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Psych1000- Chapter 6 States of Consciousness.docx

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Psychology 1000
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Chapter 6States of ConsciousnessThe puzzle of consciousnessConsciousness our momenttomoment awareness of our environment and ourselves Consciousness isoSubjective and private other people cannot directly know what reality is for you nor can you enter directly into their experience oDynamic ever changing flowing stream of mental activity oSelfreflective and central to our senses of self not matter what your awareness is focused on you can reflect upon the fact that you are the one who is conscious of itoIntimately connected with the process of selective attention selective attention focuses conscious awareness on some stimuli to the exclusion of others Measuring states of consciousnessThe most common measure is selfreport in which people describe their inner experiencesOff the most direct insight into a persons subjective experiences but they are not always verifiable In contrast psychological measures establish the correspondence between bodily states and mental processes Psychological measures are objective but cannot tell us what a person is experiencing subjectively EEGs record brain activity and identify different stages of sleep Behavioral measures also are used including performance on special tasks such as the rouge test Behavioral measures are objective but we still must infer the persons state of mind Levels of consciousness psychodynamic and cognitive perspectivesSigmund Freud proposed that the human mind consist of three levels of awarenessoConscious mind contains thoughts perceptions and other mental events of which we are currently awareoPreconscious mental events are outside currents awareness but can easily be recalled under certain conditions oUnconscious events cannot be brought into conscious awareness under ordinary circumstances some unconscious content like sexual drives traumatic memories and emotional conflict are kept out of conscious awareness because it would arouse anxiety etc Cognitive psychologists and many contemporary psychodynamic psychologists also take issue with specific aspects of Freuds model They sought to explain without invoking conscious mental processes much less unconscious ones Out of dateHowever research strongly supports Freuds belief that nonconscious processes influence behaviourThe cognitive unconsciousCognitive psychologists reject the notion of an unconscious mind driven by urges and repressed conflicts1They view the conscious and unconscious mental life as complementary forms of information processing Reisberg cognitive unconscious functions act as a support service Controlled vs automatic processingControlled processing the voluntary use of attention and conscious effort planning a vacation or studyingAutomatic processing performed with little or no conscious effort Carrying out routine actions or well learned skillsoTypeoDriveoEat with utensilsoThrough years of practice these skills can be performed with minimum conscious thought Ellen Langer 1989 points out that automatic processing has a key disadvantage oIt can reduce our chances of finding new ways to approach problemsControlled processing requires effort and therefore is slower than automatic processing but it is more flexible and open to change Still automatic processing offers speed and economy of effortToo much selffocused thinking can hurt task performance and cause people to choke under pressureDivided attentionAutomatic processing also facilitates divided attention the ability to perform more than on activity at the same time Without the capacity to divide attention every act would require our full attention and quickly overwhelm our mental capacityYet it has limits and is more difficult when tasks require similar mental resourcesSerious consequences collision rates triple when people talk on the telephone while driving they are more likely to speed run off the road hit fixed objectsHands free cell phones also delay and reduce brakingThe emotional unconsciousEmotional and motivational processes operate unconsciously and influence behaviourMakes us act in a way that we cannot understandFor example the amnesia patientClarapede pricked her in the hand with a pin hidden in his handWhen he tried to prick her again she suddenly withdrew her hand despite her not consciously remembering the first prick Chartrand and Bargh subliminally presented university students with very positive or very negative words or neutralThe students were asked to rate their mood Although they were not consciously aware of the messages those shown strongly negative words were the saddest and those presented with strongly positive were in the happiest mood The modular mindFreud challenged the view that the mind as a single entity2
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