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Chapter 6.docx

Course Code
BIOL 1001A
Tom Haffie

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Chapter 6: States of Consciousness (p. 206)
- (1943) Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann discovered LSD
- States of consciousness pattern of subjective experience; a way of experiencing internal and external events
o Altered state of consciousness variations from normal waking state
- Divisions of awareness why you don’t fall off bed, while when you “zone out” during driving you don’t crash
o Some part of you is aware
The Puzzle of Consciousness
- Consciousness defined: our moment-to-moment awareness of ourselves and our environment
o Subjective and private. Other people can’t directly know what your reality is, and you can’t experience theirs directly either
o Dynamic (ever-changing). We drift in and out of various states, but though stimuli change, consciousness is a continuously
flowing “stream” of mental activity (not random perceptions/thoughts)
o Self-reflective and central to our sense of self. Mind is aware of own consciousness. .: we always know that is it >> us << that is
conscious of whatever our awareness is focused on
o Intimately connected with the process of selective attention. Focus conscious awareness on some stimuli; shaft others
Measuring States of Consciousness
- Self-report most common, people describe inner experiences
o Direct insight into subjective experiences (not verifiable though)
- Physiological measures correspondence between bodily states and mental processes
o E.g. EEG recordings of brain activity show sleep stages
o Objective, cannot tell us person’s subjective experience
- Behavioural measures performance on tasks (e.g. rouge test)
o Objective, must infer subjective
Levels of Consciousness: Psychodynamic and Cognitive Perspectives
- Freud: 3 levels of awareness
o Conscious mind has thoughts, perceptions, currently aware mental perceptions
o Preconscious = outside current awareness, but can be recalled under conditions (e.g. someone says old friend’s name, you think
of them though hadn’t thought of them for years)
o Unconscious cannot be brought into conscious awareness under ordinary conditions
e.g. unacceptable urges/desires stemming from instinctive sexual/aggressive drives, traumatic memories, threatening
emotional conflict kept out of conscious awareness because they cause anxiety, guilt, etc (negative emotions)
- behaviourist disagree, as do cognitive/psychodynamic psychologists; research supports nonconscious influence though (e.g. placebo,
split-brain patients, subliminal perceptions, etc)
The Cognitive Unconscious
- cognitive psychologists reject unconscious mind driven by instinctive urges/conflicts; conscious/unconscious mental life = complementary
forms of information processing (un supports)
Controlled vs automatic processing
- controlled (effortful processing) voluntary use of attention and conscious effort
o e.g. learning driving, eating with utensils, typing pay attention, practice makes automatic
- automatic processing performed with little or no conscious effort
o i.e. routine tasks, familiar circumstances
- highly complex skills can be minimum conscious thought after practice
- automatic processing disadvantage: reduces chances of new ways to approach problems; effort although slower more flexible
- automatic processing advantage: too much self-focused thinking hurts performance “choking” under pressure vs autopilot
o Yogi Berra “can’t think hit at same time”
Divided attention
- Divided attention (ability to perform more than one activity at same time) facilitated by automatic processing
o E.g. talk and walk, eat and TV
o If not, mental capacity overwhelmed as everything needs full attention
o More difficult when tasks require same mental resources (e.g. messages in 2 earphones, “shadowing”

