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Chapter 6

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Psychology 1000

CHAPTER SIX: The Puzzle of Consciousness - we all drift into and out of various states of consciousness  by state of consciousness, psychologists mean a pattern of subjective experience, a way of experiencing internal and external events - altered state of consciousness, which refers to variations from our normal waking state - consciousness is defined as our moment-to-moment awareness of ourselves and our environment - consciousness is: o subjective and private o dynamic (ever-changing) o self-reflective and central to our sense of self - consciousness is intimately connected with the process of selective attention Measuring States of Consciousness - self-report – in which people describe their inner experiences  self-reports are often the most direct insight into a person’s experiences  NOT VERIFIABLE - psychological measures establish the correspondence between bodily states and mental processes (EEG) – are objective but cannot tell about experiences - behavioural measures – performance on spatial tasks such as the rouge test – objective, but still must infer the persons state of mind Levels of Consciousness - conscious mind contains thoughts, perceptions, and other mental events of which we are currently aware - preconscious – events are outside current awareness, but can easily be recalled under certain conditions - unconscious – cannot be brought into conscious awareness under ordinary circumstances - The Cognitive Unconscious o controlled vs. automatic processing o controlled (effortful) processing  the voluntary use of attention and conscious effort o automatic processing can be performed with little or no conscious effort o Langer  points out that automatic processing has a key disadvantage – it can reduce our chances of finding new ways to approach problems o controlled requires effort and is slower than automatic processing  Divided attention o automatic processing also facilitates divided attention, the ability to perform more than one activity at the same time o without the capacity to divide attention, every act would require our full attention and quickly overwhelm our mental capacity o divided attention is wonderfully adaptive most of the time, it can have serious negative consequences in certain situations - The Emotional Unconscious o the hidden processes can cause us to fail and act in ways that mystify us or that we cannot explain o unconscious processes can have an emotional and motivational flavour o you are influenced by events in your environment of which you are not consciously aware - The Modular Mind o modules – theses modules are info-processing subsystems or “networks” within the brain that perform tasks related to sensation, perception, memory, problem solving, emotion, and motor behaviour o modules process information in parallel – simultaneously and largely independent  the output from one can provide input for another In Review - Freud believed that the mind had 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 - many theorists propose that the mind consists of separate by interacting information processing modules – our subjective experience of “unitary” consciousness arises for the integrated output of these modules Circadian Rhythms - our daily biological clocks are call circadian rhythms Keeping Time - regulated by the brains suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) located in the hypothalamus - SCN is the brain clock - circadian clock is biological, but environmental factors help keep SCN neurons on a 24-hour schedule - most people drift into a longer “natural” cycle of about 24.2-24.8 hours, called a free-running circadian rhythm - Early Birds and Night Owls o circadian rhythms influence our tendency to be a “morning person” or a “night person” Environmental Disruptions - gradual and sudden environmental changes can disrupt our circadian rhythms - seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a cyclic tendency to become psychologically depressed during certain months of the year - Jetlag is a sudden circadian disruption caused by flying across several time zones in a day - Night-shift is most problematic circadian disruption Sleeping and Dreaming Stages of Sleep - stage 1-4 o stage 1 – theta waves – form of light sleep from which you can be awakened easily o stage 2 – sleep spindles – muscles more relaxed, breathing and heart rate are slower o stage 3 – large delta waves – regular appearance o stage 4 – delta wave dominate - REM sleep o rapid eye movement o during REM sleep physiological arousal may increase to daytime levels o brain sends signals, making it more difficult for voluntary muscles to contract – these muscles may twitch but in effect, you are paralyzed and unable to move  REM sleep paralysis Getting a Night’s Sleep - the brain steers out nightly passage into and through sleep, but does not contain a single “sleep centre” - separate systems of the brain “turn off” and actively promote sleep - areas at the forebrain and within the brain stem particularly important in regulating our falling asleep - sleep is biologically regulated, but the environment plays a role as well How Much Do We Sleep? - newborns average 16 hours/day and half their sleep time is REM - as we age o we sleep less o REM sleep decreases dramatically during infancy and early childhood o time spent in stage 3 or 4 decreases Sleep Deprivation - short-term total - long-term total - partial deprivation - participants self-reported moods and responses on mental tasks and physical tasks were measured - all 3 types of deprivation had a negative impact on functioning Why Do We Sleep? - restoration model – sleep recharges our run-down bodies and allows us to recover from physical and mental fatigue - if correct – activities that increase daily wear on the body should increase sleep - evolutionary/circadian sleep models emphasize that sleeps main purpose is to increase a species chances of survival in relation to its environmental demands Sleep Disorders - insomnia – chronic difficulty in falling asleep/expectancy restful sleep  has biological, psychological and environmental causes, control – stimulus control  conditioning your body to associate the stimulus in your sleep environment - narcolepsy – involves extreme daytime sleepiness and sudden uncontrollable sleep attacks that may last from a minute to an hour, genetic predisposition combines with environmental factor to cause, control – no cure, but stimulant drugs can reduce attacks - REM-sleep behaviour disorder (RBD) – the loss of muscle tone that causes normal REM sleep paralysis is absent, causes are unknown - sleep-walking – occurs during stage 3 and 4, no memory of it happening, tendency may be inherited and environmental can induce it - night terrors – nightmares are frightening dreams – occur more often during REM sleep and in the hours before we arise, night terrors are more intense than nightmares, treatment is simply to wait for the night terrors to diminish with age The Nature of Dreams - When do we dream? o brain activity is higher during REM sleep than non-REM sleep, and we dream more during REM - What do we dream about? o many take place in famil
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