People's conscious thoughts are susceptible to external influence, even against their will, reveals a new study.
The study by San Francisco State University also revealed that the stream of consciousness is more susceptible to external stimuli than had previously been proven. This research was the first demonstration of two thoughts in the stream of consciousness being controlled externally and against participants' will.
Ezequiel Morsella, associate professor of psychology, said that people's conscious thoughts seem protected from the surroundings, but it was found that they are much more tightly linked to the external environment than previously thought, and that people have less control of what they will think of next.
This research has important implications for the study of psychopathological disorders that afflict people with uncontrollable repetitive thoughts or, more commonly, the inability to stifle an obsession.
While it might seem counterintuitive, Morsella argued that the mind's inability to shut out unwanted thoughts was a good thing in most cases. Take guilt, for example.