Chapter 5 - Variations in Consciousness
The Nature of Consciousness
Samniloquy- sleep talking
Narcolepsy- falling asleep randomly during normal things
Consciousness is the awareness of internal and external stimuli
Stream of consciousness- we are always changing consciousness and things we pay
attention to- William James
Variations in Awareness and Control
Mind wandering- people’s experience of task-unrelated thoughts. These are thoughts that are not
related to what the person is doing. Associated with less accurate awareness of environment
Connection between mind wandering and creativity.
Controlled process- judgements or thoughts we exert control over
Automatic process- without intentional or external control
Judgements are made in a blink of an eye- we really do suck
Consciousness and Brain Activity
Consciousness does not arise from any structure of brain but from the connection and
communication in the brain
EEG (electroencephalograph) is a device that monitors the electrical activity of the brain over time
by means of recording electrodes attached to the surface of the scalp. Detects brain waves and
summarizes the rhythm of cortical activity.
Brain wave tracings are frequency (cycles per second- cps) and amplitude
Beta (13-24 cps), alpha ( 8-12 cps) , theta (4-7 cps) and delta (under 4 cps)
Different patterns are associated with different states of consciousness
Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Sleep was more than just a passive activity (in history sleep was not considered to be able to be
studied scientifically- it was thought of as a passive activity where nothing happened)
Discovery of REM by William Dement sparked interest in sleep
Biological rhythms: periodic fluctuations in physiological functioning. Internal “biological clocks”
The Role of Circadian Rhythms
Circadian rhythms: 24-hours biological cycles found in humans and many other species (influence
regulation of sleep)
Rhythmic variations in blood production, urine production, hormonal secretion and other physical
Alertness, short-term memory and other aspects of cognitive performance
Body temperature related to sleep- awake when hot sleepy when cold
Sleep quality matters more to health than sleep quantity
Light has effect on biological clock (suprachiasmatic nucleus - SCN - sends signals to pineal gland
which secrete melatonin that play a key role in adjusting biological clock)
Ignoring Circadian Rhythms “sleep debt”- accumulates when you do not get enough sleep- must be paid back hour for hour
Jet lag- you follow your biological clock and because you are in a different time zone it appears
that you slept at the ‘wrong time’. Resetting biological clock needed. A day for each time zone
Shift workers do not get good sleep and less total sleep. Had trouble getting to sleep and keep
Melatonin and Circadian Rhythms
Melatonin- regulate human biological clock. Can reduce the effects of jet lag by helping travellers
resynchronize their biological clocks.
Timed exposure to bright light can realign circadian rhythms of workers
Rotating shift workers have a difficult ass time.
The Sleep and Waking Cycle
Subjects come and sleep in “bedrooms” and are hooked up to things and then researcher observe
them through windows
EMG (electromyography)- records muscular activity and tension
EOG (electrooculography)- records eye movements
Record heart rate, temperature, etc also
Cycling Through the Stages of Sleep
No obvious transition point between wakefulness and sleep. Also depends on when person last
slept, drug intake, boredom level, circadian cycle, etc.
Cycle through 5 stages:
1. 1-7 minutes- breathing and heart rate slow down as mucle tension and temperature go
down. Theta waves are prominent and alpha waves go away. Hypnic jerks- brief muscular
contractions that occur as people fall asleep
2. 10-25 minutes- sleep spindles- brief bursts of higher frequency brain waves. Brain waves
become higher in amplitude and lower in frequency
3. Slow-wave sleep: high-amplitude, low-frequency delta waves become prominent in EEG
recordings. Reach it in half hour and stay for half hour
4. SWS still th
5. REM( Rapid eye movement): 5 stage of sleep, EEG activity is dominated by high-frequency
beta waves that resemble those observed when people are alert and awake.- ripples moving
back and forth in eyes. A “deep” stage of sleep and are hard to awaken from. Irregular
breathing and pulse rate. Less body movements and paralysis.
REM sleep is associated with dreaming- most dreaming reports come from this stage.
Sleep is recollection of what happened in the day
Different stages of sleep – different types of tasks and information. Eg stage 2 for motor related
tasks and RE for logical thinking things
REM sleep is a relatively deep stage of sleep marked by a rapid eye movements; high frequency
low amplitude brain waves; and vivid dreaming
Non-REM sleep consists of sleep stages 1-4, which are marked by an absence of REM, relatively
little dreaming and varied EEG activity Repetition: people usually repeat sleep cycle about 4 times. First REM period lasts only a few
minutes and they get longer as sleep goes on and REM repeats. NREM gets shorter.
We all have a signature sleep pattern- stable patterns of sleep each night for each of us
Age Trends in Sleep
Babies- nonREM and REM- often sleep for 16 hours (lucky bastards), spend 50% dreaming in REM
sleep :3. Newborns sleep randomly in day but after several months they develop a nighttime sleep
REM declines to 30% through remainder of first year, and then goes to 20%.
As adult ages, sleep is more towards light-sleeping and may contribute to elderly people being all
awake and creepy at night
Average sleeping time decreases as ages
Culture and Sleep
Co-sleeping: parents and children sleeping together.
Western society- co-sleeping is discouraged tch tch! phenomenon
Many cultures have napping times in afternoons where stores close for a few hours (I WANT!!!).
