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What Is Consciousness.docx

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What is Consciousness?  An awareness of ourselves (our thoughts) and the environment What CAUSES Changed Consciousness?  Spontaneous – day dreaming, “zone out”, when something catches your attention  Physiology – anesthesia, drugs  Psychology – meditation, hypnosis Consciousness and Information Processing  Conscious and subconscious process  Attention  “Zoning out” Conscious & Subconscious Process  Dual processing and the two-track minds  Consciousness is the tip of the iceberg, the limitation of the human mind. We take in so much stuff, but we can only focus on a few things Selective Attention  At any one time, our senses are being bombarded by information  Information/distractions come from the external world (ie our neighbor) as well as from our internal world (ie inner voice, thoughts, etc)  We use attention to “select” which pieces of the world will make it into our conscious awareness  Attentional processes can be intentional (focus on the road or in class) or automatic (when someone says your name) o Cocktail party phenomenon – when you hear your name aka a strong cue. Evolutionary mechanism Change Blindness  A form of inattentional blindness  Between 66-75% of individuals won’t notice dramatic The Science of Zoning Out  The default network o A switch from attending to your outside world to attending to your inside world. o Thinking about the past or looking forward into the future. A way of maintaining two types of consciousness. o Mind wandering occurs every 8-9 minutes (5.4 times in a 45 minute class) Summary States of Consciousness  We are only “aware” of a small amount of the processing that is going on in our brains at any time  Conscious and reflexive attentional shifts allow us to focus on certain pieces of information at the expense of others  Attentional shifts can occur between internal and external “worlds”  Zoning out is a state of consciousness that researchers believe has important cognitive implications. Hypnosis Hypnosis  A social interaction in which one person (the hypnotist) suggests to another (the subject) that certain perceptions, feelings, thoughts, or behaviors will spontaneously occur.  Hypnos: Greek god of sleep  Hypnosis cannot help you remember things you’ve forgotten or repressed. Often times hypnotist poses suggestive questions, in a state of hypnosis you are most vulnerable.  Hypnosis cannot force people to act outside their will. Equally likely to do it. Suggestibility  Hypnosis can be used to alleviate pain. Study of touching hot things, or placing arm in an ice bath  Father technique VS mother technique for hypnosis  Some people are more susceptible to hypnosis Explaining the Hypnotized State 1. Social Influence Theory: hypnotic subjects may simply be imaginative actors playing a social role. Being hypnotized is like playing a role you are very convinced you are in. (People are originally pretending to be hypnotized?) a. i.e. know it doesn’t smell good but know it isn’t supposed to bother them 2. Divided Consciousness Theory: hypnosis is a special state of dissociated (divided) consciousness (Hilgard, 1986, 1992) a. i.e. sticking hand in ice bucket and not feeling it. b. i.e. dividing awareness and not focusing/attending on aversive odor Cognitive Neuroscience and Hypnosis  When hypnotized, brain is responding in a different way  Clinical hypnosis modulates functional magnetic resonance imaging signal intensities and pain perception Summary Hypnosis  Altered state of consciousness where an individual is under a heightened state of suggestibility  Attention seems to be guided by hypnotist  Mechanism is unclear Sleep & Dreaming  Are you sleep deprived? If you answered yes to 2+ (3+ on longer survey) you probably aren’t getting enough sleep  Try going to sleep 15 minutes earlier than usual every night for a week, continue iteratively until you wake without an alarm and feel alert Sleep Deprivation 1. Fatigue 2. Impaired concentration 3. Emotional irritability 4. Depressed immune system 5. Death Sleep Laboratories  Measurements: o Measure left and right eye movements o EMG (muscle tension) o EEG (brain waves) 5 Sleep Stages  Each stage of sleep has different physiological characteristics and presumably different functions  NOT A STAGE: awake but relaxed o When an individual closes his eyes but remains awake, his brain ac
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