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Chapter 4

PSY100 Chapter 4

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Dan Dolderman

Chapter 4- The Mind and Consciousness Consciousness: subjective experience of the world and of mental activity • Level of consciousness (coma, sleep, awake) • Contents of consciousness (things we are conscious of) • Each of us experiences consciousness subjectively • Qualia: describes the properties of our subjective experiences such as our perceptions of things (introspection- from of qualia) • Brain imaging can help identify commonalities in brain activity across experiences (to see if you are truly feeling same thing as friend) • Frank Tong studied relationship b/t consciousness and neural responses in brain • Showed ppl face on top of a house, ppl who saw face (↑neural activity in fusiform face area), ppl who saw house (↑ in neural activity in temporal lobe associated w/object recognition ) • Conclusion: different types of sensory info processed by diff brain regions which determines type of awareness • Nicolelis experiment on monkeys • Inserts electrodes on monkeys, record brain activity associated with certain mvts, linked it to a robot brain’s firing pattern translated into signals that control mvt of robotic arm • Hope for people suffering from paralysis Variations in conscious experience • Automatic (driving car, catching ball) vs. Controlled Tasks (driving in rain) • Vegetative state: persistent coma, do not respond to surroundings but evidence that brain still processes info in this state • Minimally conscious state: b/t vegetative state and full consciousness • People make some deliberate mvts, may try to communicate • Brain imaging makes identifying patient’s state if consciousness easier, and can tell likelihood of recovery • Lead to new treatments: stimulating thalamus increases awareness among those in minimally conscious states Split Brain Experiment- L & R hemispheres disconnected- cut corpus callosum • Belief that cutting corpus callosum would help people with epilepsy- avoid spreading L hemisphere: logic, linear thinking, language, creates narrative story of reality R hemisphere: emotions, music, spatial processing • On basis on limited info, L hemisphere attempts to explain behaviour governed by R hemisphere, but often does so inaccurately • Ex: “Stand up” R hem… will stand up… L hem reasons “I need a soda” vs. “you just told me to” • Gazzaniga- presented word PHONE to patient J.W’s R hem given pen, drew a phone, L hem still didn’t know what it was drawing… until finally, reasoned “Duh it’s a phone after it saw it. • Interpreter speculates • L brain- tries to compress experiences into comprehensible story, make sense of things, find pattern • R brain- just experiences the world, remembers things without trying to make sense of them • Ex: red, green flashes across screen red flashed 70% of time, R hem just keep pressing red… will be right 70% of time (split pea) vs. L hem tries to find patterns, reason … only press 70% of time being right only 58% of time Unconscious Processing influences behaviour • Subliminal perception: info processed without conscious awareness can affect behaviour • People are affected by events-stimuli that they are not aware of, especially subliminal cues that affect motivational states (ex: Thirst leads ppl to drink more, especially if already thirsty- study by Strahan & Zanna- U of Waterloo) • Nisbett & Wilson- word pairs “ocean-moon” (obvious associations), asked participants to free-associate 3 word “detergent” Tide • L hem: “mom uses Tide all the time” vs. ocean-moon tide • Freudian slip: express by accident unconscious thought in an inappropriate place/time • Bargh: ppl who were primed with stereotypes of old ppl, after experiment walked slower… just like old ppl! • Sometimes unconscious decisions are best (first instinct- don’t have to weigh pros and cons of complex decision) • Ex: Schooler- tested Jams amateurs graded jams same as experts when done unconsciously, consciously, try to describe it verbal overshadowing • Verbal overshadowing: verbal explanation alters memory • Ex: describe robber, point him out in line of ppl harder than just point him out Brain activity produces consciousness • Blindsight: a condition in which people who are blind have some spared visual capacities in absence of visual awareness • Ex: person can’t say they saw dot go across screen, but can tell you what direction its going in • Explanation: visual info goes to other brain regions amygdala, which only generally processes quick visual info & response to threats • Blind Dr. could read facial expressions, but still didn’t “see anything” Global workspace model • Consciousness arises as a function of which brain circuits are active • You experience your brain regions’ output as conscious awareness • Ex: brain injury often unaware that you have a brain injury (circuit that tells you that you have a brain injury doesn’t work- don’t think you have one) • Ex: Hemineglect (can’t see one side) see their vision as perfectly normal • Different regions of brain deal with different types of info, each area in turn is responsible for conscious awareness of its type of info Sleep • When you sleep, not conscious but brain still processing info and still aware of enviro • When your awake, brain’s neurons very active beta waves • Just before sleep alpha waves • Stage 1 theta waves, easily aroused • Stage 2 actually asleep, sleep spindles (bursts of activity) and k-complexes (large waves) responsible for shutting out outside world keeping ppl asleep • Stage 3, 4 large regular brain patterns delta waves, also called slow-wave sleep REM sleep • After 90 minutes, sleep cycle reverses 3 2 1 REM • As morning approaches, sleep cycle becomes shorter, more time in REM • Rapid eye movements, eyes dart back and forth quickly also called paradoxical sleep b/c body asleep but brain (occipital cortex and brainstem esp) are active • Time when body shows signs of genital arousal (erection, clitoral engorgement) • 80% of time when awakened at this stage, can remember dream Sleep disorders • Insomnia: people’s mental health and ability to function compromised by inability to sleep • Major cause: people ironically worrying about not sleeping • Therapy: sleeping pills + cognitive behavioural therapy (helps ppl overcome worries about sleep) • Pseudoinsomnia: people dream that they’re not sleeping when they actually are • Sleep apnea: person stops breathing for temporary periods while asleep oxygen deprivation and sleep disturbances (associated w/diabetes) • Narcolepsy: disorder in which excessive sleepiness occurs during normal waking hours • REM behaviour disorder: normal paralysis that accompanies REM is disabled, ppl act out their dreams while sleeping • Somnambulism/sleepwalking: generally occurs during stage 4, in children, during first couple hours of sleep
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