, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 337–353 | Cite as

Fluid Biosemiotic Mechanisms Underlie Subconscious Habits

  • V. N. AlexanderEmail author
  • Valerie Grimes


Although research into the biosemiotic mechanisms underlying the purposeful behavior of brainless living systems is extensive, researchers have not adequately described biosemiosis among neurons. As the conscious use of signs is well-covered by the various fields of semiotics, we focus on subconscious sign action. Subconscious semiotic habits, both functional and dysfunctional, may be created and reinforced in the brain not necessarily in a logical manner and not necessarily through repeated reinforcement. We review literature that suggests hypnosis may be effective in changing subconscious dysfunctional habits, and we offer a biosemiotic framework for understanding these results. If it has been difficult to evaluate any psychological approach, including hypnosis, this may be because contemporary neuroscience lacks a theory of the sign. We argue that understanding the fluid nature of representation in biological organisms is prerequisite to understanding the nature of the subconscious and may lead to more effective of treatments for dysfunctional habits developed through personal experience or culture.


Dysfunctional semiotic habits Hypnosis Subconscious habits Propaganda Advertising Poetics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dactyl FoundationNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.New York Council for the HumanitiesNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.The Flow CenterDallasUSA

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