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Chapter 9

Chapter 9 Notes

Course Code
Steve Joordens

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Experiments: purple
Topics: Green
Key terms: yellow
What is it?
-you are aware of yourself and your processes: perceiving, planning, remembering, thinking, etc.
-able to experience or feel, and to have subjective awareness
-we are not conscious of everything and we are not conscious all the time; thus, consciousness is not a general property of
all parts of the brain
-it is a private experience that cannot be shared directly; however, we can share it through language or words/symbols
-we know other ppl are conscious b/c they tell us they are conscious too
-we can make plans in words, think about the consequences of these plans in words, and use words to produce behaviours-
all without actually saying the words. We think them.
Understanding Consciousness
1) Consciousness is NOT a natural phenomenon
-it is supernatural and miraculous & not to be understood by the human mind
-believed that it cannot be observed through behaviour
-it does not relate to the laws of nature that scientist study, for example, matter and purely physical forces
2) Consciousness IS a natural phenomenon
-unable to understand it because:
lack the means to study it scientifically
Our brains are simply not capable of understanding consciousness
It w old take a more complex brain to understand the biology of subjective awareness
Consciousness is a vague poor ly defined term and we need to define what it is before we study it
3) We are conscious and we are able to observe it

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-"thought itself is an activity of the brain”---Donald Hebb definition
-functional neuroimaging (i.e. fMRI) allows a new dimension of scientific consciousness study
Blindsight: The ability to interact behaviourally with objects while remaining consciously unaware of them
-able to reach for objects when unaware of seeing them
-caused by damage of the visual cortex, or some pathways leading into or from that area
-can be thought of as vision without consciousness, or awareness
What about animals?
-your dog can learn to communicate w/ you by telling you that it wants to eat, go for a walk, or play
“top hat illusion”: when the horizontal tends to look shorter than the vertical when they are both the same size
Ganel and Goodale (2003)----Also from Lecture Example
-Experiment: compared perceptual judgments of object shape with the ability to pick up the object
-showed participants a wooden block on a table & asked whether the block was wide or narrow
-it is easy to judge width if the blocks all have the same length
-if the blocks vary in length, the task is more difficult
-when participants were to grasp the blocks across the middle, their grasping action was not affected by variation in length
-theorized that our perceptual awareness of objects may be based on a different visual system than the one we use for
Libet (1983)-Conciousness and the Control of Behaviour—Also from Lecture Example
-asked participants to make a hand motion while watching a rapidly moving clock hand
-reported where the clock hand was at the time they became aware of an intention to move
-participants experienced awareness of the intention about 3/10ths of a second before the motion
-the movement command in brain (as measured by EEG readiness potential) preceded intention by 7/10ths of a second
(even earlier than the intention)
-Thus, the brain seemed to be starting the movement before there was awareness of willing” motion

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Haggard and Eimer (1999)
-if readiness potential was the cause of movement, it should show covariation in time with awwarneess
-Lateralized reainess potential-measures activity specific to the side where the movement occurs
-When awareness was late, the lateralized readiness was also late; when awareness was early the potential occurred
Haggard, Clark, and Kalogeras (2002)
- produced involuntary movements of the hand on participants by inducing muscle twitches with magnetic impulses
-compared involutnary and voluntary hand movements
-Same experiment with Libet-clock, hand and record time
-operant tirals: a tone came a ¼ of a sec after a movement
-on voluntary trials: movement was late & tone was early, the movement and the tone were close together
-involuntary trials: movement was early & tone was late, perception was that they were further apart
Our brain therefore, must bind together the experience of voluntary movement with its external consequences
Obhi (2007)---From Lecture
-participants rested their index finger on keyboard and were asked to press the key at any point, softly or forcefully
-On some trials, experimenter push the participants finger down either softly or forcefully
-same procedure as Libets experiment
-participants, on average, reported that the movement had occured earlier than it really had
this was consistent on both self-directed and researcher assisted trials
amount of error was less for forceful movements
-appears that awareness of movement is based on sensory info from finger, even when it was unintentional
Selective Attention
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