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Department
Psychology
Course
PSY100H1
Professor
Ashley Waggoner Denton
Semester
Fall

Description
PSY 100 Textbook Notes – Week 9 Forgetting: pp. 322 – 326 Consciousness: pp. 139 – 155; 165 – 173 Social Influence: pp. 557 – 561; 565 – 570 WHEN DO PEOPLE FORGET?  Forgetting: The inability to retrieve memory from long-term storage  Hermann Ebbinghaus provided evidence that forgetting occurs rapidly over the first few days by then levels off. o Although we may not remember things from a long while ago, relearning these things would take less time and effort than the original learning took  Daniel Schacter identified the seven sins of memory: (1) transience, (2) absentmindedness, (3) blocking, (4) misattribution, (5) suggestibility, (6) bias, (7) persistence Transience Is Caused by Interference  Transience: The pattern of forgetting over time  Recent evidence suggests most forgetting occurs because of interference from other information o Proactive Interference: When prior information inhibits the ability to remember new information  New locker combination can be hard to remember by being interfered with by the prior locker combination o Retroactive Interference: When new information inhibits the ability to remember old information  Once you remember that new locker combo, you might have a hard time remember the old one Blocking Is Temporary  Blocking: The temporary inability to remember something that is known o Tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon  Blocking often occurs because of interference from words that are similar in some way, such as in sound or meaning, and that keep recurring, as when you keep calling an acquaintance Margaret even though her name is Melanie Absentmindedness Results from Shallow Encoding  Absentmindedness: The inattentive or shallow encoding of events o Forgetting where you left your keys, the name of a person you just met, etc  Change blindness is related to absentmindedness  Easterners that live in highly interdependent societies are more likely to attend to an event’s context than Westerners o Shown pairs of images in which either the object in the foreground changed or an object in the background changed  Easterners noticed changes in the background object faster than the Westerners  Westerners noticed changes in the foreground object faster than Easterners PSY 100 o Probably a result of early socialization practices, when children learn what to attend to Amnesia Is a Deficit in Long-Term Memory  Amnesia: Deficits in long-term memory that result from disease, brain injury, or psychological trauma  Retrograde Amnesia: The conditions in which people lose past memories, such as memories for events, facts, people, or even personal information  Anterograde Amnesia: An ability to form new memories  Many cases of amnesia result from damage to the medial temporal lobes o Damage to other areas, such as around that thalamus, can also lead to amnesia o Korsakoff’s syndrome, linked to severe alcoholism, is linked to thalamic damage Consciousness: pp. 139 – 155; 165 – 173 HOW IS THE CONSCIOUS MIND EXPERIENCED?  Consciousness: The subjective experience of the world and of mental activity o Contents of consciousness are the thing we are conscious of o Consciousness has different levels, (coma, sleep, wakefulness) Consciousness Is a Subjective Experience  We cannot determine if any two people experience the world in exactly the same way, it is too subjective  Qualia: Word used in the 1920s to describe the properties of our subjective experiences, such as our perception of things  Imaging methods show commonalities in brain activity across experiences o Researchers can identify which object you are looking at based on brain activity o Can determine if you saw an image or a sentence o Can determine if you’re looking at a moving object, and which direction it’s moving  Different types of information are processed by different brain regions: o Showed a picture of a face, fusiform gyrus will become active, whereas if you’re shown a house, temporal lobe will be more active if looking at a picture of a house There Are Variations in Conscious Experience CONSCIOUSNESS AND COMA  In a coma, people will have sleep/wake cycles, but they do not appear to respond to their surroundings  The longer a persistent vegetative state lasts, the less likely the person is to ever recover  Between a vegetative state, and full consciousness exists the minimally conscious state, in which people make some deliberate movements, and may try to communicate  Examining the brain activity of coma patients can inform end-of-life decisions  Stimulating the thalamus increases awareness among those in minimally conscious states Splitting the Brain Splits the Conscious Mind  Many epileptic patients opt to have their corpus callosum severed to prevent the spreading of grand mal seizures  Split Brain: A condition in which the corpus callosum is surgically cut and the two hemispheres of the brain do not receive information directly from each