PSY100 Chapter 4 Mind and Consciousness.docx

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12 Apr 2012
Chapter 4: The Mind and Consciousness
- Locked in syndrome: occurs when part of brain stem gets damaged. Awake and alert but cannot
communicate Jean-Dominique Bauby. Brain imaging allows researchers to see that similar
regions of brain activated in coma patient and in healthy patients.
How is conscious mind experienced?
- Our brains active during sleep, even though we are not conscious
- Consciousness: moment-by-moment subjective experiences, such as reflecting on current
thoughts or paying attention to immediate surroundings. It refers to awareness and
- Scientists study 2 components of consciousness:
o Contents of consciousness: things we are aware of
o Level of consciousness: coma, sleep, wakefulness
- Also focus on things humans do consciously speaking, and unconsciously: scratching
- Activity of neurons produces contents of consciousness. Each content has diff brain activity
Consciousness is a subjective experience
- Cannot know if we all experience world in exactly same way
- Quilia: word to describe our subjective experiences such as perception. i.e. does color red
look the same to everyone who has normal vision? When people say “I know how you feel” do
they really?
- Scientists can look at brain activity and determine which object you are looking at. brain
- Frank Tong (1998): studied relationship b/w consciousness and neural responses in brain.
Showed diff types of sensory info are processed by diff brain regions: particular type of neural
activity determines particular type of awareness
- Motor control: placed in monkeys who were able to control joystick by thoughts. In future
potentially help paralyzed people
There are variations in conscious experience
- Limit to consciousness. Cannot multitask a lot at once
- Automatic tasks: able to do certain things like driving, walking w/out thinking about it
- Consciousness and coma
- Persistent vegetative state: when in coma for longer than a month. Brain can process info in
this state, but cannot respond physically. The longer the person in this state, the less likely they
are to recover
- Minimally conscious state: between vegetative and full consciousness state. Able to make
some movements such as follow object w/ eyes and try to communicate.
Splitting the brain splits conscious mind
- Used to treat epilepsy by cutting through brain (corpus callosum) to isolate site of seizure
initiation. Therefore, seizure that begins at site will less likely spread through cortext = minimal
damage. After, called split brain
- Visual input: images from left side go to brains right hem and images from right side go to left
hem. Left hem: better w/ language. Right hem: better with spatial relationships
- Split brain experiment: cannot verbalize what is seen, but can pick up correct object. Splitting
brain produces two half brains, each w/ own perceptions, thoughts, and consciousness
- The interpreter: a left hem process that attempts to make sense of events.
o Sometimes when patients asked to do something, patient does not know why they are
doing it, because left hem mute. They cannot make connections between 2 hems.
Unconscious Processing Influences Behaviour
- We are aware of some mental processes and not aware of others
- Subliminal perception: info processed w/out conscious awareness. It refers to stimuli that get
processed by sensory systems but b/c of their short durations, they do not reach consciousness.
- Frudian slip: mistake in which an unconscious thought is suddenly expressed at an inappropriate
- Much of our behaviours occurs w/out awareness or intention
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