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Psychology 1000
Terry Biggs

Psychology Chapter 6 Notes State of consciousness: a pattern of subjective experience, a way of experiencing internal and external events Altered stat of consciousness: variations from our normal waking state The Puzzle of Consciousness Consciousness: our moment-to-moment awareness of ourselves and our environment; it is  Subjective and private: other people cannot directly know what reality is for you, nor can you enter directly into their experiences  Dynamic (ever-changing): although the stimuli of which we are aware constantly change, we typically experience consciousness as a continuously flowing ‘stream’ of mental activity, rather than as disjointed perceptions and thoughts  Self-reflective and central to our sense of self: the mind is aware of its own consciousness; you can reflect on the fact that ‘you’ are the one who is conscious of it  Intimately connected with the process of selective attention: focuses conscious awareness of some stimuli to the exclusion of others; the consciousness reflects whatever is illuminate at the moment Measuring States of Consciousness Self report: people describe their inner experiences; off the most direct insight into a person’s subjective experiences, but they are not always verifiable Physiological measures: establish the correspondence between bodily states and mental processes; these measures are objective but cannot tell us what a person is experiencing subjectively Behavioural measures: performance on special tasks, such as the rouge test; these measures are objective, but we still must infer the person’s state of mind Levels of Consciousness: Psychodynamic and Cognitive perspectives  Sigmund Freud (1900/1953) proposed that the human mind consists of three levels of awareness:  The conscious mind which contains thoughts, perceptions, and other mental eents of which we are currently aware  Preconscious mental events are outside current awareness, but can easily be recalled under certain conditions  Unconscious events cannot be brought into conscious awareness under ordinary circumstances; some content is kept out of conscious awareness because it would arouse anxiety, guilt, or other negative emotions  On a broad level, research strongly supports Freud’s general premise- non-conscious processes influence behaviour- which can be seen through the placebo effect, split-brain patients, subliminal perception, and other phenomena that all indicate that mental processes can affect our behaviour without conscious awareness.  Cognitive psychologists reject the notion of an unconscious mind driven by instinctive urges and repressed conflicts; they view conscious and unconscious mental life as complementary forms of information processing Controlled (effortful) processing: voluntary use of attention and conscious effort Automatic processing: performed with little or no conscious effort; this occurs most often when we carry out routine actions or well-learned tasks; performance becomes more automatic and brain areas involved in conscious thought become less active  *Disadvantage it can reduce our chances of finding new ways to approach problems; controlled processing is more flexible and open to change; still, automatic processing offers speed and economy of effort , and in everyday life most actions may be processed this way Divided attention: the ability to perform more than one activity at the same time; without the capacity to divide attention, every act would require our full attention and quickly overwhelm our mental capacity  Some modern psychodynamic views incorporate information-processing concepts from cognitive psychology but strongly emphasize that emotional and motivational processes also operate unconsciously and influence behaviour;  A growing number of models also challenge this traditional view and propose that the mind is a collection of largely separate but interacting modules; these are information-processing subsystems or ‘networks’ within the brain that perform tasks related to sensation, perception, memory, problem solving, emotion, motor behaviour, and so on.  The various modules process information in parallel- simultaneously and largely independently; however, the output from one module can provide input for another, as when information recalled from memory becomes input to the problem-solving and motor modules that enable you to write down answers during a math exam Circadian Rhythms: Our Daily Biological Clocks Circadian rhythms: every 24 hours, our body temperature, certain hormonal secretions, and other bodily functions undergo a rhythmic change that affects our mental alertness and readies our passage back and forth between states of wakefulness and sleep- our daily biological cycles Keeping Time: Brain and Environment Suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN): are located in the hypothalamus; genetically programmed cycle of activity and inactivity  The SNC neurons link to the tiny pineal gland, which secretes melatonin, a hormone that has a relaxing effect on the body  During the daytime the neurons become active and reduce the pineal gland’s secretion of melatonin, raising your body temperature and heightening alertness; at night the neurons are inactive, allowing melatonin levels to increase and promoting relaxation and sleepiness  The neurons exhibit this longer cycle of firing even when they are surgically removed from the brain and kept alive in a dish containing nutrients Free-running circadian rhythm: without any light or clock, most people drift into a longer ‘natural’ cycle of about 24.2 to 24.8 hours  Compared to night people, morning people go to bed and rise earlier, and their body temperature, blood pressure, and alertness peak earlier in the day Environmental Disruptions of Circadian Rhythms Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): a cyclic tendency to become psychologically depressed during certain months of the year; symptoms typically begin in fall or winter Jet lag: sudden circadian disruption caused by flying across several time zones in one day; often causes insomnia, decreased, alertness, and