Collective Unconscious

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  • An analytical psychology concept, first identified by Carl Jung (1934/1981), that refers to inborn, unconscious material that is shared among all humans and is accumulated across generations. Jung broke with Freud's tradition and maintained that the unconscious consists not only of individual repressed experiences but also of memories or experiences from our ancestral past. He distinguished it from the personal unconscious particular to every individual. The existence of a collective unconscious would explain why so many humans are afraid of snakes or heights, given that these may be fears inherited from our ancestral past. Jung later changed this term to objective psyche, believing that it is common to everyone. For more information, see Jung (1934/1981).

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