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Chapter 6 - Consciousness.docx

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PSYC 200
Michael Boyes

Chapter 6: Consciousness 11/01/13 Intro • Ultimate question in terms of subjective psychological experience • Sleep, meditation, hypnotism • Sense that all of these experiences that we have are ours o Sense of subjectivity o Pay attention to your own experiences  How?  Where is consciousness located? • Daniel Dennett – well-known philosopher o Philosophy and relation to consciousness – TedTalks o Consciousness is simpler than we think • Shepard – time of mental rotation The Nature of Consciousness • Philosophical Issues o William James - The River of the Mind  1 psychology textbook (1900s)  Consciousness is not a thing – stream of consciousness o Constant motion – defines river o Ongoing connectedness of experiences • Pineal gland – speculated location of consciousness/soul • Philosophy – how do you know, with any sense of certainty, that you are the same person that you were yesterday? o At a subjective level, how you know? o Absolutely critically important • Memory – track experiences subjectively with us o Critical to who we are • Functions: o Monitoring – what worked, what didn’t work o Controlling – how do you know when you’ve done enough studying?  Applied consciousness o Cognitive behavioural therapy just as effective as SSRIs  Therapy – less relapse  Identify underlying assumptions and change way of thinking • Pre-Attention o Sensory Memory Store – information comes in from senses, held momentarily in the form that it comes in (microseconds)  Provides us with opportunity to turn our attention towards it o Conscious attention – drives information processing  Fovea – hold out thumb (only this area can we see in detail) 1 o Secads – constant, rapid eye movements o Cocktail Party Phenomenon – information that we’re not attending to is filtered out  Attention drawn to personally important information – shift attention immediately o Defensive Inattention – take a normal word and turn it into a swear word • The Unconscious o Freud – unsupported by data  Repression – “in denial”, not allowing themselves to be consciously aware of something o Becoming aware will cause anxiety; repress information to subconscious level o Does not stay in the unconscious – e.g. holding an air-filled balloon underwater  will eventually pop out  Freudian Slips – statements that slip out in unguarded moments o Will surprise even yourself o How you actually feel gets expressed • Dissociation – losing track of yourself o Motivated Inattention – Freud suggested initially  Freud: repress existence of something to avoid it o Difficult to prove  Motivated inattention – spend less time on doing things that we don’t like to do o Forget more about negative events  To some level, set a priority system o Fugue States  Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of mental disorders  Classic amnesia – loss of memory of who they are o Episodic memory – memory for particular events that happened to you  Still retain general skills and abilities o Where they live, where they’re from – can’t tell you  Lose access to episodic memories  E.g. seriously traumatic events – difficult to be themselves o Respond by stopping being themselves  Possible to recover memories o Come to terms with negative memories o Post-traumatic stress disorder  Issues: o What causes them? Functioning? – no answer  No drug treatments o Faking fugue states to avoid responsibility  Difficult to sort out who’s lying and who’s not 2 o Dissociative Identity Disorder  Multiple Personality Disorder – several personas o Differential awareness across different personalities  E.g. older personalities protecting younger personalities o Fades in/out, difficult to sort out which ones are real o Huge debate regarding inclusion in DSM  Relation to suggestibility • “Cybil” book – account of an individual with MPD • Prior to talking to a psychologist, there was no indication of MPD  Underlying physiological cause? o Issues with faking – popular defense of serial killers  Ted Bundy – convinced many people that he had MPD; read every single book on MPD  Recovered Memory Issues – rare, but happens when individual goes into counseling for issues with intimacy  repressed memories of sexual abuse o Big issue: possible for someone to be lead into remembering something that didn’t happen (suggestibility) o Tight set of ethical criteria for who can treat patients; how therapy is approached  Suggestibility – not gullible, psychological trait o Came out of hypnotism research – some people more hypnotizable than others o Big debate: is hypnotism an altered state of consciousness or due to suggestibility? o E.g. Ouija board – communication with afterlife; involves two individuals o How open people are  Susceptibility to fugue states and MPD Circadian Rhythm • Varying levels of many functions during the course of the day o Late afternoon tends to be a low period • Assess people’s circadian rhythm when they’re outside of normal daily conditions (e.g. no sunlight): o Living in a cave – no internet, no light, communication with people on the outside very strictly controlled o Settle into a cycle that’s roughly 24-hour cycle, perhaps a bit more; 8-9 hours of sleep • Circadian rhythm is a 24-hour sleep/wake cycle o