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Chapter 5

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Mamdouh Shoukri

Lesson 5 1) The nature of consciousness: Consciousness is the awareness of internal and external stimuli. William James describes this continuous flow as the stream of consciousness a. Variations in awareness and control i. Mind wandering refers to people’s experience of task-unrelated thoughts. Thoughts that are not related to what they are intentionally trying to do at a given moment. ii. People spend 15%-50% of their time mind wandering. iii. Mind wandering might be less likely to occur if the task you are engaged in is one that requires significant cognitive resources, that mind wandering is associated with less accurate awareness of external information, and that there may even be a connection between mind wandering and creativity in some contexts. iv. Controlled processes: judgments or thoughts that we exert some control over, that we intend to occur v. Automatic processing and its effects happen without our intentional control of effort. vi. Gladwell’s uses of the term blink refer to how quickly (in the blink of an eye) and effortlessly some of our judgments and choices seem to be made. b. Consciousness and brain activity i. One of the best physiological indicators of variations in consciousness is the EEG, which records activity from broad swaths of the cortex. ii. Electroencephalograph (EEG): a device that monitors the electrical activity of the brain over time by means of recording electrodes attached to the surface of the scalp. iii. EEG summarizes the rhythm of cortical activity in the brain in terms of line tracings called rain waves. These brain-wave tracings vary in amplitude (height) and frequency (cycles per second, cps) iv. Human brain-wave activity is usually divided into four principal bands, based on the frequency of the brain waves. Theses bands, named beta: normal waking thought, alert problem solving (13-24 cps), alpha: deep relaxation, blank mind, meditation (8-12 cps), theta: light sleep (4-7 cps) and delta: deep sleep (under 4 cps). 2) Biological rhythms and sleep a. The role of circadian rhythms: biological rhythms are periodic fluctuations in physiological functioning. The existence of these rhythms means that organisms have internal “biological clocks” that somehow monitor the passage of time. i. Circadian rhythms are the 24-hour biological cycles found in humans and many other species. In humans, circadian rhythms are particularly influential in the regulation of sleep. ii. Body temperature varies rhythmically in a daily cycle, usually peaking in the afternoon and reaching its low point in the depths of the night. iii. People generally fall asleep as their body temperature begins to drop and awaken as it begins to ascend once again. iv. Circadian rhythms generally persist even when external time cues are eliminated. However, when people are isolated in this way, their cycles run a little longer than normal, about 24.2 hours on the average. v. Daily exposure light readjusts people’s biological clocks. vi. When exposed to light, some receptors in the retina send direct inputs to a small structure in the hypothalamus called the suprachiasmatic nucleus. (SCN) the SCN send signals to the nearby pineal gland, whose secretion of the hormone melatonin plays a key role in adjusting biological clocks. b. Ignoring circadian rhythms i. Getting out of sync with your circadian rhythms also causes jet lag. ii. This inferior sleep, which can continue to occur for several days, can make you feel fatigued, sluggish, and irritable during the daytime. Moreover, chronic jet lag appears to be associated with measurable deficits in cognitive performance. iii. A rough rule of thumb is that the readjustment process takes about a day for each time zone crossed. In addition, the speed of readjustment depends on the direction travelled. Generally, readjustment is easier when you fly westward and lengthen your day than it is when you fly eastward and shorten your day. This east-west disparity in jet lag is sizable enough to have an impact on the performance of sports teams. c. Melatonin and circadian rhythms i. Melatonin can reduce the effects of jet lag by helping travellers resynchronize their biological clocks, but the research results are inconsistent. One reason for the inconsistent findings is that when melatonin is used to ameliorate jet lag, the timing of the dose is crucial; because calculating the optimal timing is rather complicated; it is easy to get it wrong. ii. Method for shift workers: 1. Carefully timed exposure to bright light as a treatment to realign the circadian rhythms of rotating shift workers in industrial setting. This treatment can accelerate worker’s adaptation to a new sleep-wake schedule, leading to improvements in sleep quality and alertness during work hours. However, the effects of bright-light administration have been modest and somewhat inconsistent, and it isn’t a realistic option in many work setting. 2. Help rotating shift workers involves carefully planning their rotation schedules to reduce the severity of their circadian disruption. The negative effects of shift rotation can be reduced if workers move through progressively later starting times (instead of progressively earlier starting times) and if they have longer periods between shift changes. 3) The sleep and waking cycle Electromyography (EMG), which records muscular activity and tension, and an electrooculography (EOG), which records eye movements. a. Cycling through the stages of sleep i. Stages 1-4 1. Stage 1 is a brief transitional stage of light sleep that usually last only a few (1-7) minutes. Breathing and heart rate slow as muscle tension and body temperature decline. The alpha waves that probably dominated EEG activity just before falling asleep give way to lower-frequency EEG activity in which theta waves are prominent. Hypnic jerks: those brief muscular contractions that occur as people fall asleep generally occur during stage 1 drowsiness. 