[ an-oh-ee-sis ]
/ ˌæn oʊˈi sɪs /
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a state of mind consisting of pure sensation or emotion without cognitive content.
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Origin of anoesis

First recorded in 1900–05; a-6 + noesis


an·o·et·ic [an-oh-et-ik], /ˌæn oʊˈɛt ɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is anoesis?

Anoesis is a state of mind that perceives sensations, stimuli, and emotional signals without understanding or cognitive content.

Anoesis is a state of mind that is studied in psychology in relation to emotions and subconscious understanding of emotional reactions. A person in a state of anoesis doesn’t understand how they interact with their surroundings but they can recall similar experiences.

Anoesis is a rare term, even in the study of the subconscious. The adjective form anoetic is more often used, especially in phrases like anoetic mind, anoetic thought, and anoetic consciousness. Anoetic consciousness, sometimes called mental time travel, is the subconscious’s ability to recall memories from the past and predict how previous memories may reflect future interactions.

Example: When children are born, their subconscious and cognitive abilities have not yet developed, so they are in a constant state of anoesis.

Where does anoesis come from?

The first records of anoesis come from around 1900. It combines the prefix a-, meaning “not” or “without,” and the word noesis, meaning “the functioning of intellect.” Noesis comes from the Greek term nóēsis, meaning “thought” or “intelligence.”

In some early studies of the unconscious mind, anoesis was used to describe a phenomenon in patients developing mental disorders such as dementia that would lead to apathy or obliviousness. Today, anoesis is thought to be a pre-evolution to the other states of mind. Some research suggests that children are born into a state of anoesis and only develop the ability to conduct noetic thought later on. It is theorized that anoesis becomes a part of the subconscious, along with noesis and auto-noesis. The subconscious uses them all to develop physical, mental, and emotional responses to a person’s surroundings.

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What are some other forms related to anoesis?

  • anoetic (adjective)

What are some words that share a root or word element with anoesis? 

What are some words that often get used in discussing anoesis?

How is anoesis used in real life?

Anoesis is rarely used outside of psychological research and is sometimes misused as a synonym for apathy.

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True or False?

Anoesis is a state of mind involving thought processes.