Levels of Consciousness
Conscious mind contains thoughts, perceptions, and other mental events of which we are
Preconscious mental events are outside current awareness, but can easily be recalled
under certain conditions.
Unconscious events cannot be brought into conscious awareness under ordinary
- Freud unconscious = reservoir of unacceptable desires and repressed experiences.
- Cognitive psychologists unconscious = information-processing system.
Controlled (effortful) processing the voluntary use of attention and conscious effort
- More flexible and open to change
Automatic processing little or no conscious effort
- More often in routine actions or well-learned tasks
- Speedy and economy of effort
- Disadvantage reduce our chances of finding a new way to approach problems
Automatic processing facilitates divided attention.
o The ability to perform more than one activity at the same time.
- Daily biological cycles
- Regulated by the brain’s suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), located in the hypothalamus
- Melatonin: Relaxing effect on the body (Higher at night)
- Free-running circadian rhythm 24.2 – 24.8 hours
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a cyclic tendency to become psychologically
depressed during certain month of the year.
- Jet lag is a sudden circadian disruption (Insomnia & decreased alertness)
- Night shiftwork biggest disruption Stages of Sleep
- Beta waves when we are awake
- Alpha waves when we are asleep
1. Light sleep from which we can easily be awakened. (only a few minutes)
2. Sleep spindles (muscles relaxed, breathing and heart rate slower, harder to
3. Very slow waves (body relaxed)
4. When delta waves dominate the EEG pattern. (very few body activities)
After 60 minutes, stages 1-2-3-4-3-2-REM
- How much sleep a person needs is influenced by genetic factors, work schedules,
stress, age, lifestyle, and general health
- Short-term sleep deprivation 45 hours or less without sleep
- Long-term sleep deprivation more then 45 hours without sleep
- Partial sleep deprivation sleeping no more then 5 hours a night for many days
- Mood suffers most, then cognitive and physical performance.
Why Do We Sleep?
- Restoration Model: Sleep recharges our rundown bodies and allows us to recover
from physical and mental fatigue. (We need sleep to function at our overall best)
- Evolutionary/Circadian Sleep Model: Sleep’s main purpose is to increase a species’
chances of survival in relation to its environmental demands. The Nature of Dreams
- More dreams during REM sleep
- More dreams during the last few hours of our sleep
- Dreams mostly take place in familiar settings with familiar people
- Most dreams contain negative content
- Female dream equally of male and females & Male dream mostly of men
Why Do We Dream?
- Freud’s psychoanalytic theory
o Main purpose of dreaming is wish fulfillment; the gratification of our unconscious
desires and needs.
o These desires are too unacceptable to be consciously acknowledged and fulfilled in
- Activation-synthesis theory
o During REM sleep, random neural activity
o Cortex attempts to interpret activity by creating a best fit
o Weird dreams
- Cognitive approaches
o Problem-solving dream models: Dreams help us find creative solutions to our
problems and conflicts because they are constrained by reality.
o Cognitive-process dream theories; focus on the process of how we dream.
o We need other imagery abilities in order to be able to dream.
Drugs and the Brain
- Enter the bloodstream and go to the brain through capillaries.
- Drugs get through the blood barrier & Alter consciousness
Agonist drug: Increases the activity of a neurotransmitter
Antagonist drug: Decreases the activity of a neurotransmitter Tolerance and Withdrawal
Tolerance is when a drug is used repeatedly; the effects of the same dosage may decrease
Compensatory responses: Reactions opposite to that of the drug.
(Body’s way of fighting the invasion of drugs)
Withdrawal: Occurrence of compensatory responses after discontinued drug use
Theories of hypnosis
Hypnosis is not sleep.
Dissociation Theories: View hypnosis as an altered state involving a division of
consciousness. (Experiences two streams of consciousness that are cut off from each
Social Cognitive Theories: Proposes that hypnotic experiences result from expectations
of people who are motivated to take on the role of being “hypnotized”. Chapter 7
Habituation is a decrease in the strength of response to a repeated stimulus.
- Simple form of learning that occurs within the nervous system, not the sensory neurons.
Sensitization is an increase in the strength of response to a repeated stimulus.
Acquisition refers to the period during which a response is being learned.
Unconditioned stimulus (UCS) doesn’t require learning
Unconditioned response (UCR) nature, unlearned reflex
Conditioned stimulus (CS)
Conditioned response (CR) learned response
Classical Conditioning help organisms adapt to their environment
Extinction & Spontaneous Recovery (Page 240)
- Extinction - if CS is presented repeatedly without UCS, CR will weaken and disappear
- Repeated extinction trials will speed up extinction
- Spontaneous discovery – reappearance of a previously extinguished CR after a rest
period, without new learning trials
- CR from spontaneous recovery is usually weaker
- Extinction occurs more rapidly
Stimulus Generalization & Discrimination (Page 241)
- Stimulus generalization - once CR is acquired, organism will respond to other stimuli
that are similar to original CS
- Greater chance for CR in more similar CS
- Discrimination – when a CR occurs to one stimulus, but not to others
Higher-Order Conditioning (Page 242)
- Higher-order conditioning – a neutral stimulus becomes a CS after paired with another
CS (rather than the original UCS)
- Typically, the new CS is weaker and extinguishes sooner Applications of Classical Conditioning
Exposure therapies, goal is to expose the phobic patients to the feared stimulus, allowing
extinction to occur.
