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Chapter 4


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Ashley Waggoner Denton

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CH4 – THE MIND AND CONSCIOUSNESS The conscious mind experience  Conscious = real b/c conscious & unconscious differentiable  Dualism – (Rene Descartes) mind physically distinct from the brain, now o but biologically conscious neural activity unexplainable mostly psychologically rejected  CONSCIOUSNESS – the subjective experience of the world and of mental o Current belief: brain and mind inseparable activity, 2 components o Neuron activity produce content of consciousness: o Content of consciousness – things one’s conscious of  Each content type (ex. each smell, sight) has associated brain o Level of consciousness – one’s conscious state -ex. coma, asleep activity pattern o Acting consciously vs. unconsciously  Particular group of neurons activation in brain produces  Ex. Making a choice vs. automatic reaction conscious experience Subjective nature of Consciousness  Qualia – properties of one’s subjective experience, perception of things  right hemisphere language basic, read simple words, improves o Introspections largely abandoned b/c subjective nature later years o Qualia difficult study empirically, can’t compare w/ another’s  spatial tasks w/ right hand (left brain) poor, opp. w/ left hand experiences o Particular neural activity type determines particular awareness type o Brain imaging help ID brain activity commonalities w/ experiences  fMRI can determine images viewed by brain activity pattern  Ex. Research show images house superimposed on faces  see face = increase fusiform face area activity; see house = temporal cortex object recognition areas  Ex. Neural activity of monkey using joystick controlled robotic arm can directly control robotic arm w/o joystick; assimilated robot arm into brain  Variability of Consciousness o William James: conscious experience = continuous stream of thoughts, floats from one thought to,  limited # thing one’s conscious of at the same time o Automatic processes – learned routines executed w/o much effort  Too much attention can interfere -ex. Driving, walking o INTERPRETER – a left hemisphere process that attempts to make o Controlled processes – slower than automatic, complex/novel sense of events situations  explanation may unrelated to right hemisphere’s real reason for  Ex. Rainstorm starts while driving, req. more attention & commanding action (see experiment) = interpretation after conscious of road conditions action o Coma – effect of serious brain injuries  usually interpreter explanation come readily  Some regain consciousness w/i few days, others weeks  hemisphere communicate outside –ex. Right hemisphere view  Coma state  have sleep/wake cycles but no response to object, drawn out, left brain acknowledges surroundings, brain can still process information o Interpreter influence one’s how views & remember world  Persistent vegetative state = coma >1 month, longer time less  False positives memories  left brain compresses to memory  likely recover consciousness/normal brain activity reconstruct remembered details o Minimally conscious state – btwn vegetative & full conscious states  Right brain simply experience world, remembers less distorted  Person make deliberate movements –ex. Follow object w/ eyes, by narrative interpretation try communicate  Negative: Interpreter attempts find pattern in randomness  Better prognosis than persistent vegetative state  Ex. Random 0/1, p = 0.7: Right brain chooses 1 only, o Ethnical issue: brain evidence determine end-of-life decisions optimal outcome (70%); Left attempts find pattern  Brain imaging can ID extent of one’s brain injury  determine receive, less-than-optimal (58%) recovery likelihood  Unconscious Processing Influences Behavior  Consciousness and the Split Brain o SUBLIMINAL PERCEPTION – information processed without o SPLIT BRAIN – a condition in which the corpus callosum is surgically conscious awareness b/c short duration or subtle forms cut and the two hemispheres of the brain do not receive information directly from each other  i.e. unconscious cues, influences cognition = subliminal messaging w/ advertisement  form of treatment for extreme epilepsy cases  most effective when work on one’s motivational states  no immediately apparent major effects, can walk, talk, think  ex. Flash “thirst” encourage drinking vs. neutral words clearly, interact socially  some corpus callosum undeveloped = similar traits o Freudian slip – unconscious expressed inappropriate time/context o Priming: indirectly related subliminal influences o split-brain patient sees objects in right & left field:  Ex. subjects better answer trivia questions when presented info.  visual field’s left images goes to right hemisphere, vice versa; on professors vs. hooligans same w/ hand controls  Ex. Subjects walk slower when primed w/ elderly ideas  only able report right-object because only left hemisphere (cntrl speech) sees right-objects  The Smart unconscious – not consciously thinking may produce outcome superior to consciously thinking  muted right hemisphere sees object-left unable articulate o Study: unconscious process valuable for complex decision w/ difficult
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