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Lecture

Consciousness as a process.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSY2106
Professor
Kenneth Campbell
Semester
Fall

Description
Consciousness as a process Consciousness can be studied as a state or as a process  Consciousness  How to we define consciousness­ awareness of the outside world.  Artificial “Intelligence”  A computer can also be programmed to respond (to be aware) to certain commands  By this definition a computer is conscious   Sensory receptors are constantly bombarded with input  Sensation and feature extraction  Assumed to occur prior to consciousness (awareness)  We are conscious of only a small portion of this input The process of becoming conscious  We become conscious of that which is relevant  How do we determine what is relevant? Psychological (personal) relevance  Biological relevance Active and passive attention  To become conscious requires additional processing: attention processing  Psychological (personal) relevance =active attention  Biological relevance= passive attention  Selective (active) attention  Selective (active) attention:  The process by which we become conscious of stimulus input that is relevant, yet banish  from the conscious that which is not relevant  Limited capacity to process information  Observer must choose to become aware of that which is relevant  Failure to choose results in information overload  Active attention requires considerable cortical effort, results in cortical fatigue What decides what is relevant  Central executive (remember the functions of the frontal lobe)  The central executive determines what is relevant and stores its features in the working  memory  The features of all incoming stimuli (i.e whether attended or ignored) are automatically  extracted and compared to those that exist in working memory  Working memory and cortical effort  Features match: further processing is warranted  Features do not match, further processing should cease  The input is thus ignored  Holding information in working memory requires effort  Passive attention: becoming conscious of the unattended Fate of a highly relevant biological stimulus 
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