Textbook Notes (363,178)
Canada (158,245)
Psychology (9,573)
PSYA01H3 (1,196)
Steve Joordens (1,052)
Chapter 5

Chapter 5 - Conciousness.docx

8 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Toronto Scarborough
Steve Joordens

CONSCIOUSNESSA persons subjective experience of the world and the mind Conscious is not simply being awake the defining feature of it is experience Conscious experience is essential to what it means to be human Your conscious is utterly privateDoctors use a consciousness meter to see how awake the patient is when they give anesthetic Psychologists try to understand what it is to be human They hope to include an understanding of Phenomenology how things seem to the conscious person in their understanding of mind and behavior Consciousness is a mystery of psychology because other peoples minds cannot be perceived directly and because the relationship between mind and body is perplexingTwo mysteries of consciousness the problem of other minds and the mindbody problemThe problem of other mindsThe fundamental difficulty we have in perceiving the consciousness of othersThere is no clear way to distinguish a conscious person from someone who might do and say all the same things as a conscious person but who is not consciousWhen a philosopher calls a person a zombie they describe someone who is not conscious but pretends to be by talking about experiences and pretending to react to them Eg a zombie might say the light is bright and turn away even if they dont feel anythingNo one holds the ability to see the consciousness of others Only oneself will know what it is like to be themThere are two dimensions of mind perceptionPeople judge minds according to the capacity for experience such as the ability to feel pain pleasure hunger and consciousness anger or fear and the capacity for agency such as the ability for selfcontrol planning memory or thoughtThe mindbody problemIssue of how the mind is related to the brain and bodyRene Descartes believed that the human body is a machine made of physical matter but that the human mind or soul is a separate entity made of a thinking substance He suggested that the mind has its effects on the brain and body through the pineal gland a small structure located near the center of the brain However we know that the mind and brain are connected everywhere to each other and the mind is what the brain doesDescartes believed that the pineal gland sits in the middle of the brainA study shows that brains activities precede the activities of the conscious mind This means that the brain shows electrical activity before an action is produced by the humanStudies have also showed that thinking comes after brain activity The brain gets started before the actual thinking or doing and therefore our brain prepares the way for thoughtactionProperties of Consciousness1 Intentionalitythe quality of being directed toward an object Conscious attention is limited meaning it cannot be directed to an object for too long2 Unityresistance to division This property becomes clear when you try to attend more than one thing at a time Your performance becomes very poor when you try to divide your attention as opposed to focus on what youre doing 3 Selectivitycapacity to include some objects but not the others This property is shown through studies of dichotic listening in which people wearing headphones are presented with different messages in each ear Conscious can filter out information when participants were given different messages in each ear they repeated the second message without realizing that language has changed Similarly conscious can tune in other informationparticipants did not notice when the voice changed from male to female The conscious system is most inclined to select information of special interest to the person For example in what has come to be known as the cocktail party phenomenon people tune in one message even while they filter out others nearby 4 Transiencetendency to change The mind wanders constantly William James describes consciousness as a stream Our conscious mind has a limited capacity and when more information is selected the current information must disappear As a result our focus attention keeps changing Stream of consciousness can change even when it
More Less

Related notes for PSYA01H3

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.