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Dan Dolderman

The Mind and Consciousness 10112011 112900 PM People can be conscious of their surroundings even when they do not appear to beconscious experiences are associated with brain activity How Is the Conscious Mind Experienced Consciousness The subjective experiences of the world and of mental activity Ex Reflecting on ones current thoughts or paying attention to ones immediate surroundingsPsychologists study two components of consciousnessContents Things we are conscious of Level Such as coma sleep and wakefulness In addition psychologists differentiate between doing things consciously picking what to wear and doing things unconsciously scratching an itch automaticallyDualism Rene Descartes A view of consciousness stating that the mind is physically distinct from the brainPsychologists reject this theory and state that the activity of neurons in the brain produces the contents of consciousness sight of face smell of a rose Consciousness Is a Subjective ExperienceWe cannot know if people experience the world the same because everyone experiences the world subjectivelypersonallyQualia Word used to describe the properties of our subjective experience such as our perceptions of thingsThere Are Variations in Conscious Experience Your level of consciousness varies naturally through the day in your sleepwake cycle It is affected by your actions meditating ex and by consciousnessaltering substances you consume alcohol exWilliam James Conscious experience is a continuous stream of thoughts that often floats from one thought to another There is a limit to how many things you can be conscious of at the same time Consciousness is unified and coherentyou cannot pay attention to too many things at once Ex Reading texting and watching TV wont work out wellAutomatic Tasks Tasks we perform so well that we do them without much conscious effort Controlled Tasks Difficult or unfamiliar tasks that require a lot of conscious effort Refer to page 144 for Consciousness and Coma Just ReadSplitting the Brain Splits the Conscious Mind The major connection between the hemispheres that may readily be cut without damaging the grey matter is the corpus callosum In severe cases of epilepsy the corpus callosum is removed Split Brain A condition when the corpus callosum is removed and the two hemispheres are almost completely isolated from each other so the two hemispheres do not receive information directly from each other Amazingly the most obvious thing about splitbrain patients after their operations is how normal they are Splitting the brain produces two half brains each with its own perceptions thoughts and consciousnessSplit brain patient sees two pictures flashed on a screen briefly in front of him Since the left hemisphere controls speech controls the right side of the body this split brain patient will only report the right image because its the only side a split brain patient can talk about however if the left image was a spoon the right hemisphere can pick up a spoon with the left hand still the left hemisphere does not know what the right one sawThe InterpreterThe left hemispheres process that attempts to make sense of events The left hemisphere is interpreting what the right hemisphere has done by attempting to explain its behaviour Refer to 148 and 149 for three examples of The Interpreter The Interpreter SpeculatesThe interpreter influences the way we view and remember the world The left brain tends to compress its experiences into a comprehensible story and to reconstruct remembered details based on the gist of that story Unconscious Processing Influences BehaviourSubliminal Perception Stimuli that gets processed by sensory systems but because of their short durations or subtle forms do not reach consciousnessSubliminal messages have quite small effects on purchasing behaviour but material presented subliminally can influence how people think even if it has little or no effect on complex actions People are affected by eventsstimulithey are not aware of Ex Flashing the word thirst leads people to drink more koolaid especially when they were thirsty The Smart UnconsciousSometimes not thinking consciously about something can produce an outcome superior to that of consciously thinkingAnecdotal reports suggest that allowing an idea to incubate over time helps in problem solving
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