Controlled by the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN)  Inner timepiece • What causes our circadian rhythm? o Genetic differences 3  Morning people (Larks) vs. evening people (Owls)  Some people need more sleep than others o Environmental differences  Low sunlight triggers production of melatonin, which helps to induce sleep  Using melatonin to overcome jetlag o Physicians began using melatonin when going to conferences overseas o Re-regulate internal clock  Melatonin levels peak 2 hours before going to sleep  Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – form of depression tied to change in light level o Melatonin levels lowest when most depressed o November-Christmas (decrease in light); Christmas-New Year (increase in light) o Light therapy – supported by studies Why do we sleep? • Adaptive (evolutionary) theory of sleep—humans can conserve energy while it is dark and they can’t hunt for food o Keeps humans away from predators that are more active at night o System adapted to high light levels – fovea • Restoration theory—holds that sleep restores our brains and bodies (may help with information processing) o Direct individual function of sleep o Replenish stores of certain substances o Paradigm:  Group 1 given chunk of information  tested 8 hours later  Group 2 given info  sleep  tested o Better performance – sleeping helps consolidate information that we learned  Sleep deprivation affects memory • What is it that is restorative about sleep? – No current answer Sleep and Age 4 • Older people – 4-5 hours/night o Less need for consolidation of memory? o Daily levels of functioning not affected • Infants – more time in REM sleep o Dream sleep – stimulates brain growth  As they get older, replace sleep with daily activities that promote brain growth o REM waves indistinguishable from awake and alert waves Sleep Cycle • Hyperlinks: snooze button; insomnia • 90–100 minute sleep cycle o One cycle goes through Stage 1, 2, 3, 4, and REM sleep o We have about five cycles a night • Awake and alert – amplitude low • Drowsy – larger waves • Stage 1 – flattening of activity o Wake up  insist that they weren’t sleeping o Pop back and forth between drowsy and stage 1 • Delta waves – large rolling waves, no details 5 • REM – pattern similar to awake and alert pattern Stages of Sleep • Stage 1—a transition into sleep (5 min) o At sleep, alpha waves change to theta waves o HR slows, BP decreases o Breathing regularized • Stage 2—harder to wake (15-20 min) o More relaxed o Sleep spindles (burst of rapid brain waves) • Stage 3—deeper sleep (5-15 min) o Theta waves and delta waves • Stage 4—deepest sleep (20-30 min) o Slow HR, brain and body in total relaxation (20-30 min) o Deepest sleep o Mostly delta waves o Sleep walking and bed wetting are more likely  No muscle tension and control  Sleepwalking – not dreaming about going somewhere; confused when woken up o Talk nicely to them  move them to bed REM Sleep • Rapid eye movement sleep (REM) stage of sleep is associated with rapid and jagged brain wave patterns, increased heart rate, rapid and irregular breathing, rapid eye movements, and dreaming o Paradoxical sleep – contrast between what brain wave patterns look like and what the person is doing (no muscle tone in most cases)  RAF shuts down motor control • Non-REM sleep (NREM)—Stages 1 through 4 of normal sleep pattern • Hypnagogic state—vivid sensory phenomena during pre-sleep o See and hear things o Myoclonic jerk—sharp muscular spasm; signals popping through unexpectedly • Gating out of incoming sensory information – more difficult to wake up o RAF system dampens down intensity of incoming stimulation Nightly Patterns of Sleep 6 • No going back to Stage 4 sleep for the remainder of sleep • Must at least get 3-4 hours to get deep sleep o Restorative function – replenish bodily resources • Latter half: bouncing back and forth between stages 1 and 2, with longer REM sleep o More dreaming closer to waking up in the morning • REM – better recall of information o Better consolidation of information Sleep Deprivation • If we could sleep as long as we wanted, most people would sleep 9–10 hours • Chronic sleep loss results in: o Links: sleep shortage, teen sleep o General depressed state – jumpy, edgy, depression-like mood state o Lower immune system o Lower ability to concentrate o Higher incidence of accidents – collisions  Truck drivers – demands incompatible with biological needs  Pay structure depends on efficiency o Lower productivity and higher likelihood of making mistakes • Circadian rhythm sleep disorder–excessive sleepiness or insomnia as a result of a mismatch between their own sleep-wake pattern and the sleep-wake schedule of most other people in their environment 7 o Jetlag – best example  Reversal of day and night o Issues in industries that have shift work – human resources  Research in Japan: developed assessments to determine whether a particular employee would be appropriate for night shifts/changes in shifts – quality control, safety  Some people more able to manage changes in shifts Common Sleep Disorders • Insomnia – inability to sleep o Most common o Difficulty going to sleep, staying asleep, or wake early o Caused by stress, drug dependence, pain, depression o Subjective view of how much sleep th
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