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Chapter 6

Chapter 6- State of Consciousness.docx

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Psychology 1000
Laura Fazakas- De Hoog

Chapter 6­ States of Consciousness *State of Consciousness- a pattern of subjective experience, way of experiencing internal and external events *Altered state of consciousness- variations form our normal waking state • We experience divisions of awareness THE PUZZLE OF CONSCIOUSNESS Consciousness- our moment-to-moment awareness of ourselves and our environment. It is: o Subjective and private o Dynamic (ever changing) o Self-reflective and central to our sense of self o Intimately connected with the process of selective attention MEASURING STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS • Self- report measure (most common)- where people describe their inner experiences o Most direct, not always verifiable • Physiological measures- establish correspondence between bodily states and mental processes o Objective, cannot tell subjective experience • Behavioural measures o Objective, yet person’s state of mind must still be inferred LEVELS OF CONSCIOUSNESS: PSYCHODYNAMIC AND COGNITIVE PERSPECTIVES *Conscious mind- Current awareness of thoughts and perceptions *Preconscious- Outside current awareness, can be recalled under certain conditions *Unconscious- Cannot be brought into conscious awareness under ordinary circumstances, includes instincts such as sex drive and aggression The Cognitive Unconscious • (Reisberg 1997) View conscious and unconscious mental life as complementary forms of information processing Controlled (effortful) processing- Voluntary use of attention and conscious effort o More flexible/open to change Automatic processing- Activities carried out with little or no effort, which may not require conscious awareness o Offers speed and economy of effort o Disadvantage: can reduce chances of finding new ways to approach problems o Many well-learned behaviours seem performed best when our mind is on “autopilot” Divided attention- ability to perform more than one activity at the same time o Without capacity to divide attention, we would overwhelm our mental capacity o Has limits, more difficult when tasks require similar mental resources o Can have serious negative consequences in certain situations The Emotional Unconscious • Emotional and motivational processes also operate unconsciously and influence behaviour • Influenced by events in environment of which you are not consciously aware The Modular Mind • Interacting “modules” or brain networks for sensation, perception, memory, emotions etc. alter our consciousness CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS: OUR DAILY BIOLOGICAL CLOCKS Circadian rhythms- daily biological cycles Suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN)- regulate circadian rhythms, found in hypothalamus (the brain’s clock) Melatonin- hormone that has relaxing effect on body o SCN neurons active during day, reduce melatonin secretions—raise awareness/temperature/alertness o SCN neurons inactive, allow melatonin secretion—promote relaxation/sleepiness o Environmental factors help to keep SCN neurons on 24-hour schedule *Free-running circadian rhythm- a longer “natural” cycle of about 24.2 to 24.8 hours Early Birds and Night Owls • Circadian rhythms influence our tendency to be morning/night people Chapter 6­ States of Consciousness ENVIRONMENTAL DISRUPTIONS OF CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS  Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)- cyclic tendency to become psychologically depressed during certain months of the year o Typical seasons begin in fall/winter (shorter periods of daylight), linked to Northern latitudes  *Jet Lag- sudden circadian disruption caused by flying across several time zones in one day (oral melatonin can help reset circadian rhythms)  *Night Shiftwork- Shift to Daylight Savings (spring) leads to a temporary increase in accidental deaths  Rotating shiftwork- forward rotating work schedule that takes advantage of being able to “extend the day” rather than compressing it SLEEP AND DREAMING STAGES OF SLEEP Prior to being asleep: • Beta waves- awake and alert • Alpha waves- becoming relaxed and drowsy, brain waves begin to slow down Stage 1 through 4 • Stage 1- Theta waves o Form of light sleep, can be easily awakened, spend a few minutes in stage 1 • Stage 2- Sleep Spindles o Periodic 1-2 second bursts of rapid brain activity begin to appear o Muscles more relaxed, breathing and heart-rate slower, harder to wake • Stage 3- Delta waves “Slow-wave sleep” o Sleep deepens • Stage 4- Deep sleep REM Sleep REM Sleep (rapid eye movements)- Bursts of