poorer performance until the body readjusts  Night shiftwork is the most problematic circadian disruption for society- adjusting to an inverted night-day world can be difficult; they often drive home in morning daylight, making it harder to reset their biological clocks  On-the-job sleepiness is a major concern among night-time long-distance truck and bus drivers, locomotive engineers, airline crews, and medical doctors and nurses Rotating shiftwork: forward rotating work schedule that takes advantage of ‘extending’ the walking day rather than compressing it Sleep and Dreaming Stages of Sleep  Approximately every 90 minutes while asleep we cycle through different stages in which our brain activity and other physiological responses change in a generally predictable way Beta waves: patters that EEG record of the brain’s electrical activity when one is awake and alert; they have a high frequency but a low ‘amplitude’ or height Alpha waves: brain waves which occur when the brain waves slow down and you feel relaxed and drowsy Stage 1: brain waves become more irregular, and slower theta waves increase; a form of light sleep from which you can easily be awakened Stage 2: as sleep becomes deeper, sleep spindles- periodic one to two second bursts of rapid brain wave activity; muscles are more relaxed, breathing and heart rate are slower, and it is much harder to wake somebody Stage 3: marked by the regular appearance of very slow and large delta waves; together with stage 4 this is called slow-wave sleep Stage 4: as time passes, they occur more often; this happens when delta waves dominate the EEG pattern; your body is relaxed, activity in various parts of your brain has decreased, and you are hard to awaken; after 20-30 mins of stage 4 sleep, the EEG pattern changes as you go ‘back through’ stages 3 and 2, spending a little time in each; within 60-90 minutes of going to sleep, you will have completed a cycle of stages 1-2-3-4-3-2 REM sleep: caused by rapid eye movements; physiological arousal may increase to daytime levels: heart rate quickens, breathing becomes more rapid and irregular, ad brain-wave activity resembles that of active wakefulness  REM sleep paralysis- the brain sends signals which make it more difficult for voluntary muscles to contract; muscles in the arms, legs, and torso lose tone and become relaxed; they might twitch, but in effect the body is ‘paralyzed’ and unable to move; sometimes called paradoxical sleep because the body is highly aroused, yet it looks like the person is sleeping peacefully  There is also mental activity in non-REM sleep; it may also resemble daytime thoughts, although in comparison to waking thoughts they are simple and jumbled  Some of the mental activity that occurs during non-REM sleep has been referred to as sleep thoughts Getting a Night`s Sleep: Brain and Environment  Different aspects of the asleep cycle, such as falling asleep, REM sleep, and slow-wave sleep, are controlled by different brain mechanisms; areas of the forebrain (called the basal forebrain) and within the brain stem are particularly important in regulating our falling asleep  A different brain stem area- where the reticular formation passes through the pons- plays a key role in initiating REM sleep, and the neurons are called the ‘REM-sleep On’ neurons; these neurons periodically activate other brain systems, each of which controls a different aspect of REM sleep, such as eye movements, muscular paralysis, and genital arousal  The change of seasons affects sleep; in fall and winter, most people sleep about 15-60 minutes longer per night; shiftwork, jet lag, stress at work and school, and night-time noise can decrease sleep quality How Much Do We Sleep As we age, three important things occur:  We sleep less; on average, 15- to 24-year-olds average 8.5 hours of sleep per day, and elderly adults average just under 6 hours  REM sleep decreases dramatically during infancy and early childhood, but remains relatively stable thereafter  Time spent in stages 3 and 4 declines; by late adulthood, we get relatively little slow-wave sleep  How much sleep a person needs is influenced by genetic factors, work schedules, stress, age, lifestyle, and general health, among other factors Sleep Deprivation Short-term total sleep deprivation: up to 45 hours without sleep Long-term total sleep deprivation: more than 45 hours without sleep Partial deprivation: being allowed to sleep no more than 5 hours per night for one or more consecutive nights  Participants in a sleep deprivation study reported things such as mood (irritability, disorientation), responses on mental tasks (ability to concentrate, logical reasoning, word memory), and physical tasks (manual dexterity, treadmill-walking) were measured  The results were that the ‘average’ sleep-deprived person functioned only as well as someone in the bottom 9% of non-deprived participants; all three types of sleep deprivation had a negative impact on functioning; mood suffered most, followed by cognitive and then physical performance, although all three behaviours showed significant impairment from sleep loss Why Do We Sleep Restoration model: sleep recharges our rundown bodies and allows us to recover from physical and mental fatigue; if this model is correct, activities that increase daily wear on the body should increase sleep- evidence is mildly supportive  Some researchers believe that a cellular waste product called adenosine plays a role in why our bodies need sleep; adenosine is produced as cells consume fuel; as it accumulates, it influences brain systems that decrease alertness and promote sleep, signalling the body to slow down because too much cellular fuel as been burned Evolutionary/circadian sleep models: emphasize that sleep’s main purpose is to increase a species’ chances of survival in relation to its environmental demands; our prehistoric ancestors had little to gain and much to lose by being active at night- hunting, food gathering, and travelling were accomplished more easily and safely during daylight; leaving the protection of one’s shelter at night would have served little purpose other than to become dinner for night time predators  