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Variations in Conciousness (DETAILED NOTES)

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PSYC 1010
Gerry Goldberg

Variations in Consciousness What is Consciousness? - Don’t mistake a definition with an explanation. (nominal fallacy) - Awareness of internal and external stimuli - Epiphenomenalism is the view that mental events are caused by physical events in the brain, but have no effects upon any physical events. Behavior is caused by muscles that contract upon receiving neural impulses, and neural impulses are generated by input from other neurons or from sense organs. On the epiphenomenalist view, mental events play no causal role in this process. Huxley (1874) Variation in Levels of Awareness and Control: William James: Stream of consciousness Freud: influence of “unconscious” needs, wishes and conflicts. Levels of awareness: - Selective sensitivity: Stop responding to continuous sounds. Habituate. Can’t be conscious or aware of everything. Need to select to function. Have a little bit of control over awareness. - Women will respond to babies crying much faster than men. Biological sensitivity. Even in sleep, we’re somewhat in control. - Wandering Mind: There are going to be times where you wander. - 50-55 % of the time. Sigmund Freud: might be a message what you really care about. Follow your dreams. Unconscious Thought Effects: - Sometimes we rely on unconscious thought to make quick decisions. - Do what feels right. Gut level thinking. Making decisions in “blink of an eye” Evolutionary roots of consciousness: - A space. An area where the brain is allowed to make choices where logical thought can happen. - Survival Consciousness and Brain Activity: - Born out of the interplay of many different neural pathways. Brain activity can be measured. EEG/Electroencephalograph: - Neurons fire electrical charges - Summarizes the rhythm of cortical activity in the brain in terms of line tracings called brain waves. - Different patterns. Do not operate independently. Different states of consciousness. - Correlation between patterns and activity patterns. - Beta (13-24 cps): Normal waking thought, alert problem solving. - Alpha (8-12 cps): Deep relaxation, blank mind, meditation. - Theta (4-7 cps): Light sleep - Delta (<4 cps): Deep sleep Biological rhythms and sleep: - Many rhythms. (Ovarian cycle, cycles of moon, biorhythms) Circadian Rhythms - Over a day. Go through a number of cycles. Related to levels of logic and attention. - Sleep debt, body temperatures, shift work. - Most people are alert during the afternoon. - Growth hormone peaks during sleep. - Fall asleep when our body temperature is colder. - Melatonin: hormone secreted when exposed to light. - At the end of the day, you have high levels of melatonin. - Sold to make money. - M.A.N: Morning-Afternoon-Night (shift work) - Bad effects of not following Circadian Rhythms Conducting Sleep Research: (Individual Assessment) - Instructions: eat normal dinner, bring comfortable clothes and avoid caffeine after noon. - Sleep history: How long does it take you to fall asleep? Do you have trouble staying asleep? Discomfort in your legs. Do you snore? Do you fall asleep unintentionally during the day? (apnea restless leg syndrome) - Hook up to: EMG (electromyography) and EOG (electrooculograph). Patterns: - Awake: Low-voltages, beta waves - Drowsy: Alpha waves prominent - Stage 1 sleep: Theta waves prominent - Stage 2: Sleep spindles and mixed EEG activity - Stage 3+4: Slow wave sleep. Progressively more delta waves. - REM sleep: low voltage, high frequency waves. - Everybody sleeps differently. 5 stages: 1-4 and REM stage REM stage (Rapid Eye Movement sleep) - Deep sleep (virtual paralysis) - Correlated with reports of vivid and memorable dreams - Beta waves. Similar to when awake and alert. - Consolidation of memories in REM and non – REM sleep Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming (for PTSD) - Elaine Sharpo: tend to dream when eyes are moving. Went for a walk in the woods. Felt better after her walk. Might be useful to process and think about stuff in the past. - Certain memories such as being abused. Suppressed but still there. Eyes going back and forth would help the brain process like it does in sleep. - Trouble in connecting ideas. Remember complicated stuff. Waking up in Stage 2. You won’t perform well the next day. Repeating the Cycle and Patterns: - Repeat about 4 times
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