Found in tropical regions of world- adaptive so people can avoid working during hottest times of
The Neural Basis of Sleep
Structures that lie deep within brain seem to be associated with regulation of sleep. Reticular
Formation important to sleep
Ascending reticular activating system(ARAS)- afferent fibres running through the reticular
formation that influence physiological arousal. Neural regulation of sleep and waking.
Pons and adjacent areas are involved in REM sleep
Medulla, thalamus, hypothalamus and limbic system seem to be involved as well, A constellation
of interacting brain centres regulates flow of sleep.
GABA and Serotonin play important roles in regulation of sleep. Norepinephrine, dopamine and
acetylcholine influence course of sleep and arousal. As well as other chemicals.
No single brain structure serves as sleep structure or chemical as sleep chemical
Doing Without: Sleep Deprivation
Sleep Restriction (partial sleep deprivation): People sleep less than they need to sleep. Less than
five hours of sleep is bad and monotonous long-term tasks are bad. Sleep deprivation has a
negative impact on functioning. Sleep-deprived people think they are doing good but they actually
not doing as good as they think they are(that is why you should always get enough sleep before a
Selective Deprivation: subjects were selectively deprived of REM sleep. REM deprivation has little
effect on performance and functioning but has effect of sleep patterns. Subjects shift into REM
sleep more frequently when deprived of it. Subjects sleep extra in REM sleep to make up for lost
REM sleep. “REM debt “ Similar things happen with slow-wave sleep.
REM and NonREM sleep promote diff types of memory
Problems in the Night: Sleep Disorders
78 diff types of sleep disorders Insomnia- chronic problems in getting adequate sleep.
1. Difficulty in falling asleep
2. Difficulty in remaining asleep
3. Persistent early-morning awakening
Daytime fatigue, impaired functioning and elevated risk of accidents, reducted productivity,
absenteeism at work and depression, health problems
Prevalence: 34_35 adults report problems of insomnia and half suffer from severe insomnia.
Increases with age and happen in women more than men
“pseudo-insomnia”- only think they are not getting adequate amount of sleep . People
underestimate how much sleep they get.
Cause: anxiety, tension, emotional problems, depression, stress, health problems and drug
use (cocaine and amphetamines)
Treatment: sedative drugs (sleeping pills) most common treatment. Bad long-term solution
and some people use it too much. People can become physically dependent. It could make
person sluggish in the daytime. Can reduce REM sleep or SWS sleep. Melatonin can also be
Relaxation procedures and behaviourial interventions also work. Produce more long-lasting
benefits. Cognitive behavioural therapy also helps- turning negative thoughts into good
Other Sleep problems
Narcolepsy: disease marked by sudden and irresistible onsets of sleep during normal waking
hours. Goes from wakefulness into REM directly usually for some minutes (10-20). 0.05% of
Sleep apnea: frequent, reflexive gasping for air that awakens a person and disrupts sleep.
Happens when person stops breathing for more than 10 seconds. Insomnia is a side effect
and is associated with loud snoring.
Nightmare: anxiety-arousing dreams that lead to awakening, usually from REM sleep.
Person has difficulty getting back to sleep. Anxiety and depression associated with higher
frequency of nightmares. Persistent nightmares are emotional disturbance. Most children
go through a lot of this shit
Night terrors (sleep terrors): abrupt awakenings from NREM sleep, accompanied by intense
autonomic arousal and feelings of panic. Heart rate goes up a lot. Temporary problem.
Usually happen in stage 4 of sleep- person wakes up screaming and sits up and stares into
space- happens because of some image
Somnambulis (sleep walking): occurs when a person arises and wanders about while
remaining asleep. Occurs during first 2 hours of sleep. Sleepwalkers are prone to accidents
but do not suffer from emotional stuff- seem to have a genetic disposition.
The World of Dreams
Dreams occur in other stages than REM sleep- even though they are less vivid and more story-like.
The Contents of Dreams
Most dreams are relatively mundane- in familiar settings doing normal things
Females dreamt about negative while males dream about positive
Dream is suggested to be a cognitive ability Links between Dreams and Waking Life
Dreams are influenced by real life
Day residue- stuff in real life in day often goes into dreams the night
What happens around person while sleeping may enter into dream (eg. alarm noise from clock turn into
loud engine )
Lucid dreaming :D
Culture and Dreams
Western culture separates “real life” and “dream life” and do not hold much importance to dream life
Many cultures give importance to dreams and get information about oneself, the future or the spiritual
world from them
Theories of Dreaming
Freud- wish fulfillment (people did things in dreams they wished they did in real life)
Rosalind Cartwright- cognitive, problem-solving view (continuity in sleeping and waking thought, dreams
allow people to solve things creatively because there Is no logic and realism)
Allan Hobson and McCartley- activation-synthesis model ( dreams are side effects of neural activation
that produces ‘wide-awake- brain waves during REM sleep. The cortex in brain makes sense of random
signals sent to it by making up dreams. )
Hypnosis: Altered Consciousness or Role Playing?
Franz Mesmer- mesmerism – to “mesmerize”- he hypnotized people into believing they did not have
illness, FUN STUFF
Hypnotism- James Braid a Scottish physician came up with word from Greek word for sleep
Many myths exist about hypnosis and on figure 5.15 on page 214 they are cleared
Hypnotic Induction and Susceptibility
Hypnosis: a systematic procedure that typically produces a heightened state of s