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Chapter 6

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Psychology 1000

Psychology 1000 Chapter 6 Notes (States of Consciousness) Puzzle of Consciousness  Consciousness is the defined as our moment to moment awareness of ourselves and the environment o As well, it is the awareness of the relationship between self and the external world  Cogito ergo sum o Consciousness is subjective and private, dynamic and self-reflective, central to our sense of self and connected with the process of selective attention.  Sigmund Freud proposed that the human mind contains three levels of awareness:  Conscious  Contains thoughts, perceptions and other mental events of which we are currently aware  Preconscious  Contains mental events that are outside of current awareness, but can be easily recalled  Tip-of-the-tongue experiences are ‘here’  Unconscious  Contains thoughts and events that cannot be brought into conscious awareness under ordinary circumstances.  They are kept out of conscious awareness due to the negative emotions that arise with them o Research strongly supports Freud’s general premise; non-conscious processes influence behaviour, even though the general model is criticized and have an issue with the datedness of the model itself. o Sigmund Freud challenged the single entity view and most models of the mind show that is a collection of separate but interacting modules.  People daydream about every 90 seconds. o People dream about a variety of topics:  Failure or success  Aggression  Sex or romance  Guilt  Problem solving o Why do we daydream?  Safety valve; being that it allows the individual to escape from life  It alters mood towards a positive direction.  It is a low risk way to deal with problems  It increases arousal  Many activities involve controlled processing, the use of attention and conscious effort. o Other activities may only use automatic processing, where the task is performed with little to no conscious effort.  Automatic processing may prevent task being accomplished from a new perspective; however it offers speed and the best use of effort.  Many experiments show that over self-focused thinking can hurt task performance. o Automatic processing also makes divided attention easier.  Divided attention has its limitations; tasks get increasingly difficult as they share similar mental processes. o Emotional and motivational processes operate unconsciously and affect behaviour as well. Circadian Rhythms  Every 24 hours, out body undergoes rhythms called circadian rhythms o BP, Temperature and Chemical concentrations have rhythms as well  Most circadian rhythms are regulated by the brain’s suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), located in the hypothalamus. o It links to the pineal gland, which secretes melatonin. o During the day, the SCN reduces the amount of melatonin secreted.  At night, the neurons that control melatonin release are inactive, allowing levels to increase and promote relaxation and sleepiness.  If people were not exposed to light, their ‘biological’ clocks would run on a 25 hours cycle instead of a 24 hour one.  Circadian rhythms influence whether an individual is a morning person or a night person.  There are many things that can disrupt circadian rhythms: o SAD (Seasonal affective disorder) o Jet lag  Phase advance is more difficult to overcome than phase delay; flying from Vancouver to Halifax is more problematic than vice versa.  Ways to avoid jet lag:  Stay hydrated on the plane  Avoid alcoholic beverages  Get up and stretch  Eat light meals  Expose yourself to sunlight upon arrival to destination o Shiftwork (Working at night, sleeping in the day) Sleep and Dreaming  Sleep is the largest circadian rhythm.  During sleep, the body starts to ‘shut down’: o HR is lowered o BR is lowered o Muscle activity is brought to a minimum o Temperature is lowered o There is marked decrease in sensitivity to external stimulation shown by an EEG  Every 90 minutes of sleep, we undergo a change in our sleep cycles.  Sleep begins, and people enter stage 1, characterized by theta waves .  Stage 2 occurs when the individual has sleep spindles within his sleep patterns. o There are spikes within the EEG called sleep spindles that is a burst of brain cycles o As well, K-complexes are sudden drops of brain cycles that are externally triggered and they are immediately followed by sleep spindles  Stage 3 is marked by the occurrence of delta waves, slow waves about 0.5-2 cycles per second.  When delta waves completely take over the EEG pattern, the individual is in stage 4 of sleep.  During REM sleep, the normal ‘awake’ brain waves take over and rapid eye movements occur in the individual. o During REM sleep, individuals dream. When woken up during REM sleep, dreams were almost always recalled during that period. o As well, during REM sleep the body sends signals for muscular contractions. This state is called REM sleep paralysis and REM sleep is sometimes called paradoxical sleep. o There are on average 2 dreams per REM session  Difference aspects of the sleep cycle are moderated by different mechanisms within the brain.  Environmental factors influence sleep as well: o In the fall or winter, people sleep more and in less than favourable conditions, people sleep less; such as shiftwork, jet lag, stress, and noise.  As individuals age, their sleep decreases. o If natural rhythms are followed, most individuals get around 10-12 hours of sleep. o The amount of sleep is influence by a variety of factors; genetics, workload, stress, age, lifestyle, general health, etc.  There are many different theories on why we sleep:  The restoration model states that it allows our body to recover from physical and mental stress and allows our bodies to recharge out body.  The evolutionary/circadian sleep model states that sleep was to increase evolutionary survival; it was pointless to hunt and gather at night when it would be easier and safer to accomplish these tasks during the daytime. As well, depending on the animal (whether it was prey or predator), they developed a sleep pattern based on food and methods of defense.  Learning and memory  REM deprived sleep individuals show reduced ability to retain new information  Mood Adjustment  Speed of cycling into REM during sleep is correlated with a positive mood the following day  Depressed individuals cycle into REM very quickly o The two models complement each other and both contribute to an understanding of why we sleep. o Studies have shown that REM sleep is required and vital for mental functioning.  Sleep disorders: o Insomnia refers to the repeated difficulty of falling, staying asleep or getting sleep.  Trouble falling asleep is most common among young adults  Staying asleep is most common among older adults  10-40% of a countries population experience insomnia  There are several ‘types’ of insomnia:  Chronic insomnia may be caused due to a possible circadian rhythm problem.  Situational insomnia is caused by a specific stressor and once that stressor is dealt with, sleep continues as normal. o Sleep apnea is an interruption in breathing during sleep  It is normal, but people with sleep apnea do not start breathing until they wake up.  Severe sleep apnea can cause the individual to stop breathing for up to one minute, and may happen hundreds of time in one night  Cause of sleep apnea may include obstruction of air passage denoted by loud snoring or abnormal brain function.  People think that SIDS is a type of sleep apnea. o Narcolepsy is the onset of sudden uncontrollable sleep that may occur at any time.  Sleep attacks occur at random times, and the individual immediately enters REM sleep  Other symptoms may include cataplexy; loss of muscle tone  Causes for narcolepsy may be abnormal timing for REM, a depleted supply of hypocretins and it is often triggered by strong emotions  Narcolepsy has some genetic determinant o REM-Sleep Behaviour Disorder (RBD) is the loss of the loss of muscle tone that REM sleep usually causes  RBD sleepers may kick violently, throw punches, leave the bedroom in shambles, or get out of bed and move around randomly.  RBD patients injure either their partner or themselves o Sleepwalking is sleepwalking….  Sleepwalking usually occurs during stage 3 or 4 and are accompanied by blank stares and are unresponsive to people, but they seem conscious of their environment.  Sleepwalkers usually return to their bed with no recollection of their sleepwalking episode.  10-30% of people sleepwalk at least once, but less that 5% of adults do it  Sleepwalkers can accidently
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