PSY100H1 Lecture 4: Chapter 4 - The Mind and Consciousness

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Lockedinsyndrome‐ whenawakeandalertbutunabletocommunicateorrespondphysicallyto
sensations,causedbydamagetothebrainstem.
Wrote"TheDivingBellandtheButterfly"-
Peoplecanbeconsciousoftheirsurroundingsevenwhentheydonotappeartobe-
Consciousexperiencesareassociatedwithbrainactivity
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Bauby‐ couldeventuallyblinkwithhislefteyeandselectedlettersbyblinking,eventuallywritinga
memoir
HowIstheConsciousMindExperienced?
Consciousmindisadefiningaspectofbeinghuman-
Difficulttostudyscientifically
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Scientistscandifferentiatebetweenbeingconsciousandunconscious
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Howdoesneuralactivityinthebraingiverisetoaperson'ssubjectiveexperienceoftheworld?-
Ourbrainsareextremelyactiveduringsleep,eventhoughwearenotconsciousatthetime-
Contentsofconsciousness‐ thethingsweareconsciousof
Levelofconsciousness‐ suchascoma,sleepandwakefulness
Psychologicalscientistsstudytwocomponentsofconsciousness:-
Alsodifferentiatebetweendoingthingsconsciouslyandunconsciously-
Consciousnesshrereferstoawareness,toexperiences.
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Themindisphysicallydistinctfromthebrain
Nowrejectedbymostscientistsbelievingthatthebrainandmindareinseparable
Accordingtothis,activityofneuronsinthebrainproducesthecontentsofconsciousness
Eachtypeofcontenthasanassociatedpatternofbrainactivity
Descartes‐ dualism
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Consciousness‐ Thesubjectiveexperienceoftheworldandofmentalactivity.
Becauseweeachexperienceconsciousnesssubjectivelywecannotknowifanytwopeople
experiencetheworldinexactlythesameway
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Existbuttheirsubjectivenaturemakesthemdifficulttostudyempirically
Nowaytoknowwhethereachplayer'sexperienceofthethingisthesameevenifthesame
wordsareused
Qualia‐ describesthepropertiesofoursubjectiveexperiences,suchasourperceptionsofthings-
Imagingmethodscanhelpidentifycommonalitiesinbrainactivityacrossexperiences-
Differenttypesofsensoryinformationareprocessedbydifferentbrainregions
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Theparticulartypeofneuralactivitydeterminestheparticulartypeofawareness
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Commonbrainactivitymaygiverisetopeople'ssubjectiveexperiences-
ConsciousnessIsaSubjectiveExperience
Levelofconsciousnessvariesnaturallythoughthedayinthesleep/wakecycle
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Affectedbyactions(suchasmeditation)andconsciousnessalteringsubstances(suchascaffeine
andalcohol)
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ThereAreVariationsinConsciousExperience
Itisaunifiedandcoherentexperience‐ thereisalimittohowmanythingsyoucanbeconscious
ofatthesametime.
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Wecanexecuteroutineorautomatictasks(suchasdriving,walking,orcatchingabaseball)that
aresowelllearnedthatwedothemwithoutmuchconsciouseffort
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WilliamJames‐ consciousnessisacontinuousstreamofthoughtsthatoftenfloatsfromonethoughtto
another
Chapter4‐ TheMindandConsciousness
January19,2014 10:32PM
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Thiscontrolledprocessingisslowerthanautomaticprocessingbutithelpsusperformin
complexornovelsituations
Difficultorunfamiliartasksrequiregreaterconsciouseffort
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Manyofthosewhosustainseriousbraininjuriesfallintocomas.
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Havesleep/wakecycles‐ eyesopenandclose,butdonotrespondtotheirsurroundings
Mostpeoplewhoregainconsciousnessdosoinafewdaysbutsomedonotregainconsciousness
forweeks.
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Whencomalastslongerthanamonth,itisknownasapersistentvegetativestate
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Braincanprocessinformationinthisstate-
Longerthevegetativestatelasts,thelesslikelythepersonistoeverrecoverconsciousnessor
shownormalbrainactivity
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ConsciousnessandComa
Makesomedeliberatemovementsandmaytrytocommunicate-
Ethics:shouldbrainevidencebeusedtomakeendoflifedecisions?-
Brainevidenceincreasesthechancesofmakingwellinformedmedicaldecisions-
Stimulatingthethalamusmayincreaseawarenessamongthoseinminimallyconsciousstates
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Brainimagingmightbeusefulfordeterminingwhichpatientsaregoodcandidatesfortreatment.
