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Chapter 4

CHAPTER 4 The Mind and Consciousness

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Wagner Denton

1 CHAPTER 4: The Mind & Consciousness A minute is a moment with handles on it What Is Consciousness?  Consciousness refers to your moment-by-moment subjective experience of the world (both the external work and your internal world, i.e., your thoughts)  No single area of the brain responsible for “awareness”  There are limits to our conscious experience…  Your brain is capable of processing (& acting on) information that you are not consciously aware of  E.g., blind sight patients  Subliminal messages – any type of information that we are not consciously aware of having received. Presented out of our vision but our brain processed it. Subliminal Perception  Subliminal refers to something that is presented outside of conscious awareness  E.g., Very brief flashes  Much of our behaviour occurs without our awareness or intention  But this is okay- because it turns out that our unconscious mind is pretty darn smart!  For certain things, it really is possible to “over think it”  Verbal overshadowing  Unconscious mind is much less limited  When people are just asked to make a decision they can, when asked why is when people tend to over think and make incorrect decisions The Brain  Left and right hemispheres connect by the corpus callosum  Corpus callosotomy (severing of the corpus callosum) is a surgery often performed to treat patients suffering from epilepsy/chronic seizures Split Brain, Split Mind  What happens if the corpus callosum is severed?  Two half brains, each with its own perceptions, thoughts, and consciousness  Images from left visual field go to the right hemisphere (and vice versa); your left hemisphere controls your right hand (and vice versa)  The left hemisphere is the “vocal” hemisphere  it has control over speech  The right hemisphere has its own specialties (e.g., spatial relations)  “What do you see?” “A teddy bear”  left hemisphere vocalizes a response, and it sees what is on the right side of the visual field 2  Interpreter: A left-hemisphere process that attempts to make sense out of events o Creates a comprehensible story out of events, provides a narrative o Tries to find patterns, relationships  Fusiform face area (FFA): Area of the brain that becomes particularly active when people look at faces (some evidence that it is an “expertise” area and not just for faces)
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