other o Information from the right half of the body go to the left hemisphere and vice versa o Left hemisphere dominant in terms of language PSY 100  If shown a picture to the left visual field, the person will not report seeing an image, because the left hemisphere, which produces speech, did not see anything  The right hand, however, could pick up an object that it was just shown in a picture that the left hemisphere couldn’t articulate vocally o The left brain is hopeless at spatial relationships, whereas the right is much more effective at this  Given a pile of blocks, and a drawing of a simple arrangement in which to put them, the right hand is incompetent, and the left hand does it effortlessly THE INTERPRETER  If you ask the left hemisphere what it thinks about previous behaviours produced by the right hemisphere, will attempt to give a coherent explanation, even though it had no information about why the right hemisphere was behaving the way it was  The left hemisphere takes in all the information it has and tries to piece together a narrative  Interpreter: A left hemisphere process that attempts to make sense of events o If the term “stand up” is displayed to the right hemisphere, the patient will stand up, if asked why they just stood up they will say something like, “I just felt like getting a jacket”  This is under the influence of the left-brain interpreter, rather than just saying “the screen told me to”, as the right brain knows THE INTERPRETER SPECULATES  The interpreter strongly influences the way we view and remember the world  The left brain can make life more difficult than it has to be o Experiment: Participant must predict whether a red light or a green light will flash o Correct prediction produces some small reward o Both lights flash in a random sequence, but the red light flashes 70% of the time o Most animals will simply chose the red light 100% of the time  This strategy makes the most sense, it guarantees the maximum reward o Humans, on the other hand, will only pick the red light 70% of the time, their choice match the frequency of how often red flashes  As a result, they do not guess correctly nearly as much had they just chosen red 100% of the time o Left brain interpreter is searching for patterns that do not exist o Split-brain patients:  Right hemisphere will follow the optimal strategy of picking red 100% of the time  Left hemisphere will choose red only 70% of the time, seeking relationships where none exist Unconscious Processing Influences Behaviour  Subliminal Perception: Information processed without conscious awareness  We are aware of some mental processes and not aware of others  Evidence suggests that subliminal messages have quite small effects on purchasing behaviours, but material presented subliminally can influence how people think even if it has little or no effect on complex actions  Given word pair of ocean-moon, and then asked to name a detergent, participants were more likely to say “tide” than any other PSY 100 o When asked why they picked tide, the left brain interpreter would give an explanation such as “my mom used it when I was a kid”, making sense of a situation and providing a plausible explanation for cognitive events when complete information was unavailable  A Freudian slip is a phenomenon in which an unconscious thought is suddenly expressed at an inappropriate time and/or in an inappropriate social context  Given a list of words to make sentences of, (most words were associated with the elderly, such as old, Florida, wrinkles or ambiguous words with no association) o Those given the words associated with elderly people walked much slower after the experiment than those given the words with no association o People were unaware of the concept of the elderly influencing their behaviour  People will better answer trivia questions when they were subtly presented with information about “professors” than when they were subtly presented with information about “soccer hooligans”, although they were unaware that their behaviour was influenced by the information  Much of our behaviour occurs without our awareness or intention THE SMART UNCONSCIOUS  NOT consciously thinking about a problem can produce an outcome superior to that of consciously thinking o Experiment: participants evaluated complex information regarding real-world choices, (selecting an apartment) o Participant chose between alternatives that had negative features, (high rent, bad location) and positive features, (nice landlord, good view) but objectively, one apartment was the best choice o Some participants were to make an immediate choice, (no thought), some had three minutes to think, (conscious thought), and some had to work on a difficult, distracting task for three minutes and then choose, (unconscious thought) o Those in the unconscious thought condition made the best decisions  Verbal Overshadowing: Describes the performance impairment that occurs when people try to explain verbally their perceptual experiences that are not easy to describe o You might