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Chapter 6 States Of Consciousness.docx

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Law and Business
LAW 122
Eric Ball

Chapter 6 States Of Consciousness State of consciousness= a pattern of subjective experience, a way of experiencing internal and external events Altered state of consciousness- refers to variation from our normal walking state. While daydreaming passing from wakefulness to sleep may experience vivid images and our nighttime dreams can seem just as real and emotionally charged as our waking perception Philosopher David Chalmers notes conscious experience is at once the most familiar thing in the world and the most mysterious The Puzzles Of Consciousness Consciousness=our moment-to-moment awareness of ourselves and our environment. Among its characteristics, consciousness is: o Subjective and private- other people cannot directly know what reality is for you, nor can you enter directly into their experiences o Dynamic (ever changing)- we drift in and out of various states throughout each day Although the stimuli of which we are aware constantly change we typically experience consciousness as continuously flowing stream of mental activities rather than a disjointed perceptions and thoughts. o Self- Reflective and Central to our sense of self- the mind is aware of its own consciousness thus no matter what your awareness is focused on you can reflect on the fact that you are the one who is conscious of it Consciousness is intimately connected with the process of selective attention Selective attention focuses conscious awareness on some stimuli to the exclusion of others Measuring States Of Consciousness Self report- most common measure in which people describe their inner experiences. Offers the most direct insight into a persons subjective experiences but they are not always verifiable. Physiological measures- establish the correspondence between bodily states and mental; processes Behavioral measures objective but must still infer the persons state of mind Levels of Consciousness: Psychodynamic and cognitive Perspectives Sigmund Freud 3 levels of awareness: o Conscious mind- contains thoughts perceptions and other mental events of which we are currently aware o Preconscious- mental events are outside current awareness but can easily be recalled under certain conditions o Unconscious events cannot be brought into conscious awareness under ordinary circumstances Some unconscious content is kept out of conscious awareness because it would arouse anxiety and guilt or other negative emotions Research strongly supports Freuds general premise: nonconscious process influence behavior The Cognitive Viewpoint Cognitive psychologists reject the notion of an unconscious mind driven by instinctive urges and repressed conflicts. They view conscious and unconscious mental life as complementary forms of information processing Daniel Reisberg= unconscious mental activity is not an adversary to the conscious mind. Instead the cognitive unconscious functions as a sophisticated support service working in harmony with our conscious thoughts Controlled Versus Automatic Processing Controlled (effortful) Processing= the voluntary use of attention and conscious effort. Example- planning a vacation Automatic Processing= occurs most often when we carry out routine actions or well learned tasks In conscious thought becomes less active Automatic processing has a key disadvantage- It can reduce our chances of finding new ways to approach problems Controlled processing is more flexible and open to change Divided Attention Automatic processing facilitates divided attention Divided Attention= the ability to perform more than one activity at the same time Divided attention has limits and is more difficult when tasks require similar mental resources The Emotional Unconscious Strong negativity or negative subliminal messaging can influence negative emotion and strong positive messaging= positive feelings The Modular Mind Propose the mind is a collection of largely separate but interacting modules These modules are information processing subsystems or networks within the brain that perform tasks related to sensation perception memory problem solving emotion motor behavior and so on Circadian Rhythms: Our Daily Biological Clocks Every 24 hours our body temperature certain hormonal secretions and other bodily functions undergo a rhythmic change that affects our mental alertness and readies our passage back and forth between stated of wakefulness and sleep. These daily biological circles are called circadian rhythm from the Latin word circa around and dia day Keeping Time: The Brain And Environment Most circadian rhythms are regulated by the brains superchiasmatic nuclei (SCN) which are located in the hypothalamus SCN neurons have a genetically programmed cycle of activity and inactivity functioning like a biological clock they link to the tiny pineal gland which secretes melatonin- a hormone that has a relaxing effect on the body SCN neurons become active during daytime and reduce the pineal glands secretion of melatonin raising your body temperature and heightening alertness At night SCN neurons are inactive allowing melatonin levels to increase and promoting relaxation and sleepiness Most people drift into a longer natu
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