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Lecture 9

PSY336H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Razor Strop, Anxiety Disorder, Cxam Radar


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY336H1
Professor
Dan Dolderman
Lecture
9

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PSY336H1F L9 June 12, 2014
Mindfulness
“He who feels punctured must once have been a bubble”
-LaoTzr
The Test
Only on the last 4 lectures & their assigned readings
“Medium answer” test
4-5 Qs – do most of them
oMultiple parts (a,b,c...)
oEach part is 1-3 paragraphs of info
2/3 is basic understanding
oEx. 1a) tell me about Victor Frankl and how he says you
can find meaning in life
oEx. 1b) What is Hershe’s theory of meaning?
You can draw on previous info if you find it relevant
Start out w summarizing everything!
1/3 is deeper understanding, connecting concepts
oEx. Why is suffering so important to Victor Frankl’s
theory?
Suffering can’t be taken away from you; so you can
make it your purpose
oEx. How does the Rumi poem relate to Mr. Protsy?
He didn’t embrace his shadow
oEx. What was the main idea of the hitchhiking story? Of
the Rumi poem?
We have til the Monday the 23rd at 11:59pm to submit our thought
papers
Prof taught mindfulness by teacher
Story has elements of mindfulness but itsn’t mindfulness
17 yrs old living in Ottawa for summer, gonna buy motorbike
Excited to drive to party later
Guy doesn’t show up; prof waited most of the day
So took himself so Huntsville by hitchhiking
oLesson 1: Don’t do this at dark
oLesson 2: Don’t do in middle of city (less likely to get
picked up)
Had to take his money w him; rolled it on & stuck into the arch of
his foot inside his sock
oAnnoying to walk on
Bad mood at outskirts of town
Gets a ride partway
Truck goes by in opposite direction, momentary flash of guy’s
face – looks like Tim from highschool
The truck turned around, it wasn’t Tim
oLesson 3: if someone turns around for you then don’t get in
Trucker lets prof off in cornfield country after hitting on him
Starts getting dark, thunderstorm coming, can see lightning
Eventually picked up by priest, cool convos about religion, invited
back to his cottage; kept going on his own
Feeling gradually worse, got another short ride
Car comes up, rural stereotype, 2 dirty guys, driver drinking, quiet
guy in back seat (vulture/backseat guy)
oLesson 4: if drunk guys pull up, don’t get in
oHe gets it
Guys singing, drinking, eventually let Prof & backseat guy off
oLesson 5: if you’re a guy it’s not a good idea to hitchhike
w other guys – less likely to pick you up
oAlso wear nice clothes, look trustworthy, bright
oBackseat guy looks horrible
Even more unhappy now, frustrated, awkward, quiet
Backseat guy gets animated all of a sudden – “Look at that!” at a
mossy tree
Later he says “shhh” at edge of gravol pit, “do you hear that?”
oThe trees at edge of gravol pit died but held onto their dead
leaves
oSensory experience
Starts to rain; prof frustrated but vulture guy enthralled
He abruptly turns to prof & asks “where are you anyways?”
o“I’m right here”
o“No you’re not, you’re somewhere else!”
Police car comes, they approach, vulture guy looks disturbed &
tells Prof to do all the talking cause he’s on acid
oThe last 90min make sense now
oTaken to donut shop in small down, get coffee
oVulture guy said he was going to punk party, parted ways
Prof realized the vulture guy was there! He was in the trees and
rain and had a great time
Prof was stuck in his own head, grumbling about his recent past &
worrying about his future – spending no time in the present
If you took a purely bottom-up approach to that moment, it’s fun!
He sometimes walks in the rain intentionally
oTravelers would appreciate this
oHe needed to be in that frame of mind in order to be
attuned to the present
He was present in the mental frame he was having, not in
sensations outside
Pof falls into this place a lot
Thinking of past, future, self-evaluative thought
Out life slips by
We’re probably on the cusp of feeling our lives slipping by
Summer seemed endless at age 8, going back to school was
exciting
No sense of eternity anymore, time goes by so quickly
oEx. forgetting a tv show went on
Adults often experience the feeling of time slipping away
oEx. school graduations of their kids
Time slips by in a sense because we aren’t living in the
moment, we’re living in our constructions
What is mindfulness?
No one knows
Vervaeke – trying to find deep understanding in cognitive science
In a loose superficial sense (not technically tight), Mindfulness =
bare attention
oUncontaminated, untarnished attention to what is
oRmbr flow: internally turning up the volume of your
hedonic experiences feel the raindrops, taste your food
Can do this in seconds
Vs. turning up the hedonic volume externally by
providing more sensations
oWhat if you spent months focusing on your hedonic
volume?
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Connections w emotion
