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Ch9 detailed chapter notes i used these to study and did well on the exams

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Steve Joordens

Chapter 9 ConsciousnessConsciousness as a Social Phenomenonfirst position on consciousness is that it is not a natural phenomenon and that it is supernatural and miraculous not to be understood by human mindsecond position is tha consciousness is natural phenomenon but also that we cannot understand it for various reasonsexists because of nature of human brain our brains cannot grasp conceptdo not have methods to study it yetpoorly definedthird positionis that consciousness is produced by activity of brain and that we should be optimistic about our ability to understand it HebbThe Adaptive Significance of Consciousnessconsciousness is awareness of processes in brain not processes themselvesconsciousness does not existhumans have ability to be consciousmost likley explanation for consciousness lies in its relation to deliberate symbollic communicaionour ability to communicate words signs other symbollic meaning provides us with selfawarenesssocial phenomenon like communicationConsciousness and the Ability to Communicatethrough communicating symbolically we can express our needs thoughts perceptions memories intentions and feelings to other people require 2 general capacitiesmust be able to translate private events needs thoughts etc into symbolic expressions brain mechanisms we use to communicate with others must receive input from systems of brain involved in perceiving thinkingremembering etcour symbols words must have effect on other person listening once words are decoded in listeners brain they must affect listeners own thoughts perceptions memories and behaviour having both of these capabilities allows us to communicate with ourselvesthinking in words involves subvocal ariculationbrain mechanisms that permit us to understand words and produce speech are same ones we use to think in words ability to communicate with ourselves symbolically gives rise to consciousnessconscious of private events we can talk about to others or ourselves our needs perceptions intentions memories and feelingspeople who are deaf sometimes think with their handspeople mouth words to themselvesexperiment by Cheesman and Meriklepresented people with word primer that was either congruent or incongruent with coloour of subsequent stimulus target and people were asked to name target between primer and target on some trials there was random jumble of visual linesfound that incongruent primers produced Strooplike interference even when jumble interfered with ability to consciously identify wordpresented same experiment with many more congruent than incongruent primes so that by using primer people could predict what colour was about to comewhen primer was consciously perceivable people used it to predict target but when it was not consciously perceived people failed to use itconsclusions we become able to describe and thereby use psychological events tha are private to ourselvessome animals are consciousdogs can learn to communicate with owner by communicating symbolically underlying brain mechanisms such as those of explicit memory system may be present in species closely related to usbehaviour of primates in mirror suggest they have concept of selfawarenesscomputer could learn to communicate symbolically with itself and usEvaluating Scientific Issues Does Conscious Thought Control Behaviourpreviously psychologists would not study consciousness because it was not observable behaviourDescartes thought human actions were controlled by nonmaterial mind dualism William James thought emotional awareness came after reaction recent evidence from cognitive psychology and neuropsychology provides way of thinking about issue of conscious control of behavioursome evidence uses phenomenon of visual illusions2 crayonshorizontal looks shorter top hat illusionbecause it is often demonstrated using judgments about crown vs brim of hat Ganel and Goodalecompared perceptual judgments of object shape with ability to pick up object and showed people wooden block on table and asked them whether block was wider or narrow and repeated with different blockseasy to judge width if blocks are all same length but if length was different then task was difficult grasping actions was not affected by variation in lengthperceptual awareness of objects may be based on different visual system than one we use for actionsEbbinghau illusioncircle surrounded by big circles looks smaller than circle surrounded by small circles but if you were to reach for them your behaviour would be unaffected by relative size introspective experiences would tell us that they were diferent in size but behaviour would reflect otherwisethought and action go together but is correlationcould be third action of brain that causes action and thoughtLibetasked people to make hand motion while watching rapidly moving clock hand and were to report where clock hand was at time they became aware of an intention to movereports indicated that they experienced awareness of intention 310 of a second before motion also measured readiness potentialelectrical brain activity of motor cortex prior to movement occured about 710 of a second before motion Haggard and Eimerreasoned that if readiness potential was cause of movement then it should show covariation in time with awareness asked participants to move right or left mand and to report when they were aware of intention to move looked at occasions where report of awareness was late closer in time to actual
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