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Chapter 5

Psych 101 Detailed Textbook Notes: Chapter 5

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Kathy Foxall

Psych Chapter 5 Consciousness – awareness of oneself and the environment BIOLOGICAL RHYTHMS: THE TIDES OF EXPERIENCE  We all experience dozens of fairly ups and downs in physiological functioning, called biological rhythms o Defn: a periodic, more or less regular fluctuation in a biological system; may or may not have psychological implications  Ex. hormone levels, urine volume, blood pressure, responsiveness of brain cells to stimulation o Synchronized with external events  Ex. changes in clock time, temperature, and daylight – called entrainment o Many continue to occur in the absence of external time cues, they are endogenous  Defn: generated from within  Many biological rhythms occur approximately every 24 hours – called circadian rhythms o Defn: from peak to peak; Latin circa dies meaning about a day o Best known is the sleep-wake cycle Circadian Rhythms  Exist in plants, animals, insects, and humans  Reflect the adaptation of organisms to the many changes associated with the earth rotating on its axis  To identify endogenous rhythms, scientists must isolate volunteers from all cues to time  The Body`s Clock o Circadian rhythms are controlled by a biological clock located in a tiny tear-drop shaped cluster of cells in the hypothalamus called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN)  Defn: an area of the brain containing a biological clock that governs circadian rhythms o Neural pathways from special receptors in the back of the eye transmit info to the SCN and allow it to respond to changes in light and dark o The SCN then sends messages that causes the brain and body to adapt to these changes o Regarded as the “master pacemaker” o Regulates levels of hormones and neurotransmitters and gives feedback  Ex. during the dark hours, melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland  When you go to sleep in a dark room, the level rises  When you wake up in a light room, it lowers o Melatonin therapy has been used to treat insomnia and to synchronize sleep-wake cycles of blind people – mixed results  When The Clock is Out of Sync o The rhythms governed by the SCN can be synchronized like a watch o Peaks occur at different times, but in phases – predictable o When your routine changes, so do the rhythms o Ex. when people take flights across time zones – internal desynchronization  Defn: a state in which biological rhythms are not in phase with each other  Sleep and wake adjust quickly, but not hormones and temperature  Resulting jetlag – affects energy level, mental skills, motor coordination o Internal desynchronization also occurs when a worker adjusts to a new shift  Efficiency drops, tired and irritable, accident prone, sleep disturbances  Daylight savings time – more accidents/deaths o Circadian rhythms are not perfectly regular, they can be affected by illness, stress, fatigue, excitement, exercise, drugs, mealtimes, and daily experiences o Differ because of genetic differences Moods and Long-Term Rhythms  Does The Season Affect Moods? o Some people become depressed in the winter, shorter daylight hours, come to be known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD)  Symptoms such as sadness, lethargy, drowsiness, and craving carbs  Affects as much as 2-3% of the population  More common among women than men o Treating SAD with phototherapy – having them sit in front of bright fluorescent lights in the morning  Symptoms were reduced o Some cases have begun to prescribe anti-depressants  Does The Menstrual Cycle Affect Moods? o Occurs on average every 28 days o Stages:  1 half – increase in estrogen causes the uterine lining to thicken in prep for a possible pregnancy  Mnd cycle – ovaries release a mature egg  2 half – the ovarian sac that contained the egg begins to produce progesterone, helps to prepare uterine lining to receive the egg o If conception does not occur, hormone levels fall and the uterine lining sheds o Women have physical symptoms associated  Ex. cramps, bloating, breast tenderness  These in turn make women grumpy or unhappy o But emotional symptoms are rare THE RHYTHMS OF SLEEP The Realms of Sleep  Changes that occur in the brain during sleep o Nathanial Kleitman – eye movements were rapid not slow o Using EEG, were able to correlate the rapid eye movements with changes in brain-wave patterns o As a result, we now know that during sleep, periods of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep alternate with periods of non-rem sleep in a cycle that recurs every 90 minutes or so o Last from a few minutes to an hour, usually 20 minutes o When you lie in bed and relax, your brain emits bursts of alpha waves  Regular, slow rhythm o As they slow further, you pass through four stages:  Stage 1  Waves become small and irregular  In a state of light sleep  If awakened, might recall fantasies or a few visual images  Stage 2  Brain emits short burst of rapid, high-peaking waves called sleep spindles  Minor noises won’t disturb you  Stage 3  In addition to sleep spindles, brain occasionally emits delta waves, slow waves with high peaks  Breathing and pulse have slowed, muscles relaxed, hard to wake  Stage 4  Delta waves have taken over, in a deep sleep  Vigorous shaking or loud noise to wake up  Most common sleepwalking stage o This sequence of stages takes about 30-45 minutes, then goes back in stages to 1 o Then 70-90 minutes after onset of sleep, you enter REM  Men – penis becomes erect  Women – clitoris enlarges and lubrication increases  Muscles go limp to prevent physical movement  REM sleep has also been called paradoxical sleep o Can sometimes happen when you wake up before regaining muscle control o “waking dream” – eyes are open, but still dreaming (hallucinations) o If you consistently wake someone up in REM, when they are allowed to sleep normally, they will spend longer than usual in REM o Patients who have lost the capacity to dream still experience stages of sleep Why We Sleep  To eliminate