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Lecture 9

PSYCH 9A Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Lightner Witmer, American Psychological Association, David Chalmers

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Bruce Berg

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Chapter One (The Problem of consciousness) [Lecture 1-25]
A. Defining the Problem (2-3)
B. Philosophical theories (4-8)
a. Monism vs. Dualism
C. Consciousness in Psychology
a. Introspection
b. Behaviorism
c. Cognitive Psychology
D. The Explanatory Gap
A. Defining the Problem
a. Consciousness is a private experience that cannot be explained by words
b. No geeall aepted defiitio of consciousness
I. There exists no accepted definition of consciousness
c. Eeda usage: esposie, aake, Koig soethig, attedig to soethig
d. Ofte otasted ith unconscious
e. I sietifi stud of osiousess, it ofte efes to sujetie epeiee & aaeess
f. Interdisciplinary: Psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, computer science
g. Emphasis will be on a science of consciousness based on empirical findings and testable theories
h. Consciousness is our first-person view of the world but most science is a third-person view, things
that can be verified and agreed on by others
B. Philosophical Theories
a. Broadly divided into Monist (One kind of stuff in the world)
Dualist (Two kinds)
b. Monist
I. Mental world is fundamental (George Berkeley)
II. Physical world is fundamental
c. Epiphenomenalism: Mind is produced by physical events, but has no causal role (cannot affect the
I. “oud of a loootie histle a’t ifluee its ahie
- La Mettrie (1709-1751): Man a machine
- Huas ae osious autoata
d. Neutral Monism: tries to avoid the two extreme views
I. World is made up of one kind of stuff, but that stuff a’t e lassified as eithe etal of
e. Dualism: mind & brain are two different stuff
I. French Philsospher Rene Descarte (1596-1650)
- The Meditations (1641)
II. Wanted to base his philosophy on a firm foundation (what am I absolutely sure of?)
- I thik, theefoe I a
III. Substance Dualism
- For the theory to work, the mind and physical must interact (in both directions)
- Descarte: interaction happens in the pineal gland
IV. Poposig a site does’t sole the uestio of ho this iteatio happes
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V. Very few dualists today
VI. Most neuroscientist & psychologists
- Minds are simply what brains do
C. Consciousness in Psychology
a. William James: Psychology is the science of mental life (feelings, perceptions, …
I. Disissed dualist ie of id-stuff
II. Stream of Consciousness: flow of successive thoughts, ideas, feelings, images
b. Psychophysics: Investigates the relationship between sensation and physical stimuli
I. Weber (1795-1878) Fechner (1801-1887)
II. Weber-Fechner law:
- K = Constant
- The value of k depends on which sensory or perceptual dimension you are measuring:
a) K = 0.04 Sound intensity
b) K = 0.02 Light intensity
c) K = 0.08 Taste (salty)
d) K = 0.02 Lifted weights
e) K = 0.01 Electric Shock
- If for simplicity we assume that k = 1, then:
c. In 1850, Helmholtz made first measurement of speed of conduction of nerve signals
I. Populal efeed to as the speed of thought
d. Wilhelm Wundt: Principles of Physiological Psychology
I. Leipzig Psychology Laboratory
II. 20 labs by 1892 at US Universities
III. American Psychological Association (APA)
IV. … adaeet of Psholog as a siee
e. Edward Titchener (Cornell Univ.)
I. Method of Introspection
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f. Introspection is a form of self-report
I. Perform a task, then provide a description of their conscious experience
- Example: 19113 study on attention by Karl Dallenbach
- Task: Listen to two metronomes. Add numbers
a) Task 1:
b) Task 2: 4+5 = ?
II. Example of an introspection experiment:
- Karl Dallenbach (1913)
The sounds of metronomes, as a series of discontinuous clicks, were clear in consciousness only four or
five times during the experiment, and they were especially bothersome at first. They were accompa-
nied by strain sensations and unpleasantness. The rest of the experiment my attention was on the
adding, which was composed of auditory images of the numbers, visual images of the numbers, some-
ties o a dak ga sale hih as dietl ahead ad aout  feet i fot of e…Whe these po-
cesses were clear in consciousness, the sounds of the metronomes were very vague or obscure
III. Another example: 1893 letter by Lightner Witmer
- Student of Wundt and director of psych. Lab at U. Penn.
- Ceated psholog’s fist lii
- Coied the phase Clinical Psychology
IV. Example: 1893 letter from Lightner Witmer (U. Penn.) to Hugo Munsterberg (Harvard):
I let a horse throw me from his back, allowing me to drop on my shoulder and head. I showed a beau-
tiful ase of loss of osiousess efoe the at…I ot ol do not remember mounting and the horse
uig, ut I fogot alost eethig that happeed…fo the tie I got up i the oig till I e-
gaied oplete osiousess…I a fo o otiuous seies of eets. M head as ad fo a
while but is all right now, but my arm has served the purpose of quite a number of experiments as it
still otiues uite paiful at ties…The pshologial side of  afflitios ill fo the asis of at
least thee letues et fall.
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