Remembering Contradiction Information in the Light of the Hypothesis of an Unconscious Search for a Resolution of Contradictions



Contradictory information is changed in the subject’s mind: sometimes contradictions are not noticed, smoothed out, superseded, but sometimes they attract attention, become more contradictory and are well remembered. It can be a result of two different mechanisms: the contradiction avoidance mechanism and contradiction resolution mechanism. The avoidance mechanism starts working before the contradictions are conscious (and it makes them worse for remembering), and the solution mechanism starts working after the contradictions are conscious (and it makes them better for remembering). In our experiments, we have shown that contradictory information is better reproduced with a clue and it is better identified as compared to non-contradictory information, if the contradiction resolution mechanism works for a longer time. In experiments 2 and 3 this was done by creating a readiness of subjects to recognize information as contradictory by presenting block of contradictory sentences; in experiment 4 the time interval between presenting information and reproduction was increased. In the light of our hypothesis, the results of other studies on the processing of conscious and unconscious contradictions considered.

General Information

Keywords: memorization, contradictions, conflict information, recognition, reproduction

Journal rubric: Cognitive Psychology

Article type: scientific article


Funding. The reported study was funded by RFBR according to the research project № 18-00- 00646 К (18-00-00646).

For citation: Starodubcev A.S., Allakhverdov V.M. Remembering Contradiction Information in the Light of the Hypothesis of an Unconscious Search for a Resolution of Contradictions. Eksperimental'naâ psihologiâ = Experimental Psychology (Russia), 2020. Vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 20–34. DOI: 10.17759/exppsy.2020130102. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Aleksey S. Starodubcev, Researcher, Federal State Budgetary Educational Institution of Higher Education “Saint Petersburg State University”, St.Petersburg, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Victor M. Allakhverdov, Doctor of Psychology, Professor of the Department of General Psychology, Federal State Budgetary Educational Institution of Higher Education “Saint Petersburg State University”, President of the St. Petersburg Psychological Society, chairman of the program committee of the III Congress of the RPO, chairman of the expert council of the RPO, member of the editorial board of the scientific journal “Methodology and History of Psychology”., St.Petersburg, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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