PSYC 1000 Chapter Notes -Introspection Illusion, Attention, Change Blindness
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Course: PSYC*1000 (DE)
Professor: Harvey Marmurek
Schedule: Summer, 2012
Textbook: Psychology – Tenth Edition in Modules authored by David G. Myers
Textbook ISBN: 9781464102615
Module 07: Consciousness and the Two-Track Mind
What is the place of consciousness in psychology’s history?
•Behaviorism – direct observations on behaviour
•Cognition – mental processes
•How do brain cells jabbering to one another create our awareness of the taste of a taco, the idea of infinity,
the feeling of fright?
Some states occur spontaneously: daydreaming; drowsiness; dreaming
Some are physiologically induced: hallucinations; orgasm; food or oxygen starvation
Some are psychologically induced: sensory deprivation; hypnosis; meditation
What is the “dual processing” being revealed by today’s cognitive neuroscience?
•Marvin Minsky (1986) “the mind is what the brain does” – we still don’t know how to make a conscious robot
•One view sees conscious experiences as produced by the synchronized activity across the brain
Those working in the interdisciplinary field called (cognitive neuroscience) study the brain activity associated with
perception, thinking, memory, and language.
•Dual processing: the two-track mind
oBeneath the surface, unconscious information processing occurs simultaneously on many parallel
oPerception, memory, thinking, language, and attitudes all operate on two levels – a conscious and
oTemporary blindness (magnetic pulses to your brain’s primary visual cortex area)
oVisual perception track enables us to think about the world
oVisual action track guides our moment-to-moment movements
oOn occasions these two conflict – hollow face illusion
oAutomatic pilot – our mind’s CEO – monitor the whole system and deal with new challenges, while
neural assistants automatically take care of routine business
oIn everyday life, we mostly function like an automatic point-and-shoot camera, but with a manual
oOur unconscious parallel processing is faster than sequential conscious processing
What are the mind’s two tracks, and what is “dual processing”?
Our mind has separate conscious and unconscious tracks that perform dual processing – organizing and
interpreting information simultaneously.
How much information do we consciously attend to at once?
oTake in 11,000,000 bits of info per second; consciously process about 40
oCocktail Party Effect: ability to attend to only one voice among many
oReading – people blink less than when their mind is wandering
oToll for switching attentional gears (especially when we shift to complex tasks) – sometimes a fatal
delay in coping
oMulti-tasking comes at a cost – brain activity in areas vital to driving decreases an average 37%
when a driver is attending to a conversation – focusing attention on some part of our environment
oAttention is powerfully selective; conscious mind is in one place at a time
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