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Psychology 3325 Lecture Notes - Explicit Memory

Course Code
Psychology 3325
John Usher

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Consciousness as a Social Phenomenon
first position on consciousness is that it is not a natural phenomenon and that it is
supernatural and miraculous not to be understood by human mind
second position is tha consciousness is natural phenomenon but also that we cannot
understand it for various reasons exists because of nature of human brain
our brains cannot grasp concept
do not have methods to study it yet
poorly defined
third position is that consciousness is produced by activity of brain and that we should be
optimistic about our ability to understand it (Hebb)
The Adaptive Significance of Consciousness
consciousness is awareness of processes in brain, not processes themselves
consciousness does not exist humans have ability to be conscious
most likley explanation for consciousness lies in its relation to deliberate, symbollic
communicaion our ability to communicate (words, signs, other symbollic meaning)
provides us with self-awareness --> social phenomenon (like communication)
Consciousness and the Ability to Communicate
through communicating symbolically we can express our needs, thoughts, perceptions,
memories, intentions, and feelings to other people
require 2 general capacities:
must be able to translate private events (needs, thoughts, etc) into symbolic expressions
brain mechanisms we use to communicate with others must receive input from
systems of brain involved in perceiving, thinking , remembering, etc
our symbols (words) must have effect on other person listening
once words are decoded in listener's brain they must affect listener's own thoughts,
perceptions, memories and behaviour
having both of these capabilities allows us to communicate with ourselves
thinking in words involves subvocal ariculation brain mechanisms that permit us to
understand words and produce speech are same ones we use to think in words
ability to communicate with ourselves symbolically gives rise to consciousness conscious
of private events we can talk about to others or ourselves: our needs, perceptions, intentions,
memories, and feelings
people who are deaf sometimes think with their hands
people mouth words to themselves
experiment by Cheesman and Merikle presented people with word (primer) that was either
congruent or incongruent with coloour of subsequent stimulus (target) and people were asked
to name target; between primer and target on some trials there was random jumble of visual
found that incongruent primers produced Stroop-like interference even when jumble
interfered with ability to consciously identify word
presented same experiment with many more congruent than incongruent primes so that
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