be better at distinguishing between wines if you don’t have to verbalize your perceptions of the various wines o The introduction of conscious reflection can impair judgment  We are not very good at describing perceptual experiences and when we are forced to do so, the act of verbally labelling alters our memories Brain Activity Produces Consciousness BLINDSIGHT  Blindsight: A condition in which people who are blind have some spared visual capacities in the absence of any visual awareness  Patient can respond unconsciously to visual stimuli o Patient will report not seeing anything, but when forced to guess an answer, more often than by chance they will guess correctly GLOBAL WORKSPACE  The Global Workspace Model posits that consciousness arises as a function of which brain circuits are active – you experience your brain region’s output as conscious awareness PSY 100 o A person with vision problems caused by an eye injury will know about the problem because the brain’s visual area is still intact o A person with vision problems caused by damage to the visual brain areas may have no visual information to consider and thus will not be aware of the vision problems  If they simply lose a section of their visual field, the person tends not to notice the gap in perception  A patient with hemineglect is not aware of a missing part of the visual world o The left hemisphere interpreter can make sense only of available information, so even though normally sighted people might find the hemineglect patient’s attitude bizarre, the hemineglect patients see their particular limited visual states as perfectly normal  Does not present a single area of the brain as responsible for general “awareness” o Different areas of the brain deal with different types of information, and each of these systems in turn is responsible for conscious awareness of its type of information  Consciousness is the mechanism that is actively aware of information and that prioritizes what information we need or want to deal with at any moment  Prefrontal Cortex: Understands plants  Frontal Motor Cortex: Movement  Parietal Lobe: Awareness of spatial – spatial awareness  Temporal Lobe: See and Hear things  Occipital Lobe: See things WHAT IS ALTERED CONSCIOUSNESS Hypnosis is Induced thought Suggestion  Hypnosis: A social interaction during which a person, responding to suggestions, experiences changes in memory, perception, and/or voluntary action  Its accepted that hypnosis affects some people, but it is not yet fully accepted as an altered state of consciousness  Post-hypnotic Suggestion: A suggestion that the hypnotist makes that will be carried out by the participant AFTER the session o Usually accompanied by an instruction not to remember the suggestion  Hypnosis depends largely on the person being hypnotized, and not the person doing the hypnotizing o The susceptibility to hypnosis seems to be linked to traits such as an ability to get absorbed in activities easily, to not be distracted easily, and to have a rich imagination o A person who dislikes, or is frightened by the idea of being hypnotized, will not likely be successfully hypnotized THEORIES OF HYPNOSIS  Sociocognitive Theory of Hypnosis: Hypnotized people behave as they expect hypnotized people to behave, even if those expectations are faulty  Dissociation Theory of Hypnosis: Views the hypnotic state as an altered state, namely a trancelike one in which conscious awareness is separated, or dissociated, from other aspects of consciousness HYPNOSIS FOR PAIN  Hypnotic Analgeisa: A form of pain reduction, induced by hypnosis  Hypnosis is effective in dealing with immediate pain and chronic pain PSY 100  May work by changing people’s interpretations of pain rather than by diminishing pain o People feel the sensations associated with pain, but feel detached from those sensations  Evidence of hypnotic analgesia supports the dissociation theory of hypnosis Meditation Produces Relaxation  Meditation: A mental procedure that focuses attention on an external object or on a sense of awareness  During meditation, you can learn to quiet the inner voice that is constantly running through your head  Concentrative meditation involves focusing your attention on one thing, such as your breathing pattern, or a specific mantra  Mindfullness meditation involves letting your thoughts flow freely, paying attention to them but trying not to react to them o You hear the contents of your inner voice, but allow them to flow from one topic to the next without examination or reaction People Can Lose Themselves in Activities EXERCISE, RELIGIOUS PRAYER, AND FLOW  Runner’s high occurs partly because of a shift in physiological processes, but it also the result of a shift in consciousness o A person may run with music to distract them from the running and help them go the extra mile  Religious ceremonies often decrease awareness of the external world and create feelings of euphoria  Religious ecstasy directs attention away from the self; in thi
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