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Chapter 5

Psychology 46-115 Chapter 5: 46-115 Notes on Consciousness

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Ken Cramer

Chapter 5: Consciousness (pg. 203 – 233) • Alien abductions • Sleep paralysis  state of being unable to move just after falling asleep or right before waking up o Caused by a disruption in sleep cycle, often associated with anxiety or even terror, feelings of vibrations, humming noises, and the eerie sense of menacing figures perceived to be close to immobile person o Thailand  attribute this strange experience to a ghost o Korea  being squeezed by scissors • Consciousness  our subjective experiences of the world, our bodies, and our mental perspectives. • Research shows that our waking thoughts are bizarre and fragmented as sleep thoughts are • Our consciousness ranges from subtle to profound • Level of awareness changes constantly in response to external (sights, sounds) and internal (bodily processes) stimuli to meet demands Biology of Sleep • The Circadian Rhythm  (around a day) term for changes that occur on a 24-hour basis in biological processes • Biological Clock  suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in hypothalamus that’s responsible for controlling our levels of alertness (adults-7hrs, newborns- 16hrs, students-9hrs) • Lack of sleep can: o experience depression and difficulties in acquiring new information o weight gain o increased risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart problems • The more time zones we pass through, the longer it takes our bodies’ clocks to reset Stages of Sleep and Dreaming • Observes eye movements during sleep • Whenever eye movements occurred, brain pulse with electrical activity, measured by an electroencephalogram • Rapid eye movements (REM)  darting of the eyes underneath the closed eyelids during sleep • Non-REM (NREM) Sleep  stage 1 through 4 where no eye movements and less frequent and vivid dreams • Each cycle of sleep (5 stages) lasts about 90 minutes Stage 1 • Lasts 5-10 minutes • Brain activity powers down by 50% or more; waves of 4-7 times/s (theta waves) • Beta waves: 13+ times/s during active alert states; alpha waves: 8-12 times/s when quiet and relaxed. • Hypnic myoclonia  sudden muscle contractions (falling, startled) Stage 2 • Brain waves slow down, heart rate slows, body temperature decreases, muscles relax even more, eye movements cease. (spend 65% of our sleep in this stage) Stage 3 & 4 • After 10-30 minutes, delta waves are as slow as 1/2 cycles a second • Stage 3, delta waves appear 20-50% of the time; and stage 4, 50%+ • Babies spend 40% in deep sleeps while adults spend only a quarter Stage 5 (Paradoxical or REM sleep) • After 15-30 minutes, return to stage 2 before brains shift into high gear, with wake-like, high-frequency, low-amplitude waves • Paradoxical  brain is active and body isn’t • Most vivid dreams occur Physiology of REM Sleep • REM Rebound  the amount and intensity of REM sleep increases, suggesting that REM serves a critical biological function • Middle Ear Muscle Activity (MEMA)  muscles of our middle ears become active, hear sounds in dreams • REM Behaviour Disorder  acting out dreams because body is not paralyzed by REM (locus coeruleus, responsible for keeping us paralyzed during REM) • Most alien abductees appear to experience short-term intrusions of REM sleep into wakefulness • Symptoms: paralysis, seeing visions, and hearing buzzing sounds (waking life: sleep paralysis, vivid dreams, and MEMA) REM Sleep and Dreaming • We dream more in REM (82% dreams in REM periods; 43% non-REM periods) • REM dreams are emotional, illogical, and prone to sudden shifts in “plot” • Non-REM dreams are shorter, more thoughtlike and repetitive, deal with concerned topics • Negative emotions and physical aggression may decrease at age increases • Women’s dreams are more emotional than men’s (women dream character are even b/w men and women; men are more likely to dream about men) • Caucasian students recalled their first dream 14 months younger than Asian students • Asian were unable to remember any childhood dreams at all o Western cultures spent more time in their childhood talking about dreams with their parents, and parents tended to encourage their children to talk about dreams more than parents from eastern cultures • Blind people do dream o Blinded before age 4 don’t experience visual dream imagery o Blinded after age 7 do o Ages 4 to 6 are when generating visual imagery Lucid Dreaming • Lucid Dreaming  experience to becoming aware that one is dreaming • The possibility of controlling our dreams Disorders of Sleep • Insomnia  difficulty falling and staying asleep o Having trouble falling asleep (30+ minutes) o Waking too early in the morning o Waking up during the night and having trouble returning to sleep • Good sleepers take 15-20 minutes to fall asleep right away • Tips to fall asleep faster: o Hide clocks o Relax as much as possible before bedtime o Sleep and wake up at regular times o Sleep in a cool room o Avoid consuming caffeine (especially after 2pm), taking naps longer than 20 minutes, or watching TV and avoid Internet right before bedtime o Try to sleep only when you’re tired o Get out of bed when not tired, sleep when tired  classically conditioned stimulus • Rebound insomnia  taking sleeping pills, makes it hard when stop taking pills • Restless Legs Syndrome  an unsettling urge to shake/move our legs or other parts of body • Narcolepsy  opposite of insomnia; rapid and often unexpected onset of sleep o Experiences vivid, dreamlike hallucinations and brief paralysis of his muscles o Sudden sleep lasting anywhere from few seconds to an hour o Experiences cataplexy, a complete loss of muscle tone o Enters REM immediately o People with narcolepsy have fewer brain cells that produce hormone orexin o Cells destroyed by an overaggressive immune response • Sleep Apnea  caused by a blockage of the airway during sleep, resulting daytime fatigue o People would snore loudly, gasp, and sometimes stop breathing for more than 20 seconds o Apnea is associated with being overweight • Night Terrors  sudden waking episodes characterized by screaming, perspiring, and confusion before returning back to a deep sleep o (harmless events that take place during non-REM sleep; whereas nightmares
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