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o Negatives: people try doing too much e.g. collision rates 3x 4x with cell phone usage, slow reaction time
The Emotional Unconscious
- Some modern psychodynamic views use info-processing cognitive thoughts, but emotion and motivation influence behaviour
unconsciously, we do/feel things can’t explain
o E.g. amnesia women, pinprick, withdraw hand even after
o E.g. good mood randomly? Because influenced by events in environment unconsciously
o E.g. Chartrand and Bargh (1999,2000) subliminally show words, students with positive words were happiest, etc
The Modular Mind
- Freud and others: mind not single “entity”, but collection of separate interacting modules
o Networks in brain perform tasks related to sensation, perception, memory problem solving, emotion, motor behaviour, and so
Independent processing, output from one can be input to another
- Subjective experience of consciousness = integrated activity of modules e.g. choir, hear everything not individual voice
o .: many things affect modules .: affect consciousness state
p. 210
- Consciousness refers to our moment-to-moment awareness of ourselves and the environment. It is subjective, dynamic, self-reflective,
and central to our sense of identity. Selective attention focuses conscious awareness on some stimuli to the exclusion of others.
- Scientists use self-report physiological, and behavioural measures to operationally define states of consciousness.
- Freud believed that the mind has conscious, preconscious, and unconscious levels. He viewed the unconscious as a reservoir of
unacceptable desires and repressed experiences. Cognitive psychologists view the unconscious as an information-processing system.
- Controlled processing typically is required for learning new tasks. Automatic processing makes divided attention possible, enabling us to
perform several tasks at once. Research on subliminal perception and other topics suggests that emotional and motivational processes
also can operate nonconsciously and influence behaviour.
- Many theorists propose that the mind consists of separate but interacting information processing modules. Our subjective experience of
“unitary” consciousness arises from the integrated output of these modules.
Circadian Rhythms: Our Daily Biological Clock
- Every 24 hours temperature, some hormones, bodily functions undergo a rhythmic change affecting mental alertness and readies our
passage back and forth between states of wakefulness and sleep daily cycle called circadian rhythm
Keeping Time: Brain and Environment
- CR regulated by superchiasmatic nuclei (SCN) in hypothalamus (ie = brain’s clock)
o Transplantable
o Genetically programmed cycle of activity/inactivity
o Linked to tiny pineal gland, which secretes melatonin (hormone that has relaxing effect on body)
o Active in day, reduce pineal gland secretion, raising body temp and alertness; vice versa
- Environment keeps SCN neurons on 24 hour schedule
o Eyes neural connections to SCN .: light of day increases SCN activity, resets clock
o Isolated SCNs drift into longer natural cycle (24.2 24.8 = free running circadian rhythm)
Can extend even longer, going to bed later and later each day if isolated; forcing it = sleep problems
E.f. 1989 New Mexico Follini
Early Birds and Night Owls
- Early birds peak earlier than night owls
Environmental Disruptions of Circadian Rhythms
- Gradual / sudden environmental changes can disrupt CR
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) = cyclic tendency to become psychologically depressed during certain months of the year
o Symptoms start fall/winter (shorter daylight), lift in spring
Experts: because CR of SAD sufferers sensitive to light .: wake up still sleepy
- Jet lag flying across several time zones in 1 day
o Causes insomnia, decreased alertness, poor performance
o Travelling west easier because lengthening travel day more compatible with natural free-running circadian cycle
o Body naturally adjust 1 hour/day

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- Night shiftwork, problem
o Driving home morning resets clock
o Off-days fall back into day-night schedule to spend time with family, disrupting CR adjustments
- 12 am 6 am biological clocks promote sleepiness here
Psychological Applications: Combatting Winter Depression, Jet Lag, and Night Shiftwork Disruptions
- Controlling Exposure to Light
o Treating SAD
Phototherapy properly timed exposure to bright artificial light
Can shift CR 2-3 hours per day
Dawn simulation light gradually increases
.: sunlight not temp more affects SAD
o Reducing Jet Lag
Flying east, fall behind .: light in morning; avoid light later
Flying west, ahead of local time.: avoid light in morning; get light afternoon/evening
o Adjusting to Nightwork
Maintain schedule on days off
Bright lights in work
Dark quiet room for sleep
o Melatonin Treatment: Uses and Cautions
Can shift CR 30-60 min /day
Not legal in Canada without prescription; US diet supplement
Tablets way too high doses
o Regulating Activity Schedules
Easier to extend working day than compress it
p. 214
- Circadian rhythms are 24-hour biological cycles that help regulate many bodily processes. The suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) are the
brain’s master circadian clock. Environmental factors such as the day-night cycle, help to reset our daily clocks to a 24-hour schedule.
- Circadian rhythms influence whether we are a “morning person” or a “night person”
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), jet lag, and night shiftwork involve environmental disruptions of circadian rhythms. Treatments for
circadian disruptions include controlling exposure to light, oral melatonin, and regulating daily activity schedules.
Sleep and Dreaming
- CR does not regulate sleep directly, but decreases nighttime alertness to promote readiness for sleep
Stages of Sleep
- Every 90 minutes asleep, cycle through stages (brain and other physiological responses)
- EEG of brain activity shows pattern of beta waves when awake/alert, 15-30 cps, low amplitude
o Relaxed/drowsy alpha waves 8 to 12 cps
Stage 1 through Stage 4
- Stage 1
o Brain-wave pattern irregular as sleep begins theta waves (3.5 to 7.5 cps) increase
o Light sleep easily awakened from
o Few minutes or less
o Images, sudden body jerks
- Stage 2
o Sleep spindles (1 to 2 second bursts of rapid brain-wave activity (12 to 15 cps)
o Muscles more relaxed, breathing/heartrate slower, harder to awaken
- Stage 3
o Regular appearance of very slow (0.5 to 2 cps) and large delta waves
- Stage 4
o Delta waves dominate EEG pattern
- Slow wave sleep = stage 3 and 4
o Body relaxed, activity in various brain parts decreased, hard to awaken
- 20-30 min later, EEG goes to 3, .: 1-2-3-4-3-2 (total: 60-90 minutes)
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