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Minimallyconsciousstate‐ betweenvegetativestateandfullconsciousness
Epilepticseizuresareoftentreatedbyremovingthepartofthebraininwhichtheseizuresbegan-
Corpuscallosummaybereadilycutwithoutdamagingthegreymatter-
Thiscausesaconditioncalledsplitbrain
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SplittingtheBrainSplitstheConsciousMind
Oftenverynormal-
Asthebrainhadbeensplitintwo,sohadthemind!-
Visualimagesfromtheleftgototherightsideofthebrainandviceversa
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Lefthandiscontrolledbyrightbrainandviceversa
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Inasplitbrainpatient,thesedivisionsallowresearcherstoprovideinformationtoandget
informationfromasinglehemisphereatatime
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Ifasplitbrainpatientseestwopicturesflashedonascreenbrieflyandsimultaneously‐ onetothe
leftandonetotherightsideofthevisualfield‐ patientwillonlyreportthatthepictureonthe
rightwasshown
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Why?Becausethepictureontherightisdetectedbythelefthemispherewherelanguageis
controlled,thepictureontherightistheonlyonethepatientcantalkabout
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Patientcannotsaywhatheviewedontheleftside,butcanpickitupfromaselectionusinghisleft
hand(alsocontrolledbytherightsideofthebrain)
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Splittingthebrainproducestwohalfbrains,eachwithitsownperceptions,thoughtsand
consciousness
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Lefthemisphereisfarmorecompetentatlanguagethantheright,oftentherighthadnolanguage
capacity
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Somepatients,righthemispheredisplayedsomerudimentarylanguagecomprehension
-
Righthemispherelanguageabilityimprovesinyearsaftersplitbrainoperationastherightattains
communicationskills
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Rightbrainhasitsowncompetencies,suchasspatialrelationships.-
Ifpatientistoldtomakeapileofblocksintoasquare,hecandosousinghislefthand,because
hislefthandiscontrolledbyhisrightbrain,butcannotusinghisrighthand,whichisbeing
controlledbyhisleftbrain
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Splitbrain‐ Aconditioninwhichthecorpuscallosumissurgicallycutandthetwohemispheresofthe
braindonotreceiveinformationdirectlyfromeachother
Howthebrain'shemispheresworktogethertoreconstructourexperiences-
Canbedemonstratedbyaskingadisconnectedlefthemispherewhatitthinksaboutprevious
behaviourthathasbeenproducedbytherighthemisphere
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TheInterpreter
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Experiment:patientseesdifferentimagesflashsimultaneouslyontheleftandrightsidesofa
screen,whilebelowthoseimagesisarowofotherimages.
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Patientisaskedtopointwitheachhandtoabottomimagethatismostrelatedtotheimage
flashedonthatsideofthescreenabove.
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Eachsidepicksimagesthatarerelatedtothefieldsofviewontheoppositeside,asexpected,but
cannotexplainproperlywhythelefthandpickedtheimage,anddevelopsareasonbasedonwhat
thelefthemispheresawintherightfieldofview.
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Lefthemisphereisinterpretingwhattherighthemispherehasdone
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Concoctsastorythatexplains,orinterprets,theactionafterithasoccurred.
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Ie,pictureofphoneflashedonleftsideofscreen
Patientcannotsaywhathesaw
Penplacedinlefthand,andrighthemispherecanthendrawwhatitsaw
Tooksometimeforhislefthemispheretounderstandwhathisrighthemispherewas
makinghislefthanddraw
Communicationbetweenhemispheresoccurredonpaperandnotwithinhishead
Doesnothappeninstantly-
Interpreter‐ Alefthemisphereprocessthatattemptstomakesenseofevents.
Leftbraintendstocompressitsexperiencesintoacomprehensiblestoryandtoreconstruct
remembereddetailsbasedonthegistofthatstory
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Leadspeopletosearchforpatternsthatmightnotevenexist
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Lefthemisphereinterpreter'stendencytoseekrelationshipsbetweenthingsmaybeadaptivein
somecontextsbutitcanproducelessthanoptimaloutcomeswhensuchrelationships/patterns
donotexist
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TheInterpreterSpeculatesstronglyinfluencesthewayweviewandremembertheworld
Awareofsomementalprocessesandnotawareofothers
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Referstostimulithatgetprocessedbysensorysystemsbutdonotreachconsciousness.
Subliminalperception‐ unconsciouscuesthatcaninfluencecognition-
Materialpresentedsubliminallycaninfluencehowpeoplethinkevenifithaslittleornoeffecton
complexactions
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Considerableevidenceindicatesthatpeopleareaffectedbyeventsstimulitheyarenotawareof.-
Subliminalcuesmaybemostpowerfulwhentheyworkonpeople'smotivationalstates-
UnconsciousProcessingInfluencesBehaviour
Freudianslip‐ anunconsciousthoughtissuddenlyexpressedataninappropriatetimeand/orinan
inappropriatesocialcontext
Possiblefortheunconscioustomakegooddecisions-
Unconsciousprocessingisespeciallyvaluableforcomplexdecisionsinwhichitisdifficulttoweigh
theprosandconsconsciously
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Consciouslythinkingmayunderminegooddecisionmaking
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Verbalovershadowing‐ performanceimpairmentthatoccurswhenpeopletrytoexplainverbally
theirperceptualexperiencesthatarenoteasytodescribe
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Consciousreflectionimpairedperformance-
Wearenotverygoodatdescribingperceptualexperiences;whenweareforcedtodoso,theact
ofverballylabellingaltersourmemories
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TheSmartUnconscious
Weknowthatapersonisawareofsomethingonlywhenthatpersonreportstheawareness-
Ifthepersonisnotawareofperceivingsubliminalstimuli,thepersoncannotreportonthemor
theireffects
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BrainActivityProducesConsciousness
Showevidenceofsomesightbutisunawareofbeingabletoseeatall-
Losesvisioninonlyaportionofthevisualfield.-
Blindsight‐ Aconditioninwhichpeoplewhoareblindhavesomesparedvisualcapacitiesintheabsence
ofanyvisualawareness.
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