Aversion therapy, attempts to condition an aversion (repulsion) to a stimulus that triggers
Positive reinforcement: Behavior is reinforced by desirable outcomes.
Negative reinforcement: A response is strengthened by the subsequent removal or
avoidance of a stimulus.
Not a punishment. Punishment weakens a response. Reinforcement strengthens.
Operant extinction is the weakening and eventual disappearance of a response because it
is no longer reinforced.
- Often provides a good alternative to punishment as a method for reducing undesirable
Positive punishment: A response is weakened by the subsequent presentation of a
stimulus. (Painful slaps, electric shocks, verbal reprimands)
- Often very subtle
- Rapid results
o Suppresses behavior but does not cause the organism to forget how to make the
o Negative emotions (fear, anger)
Negative punishment: Response is weakened by the subsequent removal of a stimulus.
- Strong fear of the punishing agent
- No physical aggression; therefore no further consequences
- Withholding love = damage
2 types of consequences
Primary reinforcers such as food and water, that an organism naturally finds reinforcing
because they satisfy biological needs.
Secondary or conditioned reinforcers, such as money and tokens, performance feedback
and grades. Behavior often depends on these two types. (Example, dog training)
Primary consequence has its value because of biological importance.
Secondary consequence has its value because of leaning importance.
Delay of gratification: The ability to forego an immediate smaller reward for a delayed
but more satisfying outcome.
- Unable to delay gratification = smoking, drinking, criminal acts, difficulty coping
with stress and frustration.
Shaping and Chaining
Shaping: Involves reinforcing successive approximations towards a final response.
- Speeds up the process of learning a behavior
Chaining: Used to develop a sequence (chain) of responses by reinforcing each response
with the opportunity to perform the next response.
Schedules of Reinforcement
Continuous reinforcement schedule: Every responses of a particular type are reinforced.
Partial reinforcement schedule: Only some responses are reinforced.
- Ratio schedules: Certain percentage of responses is reinforced. Based only on the
number of correct responses.
- Interval schedules: Certain amount of time must elapse between reinforcement, no
matter how many correct responses might occur. Based on the passage of time.
- Fixed schedules: Reinforcement always occurs after a fixed number of responses or
after a fixed time interval.
- Variable schedule: Required number of responses or the time interval varies at
random around an average. 4 Types
1. Fixed-Ratio Schedule
- Reinforcement is given after a fixed number of responses.
- High Rates of responding
2. Variable-Ratio Schedule (Gambling)
- Reinforcement is given after a variable number of correct responses, based on
- High rate of responding
3. Fixed-Interval Schedule (University)
- First correct response that occurs after a fixed time interval is reinforced.
4. Variable-Interval Schedule (Pop Quizzes)
- Reinforcement is given for the first response that occurs after a variable time interval.
Continuous reinforcement produces more rapid learning than partial reinforcement
because the association between behavior and its consequences is easier to perceive.
Variable schedules produce steadier rates of responding than fixed schedules.
Ratio schedules produce higher rates of responding than interval schedules.
Escape and Avoidance Conditioning
Escape conditioning: Organisms learn a response to terminate an aversive stimulus.
- Maintained through negative reinforcement
Avoidance conditioning: Organism learns a response to completely avoid an aversive
stimulus. (We learn to respond before the aversive stimulus even begins)
Two-factor theory of avoidance learning: Classical and operant conditioning are
involved in avoidance learning.
Applications of Operant Conditioning
Token economies: Desirable behaviors are quickly reinforced with tokens that are later
turned in for other reinforcers.
Applied behavior analysis: Combines a behavioral approach with scientific method to
solve individual and societal problems. Constraints on Classical Conditioning
Conditioned taste aversion: Pairing the smell and taste of food with a toxin or some
illness-producing agent can lead to the taste and smell of food to now disgusts and
Cognition in Classical Conditioning
“ This expectancy model states that the most important factor in classical conditioning is
not how often the CS (tone) and the UCS (salivation) are paired, but how well the CS
predicts the appearance of the UCS. “
Cognition in Operant Conditioning
- Latent learning, which refers to learning that occurs but is not demonstrated until
there is an incentive to perform. Chapter 8
A Three-Component Model
- Sensory Memory holds incoming sensory information just long enough for it to be
o Subsystems sensory registers, which are the initial information processors.
o Visual sensory processor iconic store (very brief, almost impossible to retain
o Auditory sensory processor echoic store (lasts longer than iconic memory)
- Short-Term Memory holds the information that we are conscious of at any given
o Memory codes in order to retain information from our sensory memory, it must
be represented in some type of code.
