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Chapter 4

PSY100 Psychological Science (3rd Ed.) Textbook Notes Chapter 4

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Alison Luby

CHAPTER 4 – THE MIND AND CONSCIOUSNESS The Conscious Mind -Consciousness: the subjective experience of the world and of mental activity -in 1920’s, philosophers created the term qualia to describe the properties of our subjective experiences, like our perceptions of things (e.g. does red look the same to everyone who has normal color vision?) -Frank Tong (1998) found that when research participants were shown a face superimposed on a house, neural activity increased within temporal lobe’s fusiform face area for the participants reported seeing a face; neural activity increased within temporal lobe regions associated w/ object recognition for the ones who reported seeing a house -persistent vegetative state: person w/ sleep/wake cycles but does not respond to surroundings (lasts more than a month) -minimally conscious state: ppl make some deliberate movements (e.g. following object with eyes) and may try to communicate Splitting the Brain -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 -left hemisphere is dominant for language: if split-brain patient sees two pictures presented to the visual field’s left and right side, the patient will report seeing the picture on the right side  But patient can choose the correct object shown to the right hemisphere (although can’t verbalize what was seen) -right hemisphere is dominant for spatial relationships; split-brain patient using left hand can arrange blocks better than right hand -interpreter: a left hemisphere process that attempts to make sense of events  Attempts to explain behavior governed by right hemisphere on the basis of limited information  Leads ppl to search for patterns that might not exist Unconscious Processing Influences Behavior -subliminal perception: stimuli that get processed by sensory systems but, because of their short durations or subtle forms, do not reach consciousness  Subliminal messages have little effects on purchasing behavior but can influence how ppl think -Freudian slip: unconscious thought is suddenly expressed at an inappropriate time/ social context -unconscious processing is especially valuable for complex decisions in which it is difficult to weigh the pros and cons consciously -verbal overshadowing: performance impairment that occurs when ppl try to explain verbally their perceptual experiences that are not easy to describe  We are not good that describing perceptual experiences and when we do so, the act of verbally labeling alters our memories Brain Activity and Consciousness -blindsight: condition in which person who experiences some blindness because of damage to the visual system continues to show evidence of some sight, but is unaware of being able to see at all  When stimulus is presented to the blind field, patient can respond unconsciously to the stimulus -the amygdala processes visual information very crudely and quickly, to help identify potential threats -global workspace model: says that consciousness arises as a function of which brain circuits are active  E.g. person who has eye injury will know about this deficit b/c brain’s visual area will know something is wrong; but if person has damage to brain’s visual areas, then person will not be aware of vision problems  In hemineglect, patient is not aware of missing part of the visual world (left hemisphere interpreter can make sense only of available information so patients see their behavior as normal)  Model presents no single area of the brain as responsible for general “awareness”: consciousness is the mechanism that is actively aware of information and prioritizes what information we need or want to deal with at any moment Sleep -sleep is an altered state of consciousness; brain processes information and is aware of environment Stages of Sleep -Alert Wakefulness  beta waves -Just before sleep  alpha waves (brain activity slows) -Stage 1  theta waves; can be aroused easily; see fantastical or geometric shapes -Stage 2  regular breathing, less sensitive to external stimulation; “really” asleep  continue theta waves but show bursts of activity called sleep spindles and large waves called k-complexes Abrupt noise trigger k-complexes; few sleep spindles as ppl age and sleep lighter -Stage 3&4 delta waves, slow-wave sleep; hard to wake and disoriented when they wake up; can evaluate environment for potential danger REM Sleep -after 90 minutes of sleep, the sleep cycle reverses: returns to Stage 3  Stage 2  REM  Stage 2  Stage 3 etc. -REM sleep: (Rapid Eye Movements) stage of sleep marked by rapid eye movements, dreaming and paralysis of motor systems; aka. Paradoxical sleep -neurons in occipital cortex and brain stem are more active during REM sleep than during waking hours; but body’s muscles are paralyzed; body shows signs of genital arousal -80% of time when ppl awakened during REM sleep report dreaming compared with less than 50% during non-REM -as morning approaches, sleep cycle becomes shorter and sleeper spends more time in REM sleep Sleep Disorders -Insomnia: sleep disorder in which ppl’s mental health and ability to function is compromised by inability to sleep.  Anxious and depressed more likely to develop chronic insomnia  Pseudoinsomnia: ppl dream that they are not sleeping -Sleep Apnea: person stops breathing for temporary periods while asleep; causes loss of oxygen and sleep disruption (causes loud snoring)  Common in middle-aged, obese men -Narcolepsy: people fall asleep during normal waking hours  May experience the muscle paralysis that accompanies REM sleep, causing person to collapse -REM Behavior Disorder: ppl act out their dreams while sleeping (the normal paralysis during REM sleep is disabled) -Sleepwalking (Somnambulism): occurs during stage 4 sleep; occurs within first/second hour of sleeping Explanations of Sleep’s Adaptiveness Restorative Theory -sleep allows brain and body to rest and repair themselves -during deep sleep, growth hormone is released to repair damaged tissue; allows brain to replenish glycogen and strengthen immune system -sleep-deprived ppl show increased activation of prefrontal cortex; can do complex/strength/athletic tasks well; cannot do quiet/mundane tasks -sleep deprivation makes ppl prone to mic
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