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Queen's University
PSYC 100
Ingrid Johnsrude

WEEK 10 ONLINE LESSON: Consciousness and Awareness -motor and sensory functions (besides olfactory) are crossed across lobes -functions are localized to certain areas of the brain lateralization of function: different brain areas do different things; while the two sides of the brain are relatively symmetrical, they are different in both structure and function lateralized: specialized; either to left or right (eg. language lateralized to the left hemisphere) -we know lateralization based on unilateral brain damage to one hemisphere (eg. Brocas patient) Brain Plasticity: experience can change brain structure Donald Hebb and CELL ASSEMBLY: -during learning, selective existing synapses fire each time an animal responds to the task -repeated firing strengthens the pathway of synapses, creating a neural bridge that was not previously there -circuits are created in your brain when you learn something, and they're strengthened if you use them repeatedly SPLIT BRAIN: corpus callosum is severed, isolating the right and left hemispheres -image in right visual field--> left hemisphere: patient unable to use language to identify image -image in left visual field--> right hemisphere: patient says they see nothing -imagine in left visual field, pen in hand--> right hemisphere: patient says they see nothing, draws the image -left motor commands--> right hemisphere -using left hand: can solve a jigsaw puzzle (right hemisphere and spacial reasoning) -using right hand: can't solve as well -both hands: hands will compete to solve the puzzle in different ways Consciousness: awareness of subjective experience; the felt aspect of some mental state; ability to react to external stimuli Dualism: our consciousness is a separate entity from our bodies materialism/monism/physicalism: we are just bodies made of material objective definition: a person is conscious if they are able to report their own mental state Global Workspace Theory of Consciousness (Baars): working memory is a global workspace that serves to integrate, access, and co-ordinate the functioning of a large network of specialized brain circuits that otherwise work independently -info in GWTC is info that we consciously experience, we are conscious when we use memory functions Blindsight: phenomenon where people with a damaged visual cortex or visual pathway report no visual experience, despite being able to perform tasks involving vision Qualia: quality of a given perceptual experience (colour, feeling of coldness, taste) -very subjective experiences COUNSCIOUS AREA verbally report mental state (conscious)no brain signals, no autonomic nervous action (unconscious) VEGETATIVE STATE: -recognizable sleep-wake cycles, eyes open and close -no voluntary interactions with the environment; no control of their bodies - sometimes temporary BRAIN DEATH: -as a result of comas, no neurological activity is discerned in the brain LOCKED-IN SYNDROME: -patients are conscious and aware, brains have normal energy use -cannot communicate with the environment (no verbal use, no motor function) -ability to communicate with their eyes/blink MINIMALLY-CONSCIOUS STATE: -sometimes after vegetative state -may lead to recovery into a fully aware state -show inconsistent but reproducible behaviors that indicate awareness of the self or environment -eg. reacting to pain, following an object with their eyes, following commands, intelligible speech, motor functions AFTER CERTAIN STIMULI contingency (casual link between two events) may make it seem like a random action is linked to a stimuli -can wilfully modulate brain activity -neurological activity still exists, but communication is hindered COMA: -no response to any
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