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Lecture

5. Oct 8:10.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 3100
Professor
Hank Davis

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PSYC 3100 – Week 5 Lecture 9 – October 10, 2012 - Most of us continue to think of ourselves a little conscious me inside our brains, directs the actions make decisions, has to be wrong, whatever the brain is doing it does not need help from magical self, brain carries on tasks independent from each other and do not need help. This me simply does not exist - Libet’s - decisions to act take place in the brain about half a second before we act, the hands may have already positioned itself before the thought gets to our conscious mind, free will is an illusion, a way to explain our behaviour, we make up stories after the fact to explain behaviour o Check out Libet and a paper by Velmans - Picture a little kid in a yellow slicker on the deck of a boat in a storm, the kid is steering the boat – the master of our soul and the captain of our faith is hidden beneath the deck of a boat, and the you are merely gripping a fake steering wheel – the nearly flawless machinery needed to steer the boat is below the deck, the steering wheel is connected to nothing, you think you are steering the ship, the steering wheel allows you to make stories up afterwards. Circuitry that evolved over half a million years got you through the storm - Consciousness did not evolve for what we are doing today, did not evolve to ponder the meaning of life – selection would have weeded out any genes that caused us to waste energy on useless pursuits when there was another allele that allowed us to find food, run from predators etc. - Self-awareness – how many other animals other than ourselves have a really developed sense of self? Not many. 1995 paper – primates who swung through trees were at an advantage in terms of self-awareness – when you land on a tree branch it bends – this helps reinforce that there is a you – the universe tells you that you have a presence. We take this for granted – that we know our presence, we understand basic laws of universe. – our pets don’t get it – dogs don’t get it, rats will stand on the ruler half on a table, half off of a table, they will walk on the part of the ruler and fall but not get why they fell (don’t understand basic laws of physics and how they work in it). - Self-awareness – deception – higher primates use tactical deception – the alpha male has a bunch of females that are ‘his’, a young male wants to mate with a female, not ready to challenge the alpha, so the young flirts with a female when the alpha isn’t looking, but the alpha male walks in on him, the little one picks up a large leaf and covers himself with it – you can’t see it therefore it doesn’t exist. – Deception is a predictable outcome of natural selection. - Self-deception: is self-deception a good thing? Yes up to a point. With a small amount of self-deception is confidence and assertiveness. Self-serving bias – most people rate themselves as more ethnical, more regional, more intelligent etc. than others. Too much self-deception – you become delusional – you think you are THE most beautiful person in the world, Fooling ourselves book – if we always told the truth we would not keep our friends or our partners, if we didn’t deceive ourselves life would be intolerable. The only group of people who reliably do not show self-serving bias is depressed people – may be more accurate but a shitty place to be - Why do we sleep?: two answers: consciousness has metabolic costs and should be used sparingly – need to shut it down once in a while. 2 percent of body weight but consum
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