waste products from muscles, repair cells, conserve or replenish energy stores, strengthen the immune system, or recover abilities lost during the da  The Mental Consequences of Sleeplessness o Chronic sleep deprivation increases cortisol, which can damage the brain cells necessary for learning and memory  Defn: the stress hormone o New brain cells may fail to develop or develop abnormally o Mental flexibility, attention, and creativity suffer o May even begin to have hallucinations after several days of being awake o 1 out of 7 people over the age of 15 suffer from insomnia o Causes of daytime sleepiness:  Sleep Apnea  Defn: disorder in which breathing briefly stops during sleep, causing the person to gasp and choke and momentarily awaken  May cease hundreds of times a night without knowing it  Often seen in older males and overweight people  Several causes including blocked air passages to failure of the brain to control breathing correctly  Can cause high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat  Associated with a shorter life expectancy  Narcolepsy  Defn: sleep disorder involving sudden and unpredictable daytime attacks of sleepiness or lapses into REM sleep  Lasts from 5-30 minutes  Caused by the degeneration of certain neurons in the hypothalamus o REM Behaviour Disorder  Defn: the muscle paralysis that normally occurs during REM sleep is absent or incomplete, the sleeper is able to act out dreams  Usually male  Ex. tackling furniture in a dream about football o 2/3 of North Americans don’t get enough sleep o Lack of sleep has also been linked to lower grades  The Mental Benefits of Sleep: o Sleep plays an active role in contributing to consolidation  Defn: process by which the synaptic changes associated with recently stored memories become durable and stable, causing memory to become more reliable  Neural changes involved in a recent memory are reactivated, making memories more permanent o Improvements in memory, especially emotional, have been associated to REM sleep o Studies show learning something in the evening and getting a full night’s rest and then recalling it in the morning is more effective than learning it in the day time and recalling it 12 hours later o Slow wave sleep – long term storage of memories during sleep, in first 4 hours o We sleep to remember, and we sleep to forget EXPLORING THE DREAM WORLD  Most people who claim they never have dreams report them if awakened in REM sleep  Though there are rare cases in which people do not dream at all, in brain injury cases  In dreaming, the focus of attention is inward, but can be external (ex, a siren’s influence)  Lucid Dreams o Defn: a dream in which the dreamer is aware of dreaming Dreams as Unconscious Wishes  Sigmund Freud  Purpose of dreaming – to express unconscious wishes, thoughts, and conflicts  Weaknesses – no reliable way to interpret latent meanings o Our night time fantasies provide insight into desires, motives, and conflict of which we are unaware o “a royal road to the unconscious” o In dreams, we are able to express our unconscious desires and wishes, which are often sexual or violent in nature o Every dream is meaningful, no matter how absurd o If a dream’s message arouses anxiety, the rational part of the mind must disguise and distort it, otherwise it would awaken the dreamer o Thoughts and objects are translated into symbolic images o To understand a dream we must distinguish:  Manifest content – aspects of it that we consciously experience during sleep and may remember upon waking  Latent content – unconscious wishes and thoughts being expressed symbolically o Not everything in a dream is symbolic – a cigar is only a cigar Dreams as Efforts to Deal with Problems  Purpose of dreaming – express ongoing concerns of waking life and resolve them  Weaknesses – sceptical about the ability to problem solve during sleep  Dreams reflect ongoing conscious preoccupations of waking life o Ex. concerns over relationships, work, sex, health o Problem-focused approach  Symbols do not disguise their true meaning, but convey it o Ex. woman drowning with child above head, husband won’t take picture o Means she’s drowning under the responsibilities and he’s not getting the picture  Supported by findings that dreams are more likely to contain material from a person’s current concerns than chance could predict o Ex. students and test-anxiety dreams o Traumatic experiences – children in war zones dream about persecution  Dreams provide us with an opportunity to resolve our concerns o Ex. people suffering the grief of divorce o Recovery is related to a particular pattern of dreaming o The first dream of the night comes sooner, lasts longer, and is more story like o Dreams then become less negative and more positive as the night goes on Dreams as Thinking  Purpose of dreams – same as waking life, to express concerns and interests  Weaknesses – some specific claims remain to be tested  Cognitive approach emphasizes current concerns, but makes no claim about resolving them during sleep  Dreaming is simply a modification of the cognitive activity that goes on when awake  We construct reasonable simulations of the real world  Dreams may include thoughts and content not related to our daily problems  Most likely to dream about friends, family, studies, jobs – stuff that occupies our waking thoughts also  The brain does the same functions dreaming as awake  The difference is when we are asleep we are cut off from sensory input and feedback from our world and our bodily movements; the only input to the brain is its own input o Therefore our thoughts are unfocused  Mental activity would be the same activity as dreaming if cut off from all external stimulation  Toddlers may not dream at all o Young children experience visual images but have cognitive limitations keeping them from creating narratives until age 7 or 8 o Their dreams are infrequent and are bland, about everyday things (I saw a dog) o Gradually become more intricate and story-like with age Dreams as Interpreted Brain Activity  Purpose of dreams
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