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Psyc100-Ch6 - Consciousness.docx

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PSYC 100
Jaime Palmer- Hague

Psychology 100 Chapter 6: State of Consciousness C ONSCIOUSNESS ( P .171) Moment-to-moment awareness of ourselves and our environment  Why do we have consciousness? It enhances our ability to adapt to our environment. It makes information available to brain regions involved in planning and decision making. It also helps us cope with novel situations and override impulsive and autopilot behaviors Characteristics  Subjective and private: other people cannot directly know what reality is for you or can you enter into other’s  Dynamic (ever changing): in and out of states, even though stimuli are changing, we exit as continuously flowing stream of mental activity, rather than as disjointed perceptions and thoughts  Self-reflective and central to sense of self: aware of its own consciousness—means you can reflect on the fact that you are the one who is conscious of it Connected to selective attention: consciousness reflects whatever is illuminated at the moment Measuring Consciousness  Self-report measures: ask people to describe their inner experiences, offer most direct insight but not always verifiable or possible to obtain (eg unconscious behaviour)  Behavioural measures: record people’s performance on special tasks  Physiological measures: establish corresponding patterns between bodily process and mental states (eg. measure brain waves when alert, relaxed, sleeping, etc) Level of Consciousness (p.172) The Freudian Viewpoint  Believed in the notion of an lusciousness mind driven by instinctive urges and repressed conflicts  Human mind has 3 levels of awareness 1. Conscious mind – contains thoughts and perceptions of which we are currently aware 2. Preconscious mind – mental events outside current awareness but can easily be recalled under certain conditions (eg forgotten friend but remembers upon hearing the name) 3. Unconscious mind – cannot be brought into consciousness under ordinary circumstances o Unacceptable content is repressed to keep out of consciousness to avoid guilty and anxious feelings The Cognitive Viewpoint  Believed conscious and unconscious processes work in harmony  Conscious = Controlled processing: conscious use of attention and effort (eg. Studying for your midterm)  Unconscious = Automatic processing: can be performed without conscious awareness or effort (eg. Carrying out familiar/routine actions)  Allows divided attention: attend and perform more than one activity at the same time (but with limits and difficult when require similar mental recourses). Eg can walk and talk, can’t hear two msgs simultaneously Unconscious perception and influence (p.173) Prosopagnosia: inability to recognize faces.  Brain shows different pattern of brain activity when looking at familiar/unfamiliar faces. Brain recognize and responds but it does not reach level of conscious awareness (ch6) Blindsight: blind in part of visual field yet in special tests respond to stimuli in that field despite reporting that they can’t see those stimuli  When showing lines, colors or photos, of facial expressions in blind visual field, patients could guess at rates well above chance (80-100%) Priming: exposure to a stimulus influences how you subsequently respond to that same or another stimulus  Eg. Ho___? If person had looked at a screen on which the word/picture of house was presented subliminally (displayed so quickly or rapidly that it was below threshold for conscious perception), they are more likely to complete the word stems with the word house.  Even without consciously seeing house, the subliminal word or images primes people’s response to ho___. Emotional Unconscious Emotional and motivation process also operate unconsciously and influence behavior  Eg. An amnesia patient could not remember new personal experiences. One day, doctor stabbed her hand with pin while shaking hands. Later, patient forgot about the experience and the doctor, but despite amnesia, she suddenly withdrew hand. Apparently, an unconscious memory of the painful experience influenced her behavior.  Eg. Researcher subliminally presented students with negative/positive words. Later student reported sad/happy moods corresponding to words Masking: procedure use to control whether people perceive a stimulus consciously or unconsciously. Participants undergo brain imaging while exposed to mask and unmasked stimuli to enable scientists to see how brain activity differs depending on whether the same stimuli are consciously or unconsciously perceivex  Eg a) angry face shown for 30 millisecond, people report seeing it. Picture is not masked.  