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Week 10 - Development of Consciousness

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PSYC 4010
Scott Adler

November 12 2013 – Consciousness & Development - Experience of the world that you have (an awareness), you can gain some conscious control over it - Ex: Being aware that someone is calling you across the world – conscious experience What is Consciousness? - Consciousness integrated at a certain level to unconscious level system – which can facilitate the performance of unconscious decisions o Ex: selective attention experiment – start out and have to fixate on a point in the middle of a screen o Then 2 objects presented on both sides (left or right) they have to choose a system which one to go o They choose to look at the right side (300ms) o A diff situation: start out with a fixation point in the middle. Then we flash something on the right (give them a warning that this location is where they have to go to) o Now when presented to the 2 objects, person will look at the right side faster (200ms) o They have allocated attention to something before something happens o If you don’t have the warning or if you don’t pay attention to the warning, it takes you longer to react o If you don’t have those warning signals because you’re not paying attention because your attention is more allocated to “talking on cellphone” you will be slower to react - Consciousness = awareness of our experiences, of what is going on, an event, an item - Consciousness = subjective experience - Consciousness = perceive relation between oneself and environment - Consciousness = voluntary control of attention o Choosing what to process or what not to process - Consciousness = info in our minds is accessible for verbal report, reasoning, and control of behaviour o A lot of things done without our consciousness o Ex: visual system – takes information hitting at retina (it breaks down into component parts) we are not aware of that decomposition of info, we are only conscious of what is the final product (visual image of table, which contains meaning, contains a verbal label) - Consciousness = being awake and responsive to environment Types - Consciousness of the physical world - Consciousness of the mental world o Thoughts about thoughts, intentions, wishes, emotions o “think about thought” in your head – introspect about your own feeling o Also called “Theory of Mind” - Autism is the dissociation of the conscious of physical and mental world Awareness & Subjective Experience - Piaget o Initially they are egocentric, no differentiation between self and world o They view the world as it involves around themselves o Get awareness when they can start differentiating themselves and the world (otherwise they wont have a subjective experience, there is no unique subjective experience when children are very young) - Information-Processing o Awareness and subjective experiences occur much earlier o 3 month olds: shown their legs on a monitor (but cannot actually see their own) they will look longer on the screen if the legs on the screen don’t match what they’re doing with the legs in reality  They know what their legs feel like, they are aware of it – they can make a mental experience and match that up with what they are seeing on the screen  They will discriminate when there is no match  Can distinguish between themselves and another baby in the monitor o Ex: Rouge test – a red mark on their forehead where they can see it. Put them in front of the mirror  Rather than trying to reach the mirror (thinking that they are separate) – they will be aware that the individual in the mirror is them, so they will reach for themselves on the mark to see where the mark is  There seems to be no self at least 15 months Voluntary Control of Attention - Essentially, you choose where to allocate your attention - You choose to where you allocate your attention - Development o Early in infancy, control is thought to be reflexive (or controlled by stimulation)  Ex: orienting reflex o Older children are not easily distracted  We can put consciously put brake on the orienting reflex  Under 2.5 years – distracted by new when watching tv (stimulating will get their attention)  Over 2.5 years – voluntary control attention to remain focused on TV - Early indicators of control o Ex: reaching  It is prospective, reaching for where a moving object will be (3 months)  You have to predict where it will go based on the speed and trajectory  You have to plan your motor movement accordingly so you can get to the location  You have to have awareness of how fast and how accurate you reach in order to get to object o Eye movement  Exhibit anticipations to locations where objects will appear before they do ( 3 months)  Anticipate where, when, and what will appear  If it is an object that they are expecting, then they will make more anticipation to that object than they will to objects that are constantly changing Information in Or Minds Accessible for Verbal Report - Suggests that you have to have verbal ability to be completely conscious - Pre-verbal children are therefore not conscious - Similar to Piaget who suggested that true representation does not occur until children become verbal - Memory o Researchers claim that true episodic memory is not available until they are verbal o Episodic memory = memory for specific events or episodes (ex: I remember going to Amsterdam) o Because it requires very specific representation where you take info/events and represent them verbally o Memory in early infancy is “pictorial” because they don’t have verbal language – they store memory based on pictures o As we get older and gain language, our memory is stored as verbal scripts where we have narrative of what happened in descriptions. We may add pictures/images to that verbal narrative but that episode is stored verbally o Ex: mobile studies indicate that episodic memories are available as early as 3 months
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