basic human psychological and behavioural systems were originally unconscious, and they existed before the…

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