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Conciousness Notes (Three Lectures!)

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University of Ottawa
Kenneth Campbell

ConsciousnessChapter 3 Myersor as a stateStudied as a process Vegetative stateunconscious Selective active attention Brain has limited capacity to process informationObserver must choose to become aware of that which is relevantRequires considerable cortical effort ando Considerable focusing in order to distinguish relevant input from irrelevant inputActive participation requires concentration and viliangefatiguewe select the stimuli that impinge on our receptors that we wish to attend If you do not choose information thaninformation overload eg Schizophrenia Also called active attentiondistinguish whats relevant and irrelevant o Central executive frontal lobe determines what is relevantstores in memoryWhen information matches what is relevantwill be remembered conscious of it Passive AttentionA 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 distraction o Intrusion into consciousnessEnsures survivalforces observer to become aware of potentially relevant input especially auditory modality o Intrude the consciousnesssignal change from the past those are intense Capacity TheoryDaniel KahnemanWe 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 dividedControlled ProcessingRequires 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 1o Example Automatic processing detects color automatically whereas controlled processing would determine shapes not automatically Automatic ProcessingCan cause problems Might interfere with the processing of another task without automatic processing performancebetter MultitaskingParallel 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 attentionWhen resources arent availableobserver must decide which to progress serial processing doing multiple tasks by switching attention from one task to another o Eg Generation of technology textingdriving studyinglistening to music o An insufficient number of resources are being concentrated on the task Consciousness as a State SleepWake States Definition of Consciousness As a process process of becoming conscious selective attention processAs a state sleepwake states conscious waking stateNatural Sleep The loss of consciousnessNREMREM Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Sleep is rhythmic Recording sleep in Humans o Electroencephalogram EEG EMGmuscle activity other activityrespiration heartbeatpressure temperature to measureMeasuring consciousness o Overt behavioursubject signals awareness o Physiology EEG brains response to stimuli evoked potentialsEEGArousal o Smaller the amplitude the more conscious you are beta frequency 15 Hzawake and alert o Alpha relaxed theta light sleepdrowsiness delta deep sleep comalow frequencyCircadian Rhythms 2
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