The Unconscious Mind

Subject PSYC30012 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours
Total Time Commitment:

Estimated total time commitment for this subject is 170 hours


No prerequisites are required for this subject


No corequisites are required for this subject

Recommended Background Knowledge:

Prior coursework in at least two Level 2 psychology subjects is recommended. Level 2 psychology subjects are: Biological Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and Personality & Social Psychology.

Non Allowed Subjects:

512301 The Unconscious Mind

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards of Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit Website:


Dr Meredith Mckague


Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences

Currently enrolled students:

  • General information:
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Future students:

  • Further information:
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Subject Overview:

Ever since Freud, the unconscious mind has been a critical part of our understanding of the human mind and behaviour. Despite its power to captivate popular imagination, scientific psychology's treatment of unconsciousness has a history of vicissitudes. This subject has three main components: historical background, contemporary theory and research, and applications and implications in contemporary culture and society. First, the subject traces the historical origin and subsequent development of the idea of the unconscious mind in psychological theories and practice. In so doing, Freud's notion of unconsciousness, as well as lesser known, but critically important theorists' contributions are examined and their contemporary implications are discussed. Second, the modern methods used in the contemporary examination of unsconcious processes are introduced, and the current understanding of psychological unconsciousness is discussed from neuroscientific, perceptual, cognitive, developmental, social, and clinical perspectives. Third, we survey the uses of the scientific understanding of unconscious processes in a variety of applied contexts and explore implications of the psychological knowledge about the unconscious mind in contemporary culture and society. This includes a critical examination of the evidence for the role of unconscious processes in abnormal human behaviour and discussions about implications of the unconscious mind for identity and responsibility.

Learning Outcomes:

The subject aims to:

  • give students the opportunity to critically review theories of the unconscious throughout the history of psychology
  • evaluate the methodologies used to investigate the unconscious mind
  • interpret empirical research findings; and present a reasoned argument concerning the place of the unconscious mind in contemporary psychological theory and more broadly within contemporary culture and society

Written work of 2000 words (45%) to be submitted during semester.

Mid semester feedback assessment (10%).

An examination of no more than two hours (45%) to be completed at the end of semester during the specified University examination period.

Each piece of assessment must be completed (hurdle requirement).

Attendance of at least 80% of the laboratory classes is a hurdle requirement. In case of failure to meet the hurdle requirement, additional work will be required before a passing grade can be awarded.

Prescribed Texts:

No prescribed text. A reading pack will be made available.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students will be given appropriate opportunity and educational support to develop skills to:

  • think critically and apply analytical skills to new issues
  • appraise current knowledge and its internal structure
  • evaluate methods used to acquire current knowledge
  • appropriately interpret empirical data in the light of current knowledge and methodological considerations
  • communicate ideas concisely
Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Psychology
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Psychology
Science-credited subjects - new generation B-SCI and B-ENG.
Related Breadth Track(s): Social Behaviour and the Person

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