Form a mental image (visual encoding)
By sound (phonological encoding)
Focus on the meaning of a stimulus (semantic encoding)
Physical actions movements (motor encoding)
o (Note: The form of a memory code often does not correspond to the form of the
o No more than 5 to 9 units (The magical number, plus or minus 2)
o Maintenance rehearsal: Repetition of information
o Elaborative rehearsal: Focusing on the meaning of information or relating it to other
things we already know. (More effective to
transfer memory into long term)
o Mental workspace that actively and simultaneously processes different types of
information and supports other cognitive functions, such as problem solving; also
interacts with long-term memory.
- Long-Term Memory is our vast library of more durable memories.
o Serial position effect: Recall is influenced by a word’s position in a series of items.
Primary effect, recall of early words
Recency effect, recall of the most recent words Encoding
Effortful processing, encoding that is initiated intentionally and requires conscious
attention. (Rehearsing, taking notes)
Automatic processing, encoding that occurs without intention and requires minimal
Levels of processing: The more deeply we process information, the better it will be
remembered. (Semantic processing is the deepest)
Maintenance rehearsal Simple repetition
Elaborative rehearsal Focuses on the meaning of the information (elaborate)
Associations between concepts enhance memory.
Mnemonics: The art of improving memory.
Mnemonic device any type of memory aid (Chunking & hierarchies & acronyms)
Dual coding theory: Encoding information using verbal and non-verbal codes enhances
memory; because the odds improve that at least one of the codes will be remembered.
Method of loci forming images that links items to places
Schema: Mental framework (organized pattern of thought) (To organize and to interpret)
Types of Long-Term Memory
Declarative memory involves factual knowledge. (“declare it” we tell others what we
- Episodic memory is our store of factual knowledge concerning personal experiences.
- Semantic memory represents general factual knowledge about the world and
Procedural memory is reflected in skills and actions.
Explicit memory involves conscious or intentional memory retrieval, as when you
consciously recognize or recall something.
- Recognition: Decide whether a stimulus is familiar
- Recall: Spontaneous memory retrieval
Implicit memory occurs when memory influences our behavior without conscious
Retrieval cue, any stimulus (internal or external) that stimulates the activation of
information stored in long-term memory. (Most effective way to maximize recall)
Flashbulb memories are recollections that seem so vivid, so clear, that we can picture
them as if they were a picture of a moment in time. (Fades over time)
Encoding specificity principle, states that memory is enhanced when conditions present
during retrieval match those that were present during encoding.
Context dependent memory: Phenomenon that it is typically easier to remember
something in the
same environment in which it was acquired. (External)
State-dependent memory proposes that our ability to retrieve information is greater when
our internal state at the time of retrieval matches our original state during learning.
Mood-congruent recall: We tend to recall information or events that are congruent with
our current mood.
Why Do We Forget?
Failing to encode into long-term memory. (Turning our attention to something else)
Decay theory: Proposes that with time and disuse, the physical memory trace in the
nervous system fades away.
Proactive interference occurs when material learned in the past interferes with recall of
Retroactive interference occurs in the opposite direction. Newly acquired information
interferes with the ability to recall information learned at an earlier time.
Repression: Protect us by blocking the recall of anxiety-arousing memories. Memory Distortion and Schemas
The Misinformation Effect and Eyewitness Testimony
Misinformation effect: Distortion of a memory by misleading post-event information.
(By mistaken eyewitness identification)(Subtle)
Also occurs because of source confusion: Our tendency to recall something or recognize
it as familiar, but to forget where we encountered it.
(Other effects like alcohol and drugs)
(Identifications based on voice alone are also less accurate then visual)
The “Recovered Memory” Controversy
Not automatic evidence of repression
Page 306-307 Chapter 9
The Structure of Language
Language Surface structure & deep structure
Surface structure read, listen, and produce a sentence. (Symbols used and their orders)
Deep structure underlying meaning of the combined symbols
When telling a story, change from deep structure to surface structure, making it easier for
others to understand and follow.
Phoneme: The smallest unit of speech sound in a language that can signal a difference in
meaning. (No specific meaning alter meaning when combined with other words)
Phonemes are combined with morphemes, the smallest unit of meaning in a language.
(Stuff of which words are formed into words, phrases, sentences)
Discourse: Sentences are combined into paragraphs, articles, books, conversations, etc.
(Sentences Phrases Words Morphemes Phoneme)
Acquiring a (First) Language
Unfolding of a biologically primed process within a social learning.
Language acquisition device (LAD): An innate biological mechanism that contains the
general grammatical rules common