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Chapter 3

Chapter 3 consciousness and the twotrack mind.doc

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Najwa Haddad

Chapter 3 Consciousness and the TwoTrack Mindearn a point pg 85107 pg 119 pdfIntroductionconsciousness is our awareness of ourselves and our environment it allows us to assemble information from many sources as we reflect on our past and plan for our futureit focuses our attention when we learn complex concepts and behaviours I Cognitive Neurosciencetries to understand the biology of consciousnessscientists assume that the mind is what the brain does cognitive neuroscience the interdisciplinary study of the brain activity linked with our mental processesdual processing we know more than we know we know perception memory thinking language and attitudes all operate on two levels a conscious deliberate high road and an unconscious automatic low roadeg in vision a visual perception track enables us unconsciously to create the mental furniture that allows us to think about the world and to recognize things and to plan future actionsa visual action track guides our conscious momenttomoment actions selective Attentionyour conscious awareness focuses on only a very limited aspect of all that you experiencecocktail party effectyour ability to attend to only one voice among many selective inattentioninattentional blindnesshaving your attention directed somewhere else and being so focused on that thing that you dont notice anything else change blindnessa form of inattentional blindnesseg after a brief visual interruption a big Coke bottle may disappear a railing may rise clothing color may change but the viewers wont notice change deafnesseg in an experiment 40 of people focused on repeating a list of challenging words failed to notice a change in the person speaking choice blindnessform of inattentioneg 120 volunteers were shown 2 female faces for 25 seconds and was asked which face was more attractivethe researchers then put the photos face down and handed viewers the one they had chosen asking them to explain their choice the researcher uses sleightofhand to switch the photos showing the viewers the face they had not chosenthe volunteers didnt notice and even readily explained why they preferred the face they had actually rejected choiceblindness blindnessusing the same volunteers when asked whether they would notice such a switch in a hypothetical experiment 84 insisted they wouldII Sleep circadian rhythmour bodies roughly synchronize with the 24hour cycle of day and night through a biological clock the circadian rhythm bright light in the morning tweaks the circadian clock by activating lightsensitive retinal proteins which control the circadian clock by triggering signals to the brains suprachiasmatic nucleus SCN the SCN does its job by causing the brains pineal gland to decrease its production of the sleepinducing hormone melatonin in the morning or increasing it in the evening artificial light delays sleep A Sleep Stagesevery 90 minutes we pass through a cycle of 5 distinct sleep stages yawning stretches your neck muscles and increases your heart rate which increases alertness alpha waves slow waves on the EEG that occur during your awake but relaxed statestage 1 slowed breathing and irregular brain waves that occur as you slip into sleep you may experience fantastic images resembling hallucinations or have a sensation of falling or of floating weightlessly hypnagogic sensations stage 2 occurs for 20 minutes and is characterized by the periodic appearance of sleep spindles bursts of rapid rhythmic brainwave activity sleep talking can occur during any stage of sleep
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