- Chapter 3 (Myers)
- Studied as a process or as a state
- Vegetative state = unconscious
Selective (active) attention:
- Brain has limited capacity to process information
- Observer must choose to become aware of that which is relevant
- Requires considerable cortical effort and
o Considerable focusing in order to distinguish relevant input from irrelevant input.
- Active participation (requires concentration and viliangefatigue) we select the stimuli
that impinge on our receptors that we wish to attend. If you do not choose information than
= information overload (eg. Schizophrenia)
- Also called active attention distinguish whats relevant and irrelevant
o Central executive (frontal lobe) determines what is relevant/stores in memory
When information matches what is relevant will be remembered (conscious
- A second method, passive attention, requires no effort
o Certain stimulus force the observer switch attention away from whatever they are
doing and now attend to the processing of something that is much more relevant
o Intrusion into consciousness
- Ensures survival forces observer to become aware of potentially relevant input (especially
o Intrude the consciousness signal change from the past (those are intense)
- Daniel Kahneman
- We have a limited capacity to carry out cognitive tasks. This is because of limited resources
(or capacity for processing). A central executive must determine how these resources
will be divided.
- Requires effort, processing of one task affects performance on another.
- Serial processing: processing of a secondary task cannot begin until the processing of the first
task has been completed
1 o Example: Automatic processing detects color automatically whereas controlled
processing would determine shapes (not automatically)
- Can cause problems... Might interfere with the processing of another task, without automatic
processing performance = better.
- Parallel processing: more than one task can be carried out simultaneously at no cost (detriment
in performance on any of the tasks)... if the resources are available
o Also called divided attention
- When resources arent available observer must decide which to progress - serial processing
(doing multiple tasks, by switching attention from one task to another)
o Eg. Generation of technology: texting/driving, studying/listening to music
o An insufficient number of resources are being concentrated on the task.
Consciousness as a State: Sleep & Wake States
Definition of Consciousness:
- As a process: process of becoming conscious, selective attention process
- As a state: sleep-wake states, conscious waking state, ...
Natural Sleep: The loss of consciousness
- REM (Rapid Eye Movement Sleep):
- Sleep is rhythmic
- Recording sleep in Humans
o Electroencephalogram (EEG), (EMG muscle activity), (other activity respiration,
heartbeat/pressure, temperature) to measure
- Measuring consciousness
o Overt behaviour subject signals awareness
o Physiology: EEG, brains response to stimuli (evoked potentials)
- EEG & Arousal
o Smaller the amplitude the more conscious you are (beta, frequency 15 Hz+ = awake
o Alpha (relaxed), theta (light sleep-drowsiness), delta (deep sleep; coma) - low
- Circadian Rhythms
2o Circa (around), di (day) = rhythm around a day, Circadian every 24h, Ultradian
within 24h, Mentral every month... Sleep is a circadian rhythm.
Sleep is largely biological controlled by detection of light-dark
- Melatonin released by pineal gland (released during the night)
o Administration of melatonin has been shown to decrease motor activity, induce
fatigue, lower body temperature.
Effects of constant light/darkness
- Eg. In the lab, not knowing the time.
o Normally sleep on a 24 hour schedule, regulated by light-dark cycle, the
suprachiasmatic nucleas detects lightness-darkness and relays info to pineal gland,
absence of light releases melatonin
o Result: goes to sleep an hour later every time... when constant lightness/darkness
- Destruction of suprachiasmatic nucleas would eliminate any type of routine of sleep.
Stages of Sleep
- Stage 1: lose consciousness and fall into sleep brief period (easily awakened) waking state?
- Stage 2 light sleep- not conscious of the outside world
- Stage 3-4: Slow Wave Sleep (