The Evolution of The Unconscious Processing Systems of the Human Mind

Robert Langs



The human mind has evolved in a most peculiar fashion. It’s currently agreed that the mind evolved into specialized units called modules, collections of mental capacities devoted to broad, but basic adaptive functions like perceiving, socializing, navigating in the physical world, and the like (Cosmides & Tooby, 1992, Donald, 1991, Gazzaniga, 1992, Langs, 1996a,b, Mithen, 1996, Plotkin, 1994, Slavin & Kriegman, 1992, Tooby & Comides, 1990). Studies from an adaptive viewpoint (Langs, 1996a,b, 1997, 1998, 1999) indicate that in respect to coping with highly charged environmental challenges or traumas, the mind has evolved two basic systems: The emotional mind, which generates affective responses to stressful events, hormone-based psychological responses that then mobilize bodily and mental resources for coping; and The emotion-processing mind, which copes mentally with emotionally charged events and their consciously and unconsciously experienced meanings.


human mind; emotional mind; emotion-processing mind; evolution; unconsciouss processing systems

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