oBecome more aware of self – body, posture, physical
sensations...
oRmbr gap btwn impulse & action regulated by emotions
oOften our self regulatory capacities fail
Ex. Profs addiction to Mr. Big bars – zero gap btw
impulse & action
oIf you focus on the moment, you stretch it out  gap
btwn impulse & action stretches
Experience arms rising, mouth salivating,
experience your thoughts shifting, experience
hunger/lust/desire
You gain opportunities for your PFC to decide
whether or not you want to eat it
Often your answer will be no, due to your values
oBeing more sensually attuned to body, feelings,
thoughts  widen gap btwn impulse & action
Why do we want to practice mindfulness?
1. Because we’re hedonists
2. Because we’re not perfectly functional
oWidening the gap btwn impulse & action is valuable
3. You spend so much time in your grumbling mind and you
don’t have to!
oThe present moment can be better
oEx. Sensate focusing
Daniel Segal : your perceptual selves are arranged in columns;
two streams of firing (top-down & bottom-up)
oGoing down column, you use prior experiences &
expectations, memories
oAt samw time, sensations moving up
o crash, mixing of neural signals
You need both streams of firing to fn
All of us are in danger of being too much top-down processors
oAs you get more knowledge about the world, but ruts &
grooves that guide your perceptual fn’ing
Dysfunction to the extent it stops you from seeing
the details & nuances
Think about a flower, we know what they look like from top-
down processing; Bottom-up we sense it
oTop down we have categories, expectational bias, to
alter experience, label the object flower
oInvariant expectation: we bring an imperfect prototype to
mind
You don’t see this flower in this moment
You just see “flower”
oPrior learning helps us become more efficient; but
invariant representations muddies the water of
perception w previous experiences constrict subjective
time deaden our feelings to be alive habituate to
experience; filter the present thru our past
Ppl are captivating to us because of their nuances
oEx. preference for dif profs
oThat’s what you hear when you rly hear music
oThis is what masters see – nuances!
oYou start to protect your nuances & you become a master
Dunning : ppl’s ability to assess quality in various domains
dependent on whether they liked assessing accuracy
oHugely correlated
oIf ppl fairly amateurish  think lots of things are great
oIf skilled  can tell quality in that domain
Experts see the nuances, better at processing those layers of
complexity, pay attention to & unpack more info focus more,
cuts out clutter opens up that info (like in flow)
gives room for other processing to occur
oIncoming data is enhanced
oThe flower becomes one of a kind
Opening up your awareness feels amazing
Flow helps us focus by unifying our consciousness
oThe challenge of the domain is so great we have to
completely focus on it
Whereas Mindfulness helps you quiet down – instead of
catapulting into unified consciousness
o more space in consciousness for present moment
Imagine if you’re a kid wanting the chocolate bar, enraged,
tantrum, loocked in inner world of suffering
oThe parent hopefully experiencing less inner chaos; but
embarrassed, frustrated, feel judged; their chaos is a bit
removed
oThe guy in line 2 cashiers over watching: perhaps amused,
compassion for child & mother, frustrated; but even more
removed from the situations; you’re observing; quite
muted
When ppl practice mindfulness, they practice attention
Paying attention is like watching
Also paying attention to self – sensations, feelings, thoughts
oIf you’re watching something then you’re not that thing
oSo When watching your own thoughts, you aren’t in
your thoughts
You can watch yourself & be yourself at the same
time!
oMindfulness is being the eye, watching your brain,
you’re separate from your brain
oThe further you move from your thoughts, the more
freedom/opportunities you have to adopt a different
frame– can even have an awe experience
Various epiphanies come along, but we quickly lose them
oWe quickly lose out inspiration
oPpl practice being heir normal selves more than sublime
selves  hard for sublime to stick
oOne of the reasons why ppl take hallucinogenic drugs
sharpen your senses, live in moment
Mindfulness induction easy
Mindfulness can be a place, but easier to think of as a practice
oRewire your brain
oYou become one w yourself, observe the moment
oDifference from being angry (the child) & watching
yourself be angry (the mother watching the child)
Flow, mindfulness, awe, hallucinogenic drugs
oIn common, you experience something intensely, you
become one w something
oDifference btwn being one w yourself or one w music
Practicing mindfulness:
Being able to flexibly attune yourself to dif sensory modalities
of experience
oEx. notice your vision changing as you switch your
attention
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