muscular activity causing eyeballs to vigorously move back and forth beneath eyelids • Dreams occurring during this stage are story-like • Physiological arousal may increase to daytime levels *Rem Sleep Paralysis- when you are unable to move when voluntary muscles contract and relax *Paradoxical sleep- your body is highly aroused, and yet it looks like you are sleeping peacefully because you move so little • Non-REM dream is shorter than a REM dream *Sleep Thoughts- Non-REM mental activity resembles daytime thinking that to REM dreams BRAIN AND ENVIRONMENT • Areas at the base of the forebrain called the basal forebrain and within the brain stem and particularly important in regulating our falling asleep • A different brain stem area where the reticular formation passes through the pons plays a key role in initiating REM sleep. This activates other brain systems, each of which controls a different aspect of REM sleep • Sleep is biologically regulated, but environment also plays a role as well o Change of seasons affects sleep; in fall and winter, most people sleep 15 to 60 minutes longer per night HOW MUCH DO WE SLEEP? As we age, 3 important changes occur: 1. We sleep less 2. REM sleep decreases dramatically during infancy and early childhood, but remains stable after 3. Time spent in stages 3 and 4 declines Chapter 6­ States of Consciousness SLEEP DEPRIVATION • Short-term sleep deprivation o Up to 45 hours without sleep • Long-term sleep deprivation o More than 45 hours without sleep • Partial deprivation o No more than 5 hours/night for 1 or more nights • Sleep loss affects mostly mood, then cognitive processes, and then physical performance WHY DO WE SLEEP? Restoration model- sleep recharges our run-down bodies and allows us to recover from physical and mental fatigue • Challenge to determine what gets restored in our bodies while we sleep Evolutionary/circadian sleep model- emphasize that sleep’s main purpose is to increase a species’ chances of survival in relation to its environmental demands *REM-rebound effect- a tendency to increase the amount of REM sleep after being deprived of it SLEEP DISORDERS  Insomnia- refers to chronic difficulty in falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restful sleep *Pseudoinsomniacs- complain of insomnia, but sleep normally when examined in the laboratory o Has biological, physiological, and environmental causes o Some people genetically predisposed to insomnia o Stimulus control involves conditioning your body to associate the stimuli in your sleep environment with sleep (use bed only for sleep)  Narcolepsy- sudden, uncontrollable sleep attacks (may last less than a minute to an hour) • Caused by a genetic predisposition combined with an unknown environmental factor to cause narcolepsy  Sleep apnea- Breathing stops and restarts during sleep • Sleepwalking • Nightmares and night terrors  REM- sleep behaviour disorder (RBD)- The loss of muscle tone that causes normal REM sleep paralysis is absent • RBD sleepers may kick violently, throw punches, or get our of bed and move about wildly  Sleepwalking (occurs during REM sleep) • Often have blank stares and are unresponsive to other people, yet are vaguely conscious of their surroundings • Awaken in the morning with no memory • Tendency may be inherited and daytime stress, alcohol and certain illnesses and medications increase sleepwalking • Awakening sleepwalkers is not harmful  Night Terrors (sleep terrors)- more intense than nightmares (occur during stages 3 and 4) • May have no memory of it afterward, awaken to a near-panic state, person might thrash about in a bed/flee to another room THE NATURE OF DREAMS • Many people believe that dreams can be meaningful When do we dream? • Occurs throughout the sleep cycle *Hypnagogic state- transitional state from wakefulness through early stage 2 sleep. As this continues, mental activity becomes more dreamlike • We dream most when the brain is most active (REM sleep) • We dream more in REM sleep than in non-rem sleep • Activity highest during final hours of sleep What do we dream about? • Most take place in familiar settings and often involve people we know Chapter 6­ States of Consciousness • Contain some negative content • Our experiences, and current concerns can shape dream content Why do we dream?  Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory Wish fulfillment- the gratification of our unconscious desires and needs *Manifest content- the “surface story” that the dreamer reports *Latent content- disguised psychological meaning  Activation-synthesis Theory- during REM sleep the brain stem bombards our higher brain centres with random neural activity
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