b) if angry face is followed by neutral face for a longer time (45ms), people report seeing the neutral but not angry face. (backward masking) – Presentation of second photo masks conscious perception of first photo. C IRCADIAN R HYTHMS : OUR DAILY BIOLOGICAL CLOCKS ( P .177) Circadian Rhythms: daily biological cycles that help regulate bodily processes and influence alertness and readiness for sleep .  Suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) – regulates circadian rhythms. It has genetically programmed cycle of activity/inactivity  They link to the tiny pineal gland, which secretes melatonin: a hormone that has a relaxing effect on the body o Day: SCN neurons is active, heightening alertness o Night: SCN neurons inactive, melatonin levels increase, increase relaxation and sleepiness  Respond to environmental cues (i.e. light)  People lived in cave without clock or sunlight; they drift into natural wake-sleep cycle, called Free-running circadian rhythm, roughly 24.2 hours. Eg Follini experiment, 20hours wake, 10 hours sleep  In general, alertness is lowest in the early morning hours between 12am-6am. Job performance errors, major industrial accidents, car accidents peak.  Circadian rhythms influence our tendency to be either a morning person or a night person but cultural factors may also play a role. Disruption by gradual/sudden environmental changes (p.178)  Circadian adjustments due to our environments/behaviours  Reduces alertness, increases fatigue, cancer?  Jet Lag: caused by flying across several time zones in one day. Flying east: lost hours, flying west: extends day.  Night-shift work: When body prompts sleep, you work. Then you sleep in daylight, making it harder to alter biological clock. Usually only get 2-4hours of sleep, over time, body become fatigue and stressed. Can become worse if rotate day/night shifts every few days/week  Season affective disorder (SAD): cyclic tendency to become psychologically depressed during certain season of the year. Less sunlight, people go to work/school in the dark, and remain sleepy into afternoon. S LEEP AND D REAMING Stages of sleep (p.180): Roughly 90 minutes, we cycle through different stages of sleep. Beta Waves = Awake: high frequency, low amplitude Alpha waves = Asleep: low frequency Stage 1: light sleep, can easily be awaken, some people experience dreams, vivid images, sudden body jerks  Slower theta waves increase Stage 2: more relaxed, breathing/heart rate are slower, dreams may occur, harder to awake  Sleep spindles occur, 1-2sec of rapid brain-wave activity Stage 3: sleep deepens  Very slow, and large delta waves, but not dominant Stage 4: activity in brain decrease, body is relaxed, hard to awake, may have dreams  Increased, dramatic delta waves and dominates  Stage 3 and 4 = slow-wave sleep  After 20-30mins in stage4, you go back to stage3 and 2, spending little time in each. In a 60-90min cycle, body will complete 1-2-3-4-3-2 stage.  Then go into REM sleep. REM Sleep (p.181):  rapid eye movements: burst of muscular activity cause sleepers eyeballs to vigorously move back and forth  high arousal: heart rate quickens, breathing more rapid, brain- wave activity resembles that of wakefulness  frequent dreaming: those awaken during REM periods almost always reported a dream  REM sleep paralysis/Paradoxical sleep : brain send signals making it harder for voluntary muscles to contract so arms and legs are relaxed and body is paralyzed, unable to move.  As we go through cycle, stage 4 and stage 3 drop out and REM periods become longer. The Brain During REM-Sleep (p.182)  Various brain areas control different aspects of sleep, some turn off, some turn on to actively sleep  Basal forebrain and brain stem regulate falling asleep  Pontine reticular formation regulate REM sleep Intense activity in limbic system:  amygdala (regulates emotions) – effects emotional nature of REM sleep dreams  primary motor cortex is active but signals to limbs are blocked  association areas are active – processing visual dream images  decreased activity in regions of prefrontal cortex – no high- level mental functions (planning, logical analysis) Factors Affecting Our Sleep: (p.183) Environment  Circadian Rhythms: changes in seasons, amount of light  Culture: timing and length per night, naps, co-sleeping with children  Sleeping Arrangements: Stress, Shift-work, Noise Biology  Age: we sleep less as we age, REM decreases in childhood, less to no time in stage3/4 when old  Individual Differences: Genes, identical twins have more similar sleep length, bedtimes, sleep patterns  Sleep Deprivation: impaired functioning, mood, physical/cognitive performance Sleeping Disorders (p.186)  Insomnia – difficulty staying asleep or experiencing restful sleep o They overestimate time, 20 mins feel like hours, most common disorder 10-40% of population o Can be genetics or conditions like anxiety and depression, stress, poor lifestyle, jet lag  Narcolepsy – inability to stay awake, extreme daytime sleepiness and uncontrollable sleep attacks o
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