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Chapter 5

Psychology chapter 5.docx

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Steve Joordens

Psychology 12.11.12 Chapter 5 Consciousness - Person’s subjective experience of the world and the mind (experience and being awake) - when you‟re not awake but experiencing a vivid dream. - Personal experience only own person knows (private world) How can private world be studied? 1) Examine consciousness directly (what it’s like and compare with unconscious mind processes) 2) Examine alter states: departures from normal, everyday waking that occur during altered states such as sleep and dreams, intoxication with alcohol and other drugs, and hypnosis and meditation 5.2 The Mysteries of Consciousness - Psychologists hope to understand of phenomenology: How things seem to the conscious person in understand the mind and behaviour The Problem of Other Minds - Problem of other minds: the fundamental difficulty we have in perceiving the consciousness of others - No clear way to distinguish a conscious person from someone who might do and say all the same things as a conscious person who is not conscious - You are the only thing in the universe you will ever truly know what it is like to be - No way you can tell if another person’s experience of anything is at all like yours - Ex. If you see colour red, others may not see that colour - People judge minds according to the capacity for experience (ability to feel pain, pleasure, hunger, consciousness, anger, or fear) and the capacity for agency (ability for self control, planning, memory, or thought) - In the end: respondents rated some targets as having little experience or agency (dead person), others as having experiences but little agency (the baby), and others as having both experience and agency (adult humans) - People appreciate that minds both have experiences and act as agents that perform actions Agency - Participants perceived minds as varying in the capacity for experience (abilities to feel pain or pleasure) and in the capacity for agency such as plan or self control - Perceive normal adult humans (male, female, or you) - One solution of consciousness scientific study: Eliminate consciousness from psychology entirely and follow other sciences into total objectivity by renouncing the study of anything mental (behaviourism) The Mind/Body Problem - The issue of how the mind is related to the brain and body - Rene Descartes: mind has its effects on the brain and body through the pineal gland, small structure located near the center of the brain - Pineal gland: not a nerve structure but an endocrine gland quite poorly equipped to serve as a center of human consciousness - Brain and mind connected everywhere to each other (mind is what the brain does) Seat of the Soul - Most psychologists assume that mental events are intimately tied to brain events, such that every thought, perception, or feeling is associated with a particular pattern of activation of neurons in the brain - brain‟s activities precede the activities of the conscious mind - Brain activity begins (EEG), conscious wish to act is experienced (clock reading), finger movement occurs (EMG) Libet’s experiment: asked to move fingers at will while simultaneously watching a dot move around the face of a clock to mark the moment at which the action was consciously willed. Meanwhile, EEG sensors timed the onset of brain activation and EMG sensors timed the muscle movement. (b) The experiment showed that brain activity (EEG) precedes the willed movement of the finger (EMG) but that the reported time of consciously willing the finger to move follows the brain activity. - Rain started to show electrical activity before the person’s conscious decision to move - Brain becomes active more than 300 milliseconds before p
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