Sleep may have evolved also as a mechanism for conserving energy; our body’s overall metabolic rate during sleep is about 10 to 20 percent slower than during waking rest  REM rebound effect: a tendency to increase the amount of REM sleep after being deprived of it  REM sleep is vital for mental functioning, especially for processes related to learning and memory consolidation; the high level of brain activity during REM sleep may help to strengthen the neural circuits involved in remembering important information from the preceding day  Studies support the idea that REM sleep and learning are related, although exactly how REM sleep, memory, and learning are related is an ongoing area of research Sleep Disorders Insomnia: chronic difficulty in falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restful sleep; trouble falling asleep is most common among young adults, and difficulty staying asleep is most common among older adults  Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, experienced by approximately 10 to 40% of the population of various countries; many overestimate how much sleep they lose and how long it takes them to fall asleep  It has biological, psychological, and environmental causes; some people are genetically predisposed to insomnia; medical conditions, mental disorders such as anxiety and depression, and many drugs can disrupt sleep- so can general worrying, stress at home and work, poor lifestyle habits, and circadian disruptions such as jet lag and night shiftwork  Stimulus control is a treatment for insomnia that is based on learning principles: it involves conditioning your body to associate the stimuli in your sleep environment with sleep, rather than with waking activities and sleeplessness  Pseudoinsomniacs: certain people complain of insomnia, but sleep normally when examined in the laboratory; despite having a sound night of sleep, some awaken in the morning and claim that their insomnia was so bad that they didn’t get any sleep Narcolepsy: extreme daytime sleepiness and sudden, uncontrollable sleep attacks that may last form less than a minute to an hour; no matter how much narcoleptics rest at night, sleep attacks may occur at any time  Narcoleptics also may experience attacks of cataplexy, a sudden loss of muscle tone often triggered by laughter, excitement, and other strong emotions; this is an abnormal version of the normal muscular paralysis that takes place during night time REM sleep, and many experts view narcolepsy as a disorder in which REM sleep intrudes into waking consciousness REM-sleep behaviour disorder (RBD): loss of muscle tone that causes normal REM sleep paralysis is absent; if awakened, RBD patients often report dream content that matches their behaviour  RBD sleepers may kick violently, throw punches, or get out of bed and move about wildly, leaving the bedroom in shambles  Some researchers propose that brain abnormalities may prevent signals that normally inhibit movement during REM from being sent, but at present the causes are unknown Sleepwalking: sleepwalking typically occurs during a stage 3 or 4 period of slow-wave sleep; a tendency to sleepwalk may be inherited and daytime stress, alcohol, and certain illnesses and medications also increase sleepwalking; various treatments such as psychotherapy, drugs, and routinely awakening children before the time they typically sleepwalk may be used Nightmares: frightening dreams; occur more often during REM sleep and in the hours before we arise Night terrors: also called sleep terrors are more intense than nightmares; most common during deep sleep and involve greatly elevated physiological arousal; heart rate may double or triple; up to 6% of children, but only 1 or 2% of adults, experience night terrors The Nature of Dream  Hypnagogic state: the transitional state from wakefulness through early stage 2 sleep; between 15 to 40 percent of sleepers report dream-like activity when awakened within six minutes of falling asleep Freud’s psychoanalytic theory: he believed that the main purpose of dreaming is wish fulfillment, the gratification of our unconscious desires and needs. These desires include sexual and aggressive urges that are too unacceptable to be consciously acknowledged and fulfilled in real life;  Freud distinguished between a dream’s manifest content- the surface story that the dreamer reports- and its latent content, which is its disguised psychological meaning Activation-synthesis theory: in 1977, J. Allan Hobson and Robert McCarley proposed a physiological theory of dreaming: when we are awake, neural circuits in our brain are activated by sensory input: a sight, sounds, tastes- the cerebral cortex interprets these patterns of neural activation, producing meaningful perceptions  According to the theory, during REM sleep, the brain stem bombards our higher brain centres with random neural activity (the activation component); because we are asleep, this neural activity does not match any external sensory events, but our cerebral cortex continues to perform its job of interpretation  It does this by creating a dream that provides the ‘best fit’ to the particular pattern of activation that exists at any particular moment (the synthesis component)  The brain is trying to ‘make sense’ out of random neural activity  Dreaming does not serve any particular function- it is merely a by-product of REM neural activity Problem-solving dream models: dreams can help us find creative solutions to our problems and conflicts because they are not constrained by reality Cognitive-process dream theories: focuses on the process of how we dream; these theories propose that dreaming and waking thought are produced by the same mental systems in the brain; rapid shifting of attention is a process common to dreaming and waking mental activity  John Antrobus has developed a model to explain how our sleeping brain creates dreams: the model; evidence is growing rapidly that unconscious cognitive, emotional, and motivational processes influence our waking life Drugs and Altered Consciousness Drugs and the Brain  Capillaries contain a blood-brain bar
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