2. Stage 2, lasts about 10-25 minutes, brief bursts of higher- frequency brain waves, called sleep spindles; appear against a background of mixed EEG activity. 3. Stages 3 and 4: slow-wave sleep (SWS), during which high amplitude, low-frequency delta waves become prominent in EEG recordings. Individuals reach slow-wave sleep in about half an hour and stay there for roughly 30 minutes. 4. Then the cycle reverse itself. 5. As people move from an awake state through deeper stages of sleep, their brain waves decrease in frequency and increase in amplitude. However, brain waves during REM sleep resemble “wide-awake” brain waves. ii. REM sleep 1. The fifth stage of sleep, REM sleeps. REM: rapid eye movements prominent during this stage of sleep. 2. Researchers use an electrooculography to monitor these lateral (side-to-side) movements that occur beneath the sleeping person’s closed eyelids. However, they can be seen with the naked eye if you closely watch someone in the REM stage of sleep (little ripples move back and forth across the person’s closed eyelids). 3. The term REM sleep was coined by grad student William Dement, who went on to become on of the world’s foremost sleep researchers. 4. The REM stage tends to be a “deep” stage of sleep in the conventional sense that people are relatively hard to awaken from it. The REM stage is also marked by irregular breathing and pulse rate. Muscle tone is extremely relaxed—so much so that bodily movements are minimal and the sleeper is virtually paralyzed. Although REM is a relatively deep stage of sleep, EEG activity is dominated by high-frequency beta waves that resemble those observed when people are alert and awake. 5. REM sleep and dreaming. Most dream reports come from the REM stage. Although REM dreams may be more frequent, vivid, and memorable, there is evidence to suggest that mentation or dreaming does occur in non-REM sleep periods, too. 6. Carlyle Smith’s research suggests that brain activity during sleep is control to consolidation of information acquired during the day. He also suggests that different stages of sleep may be implicated in memory for different types of tasks of information. 7. Stage 2 sleep may be important for consolidation of procedural motor-type tasks, while REM sleep may be important for complex logic-type tasks. 8. REM sleep is a relatively deep stage of sleep marked by rapid eye movements; high frequency, low amplitude brain waves; and vivid dreaming. 9. Non-REM (NREM) sleep consists of sleep stages 1 through 4, which are marked by an absence of rapid eye movements, relatively little dreaming, and varied EEG activity. iii. Repeating the cycle 1. People usually repeat the sleep cycle about four times. 2. The first REM period is relatively short, lasting only a few minutes. Subsequent REM periods get progressively longer, peaking at around 40-60 minutes in length. Additionally NREM intervals tend to get shorter, and descents into NREM stages usually become more shallow. Most slow- wave sleep occurs early in the sleep cycle and that REM sleep tends to pile up in the second half of the sleep cycle. Summing across the entire cycle, young adults typically spend about 15%-20% of their sleep time in slow-wave sleep and another 20%-25% in REM sleep. b. Age trends in sleep i. Tucker and her colleagues believe that signature patterns of sleeping are mostly shaped by biological factors rather than personal habits. ii. Newborns will sleep six to eight times in a 24-hour period, often exceeding a total of 16 hours of sleep. Infants spend much more of their sleep time in the REM stage than adults do. In the first few months, REM accounts for about 50% of babies’ sleep, as compared to 20% of adults’ sleep. During the remainder of the first year, the REM portion of infants’ sleep declines to roughly 30%. The REM portion of sleep continues to decrease gradually until it levels off at about 20%. iii. Although the proportion of REM sleep remains fairly stable, the percentage of slow-wave sleep declines dramatically and the percentage of time spent in stage 1 increase slightly, with these trends stronger in men than in women. These shifts toward lighter sleep may contribute to the increased frequency of nighttime awakening seen among the elderly. iv. The diagram shows how dreams and rapid eye movements tend to coincide with REM sleep, whereas posture changes occur between REM periods (because the body is nearly paralyzed during REM sleep). Notice how the person cycles into REM four times, as descents into NREM sleep become shallower and REM periods become longer. Thus, slow-wave sleep is prominent early in the night, while REM sleep dominants the second half of a night’s sleep. v. The last REM period of the night has the fastest eye movements and may be the period from which dreams are best remembered. c. Culture and sleep i. Sleep does not appear to vary systematically across cultures. ii. Cultural disparities in sleep are limited to more peripheral matters, such as sleeping arrangements and napping customs. 1. Co-sleeping: the practice of children and parents sleeping together. Strong pressure against co-sleeping appears to be largely an urban, western phenomenon. Co-sleeping is more widely accepted in the Japanese culture, which emphasized interdependence and group harmony. 2. Siesta cultures are found mostly in tropical regions of the world to avoid the hottest part of the day d. The neural bases of sleep i. Reticular formation in the core of the brainstem is important to sleep and wakefulness. The ascending reticular activating system (ARAS) consists of the afferent fibers running through the reticular formation that influence physiological arousal. ii. Activity in the pons and adjacent areas in the midbrain seems to be critical to the generation of REM sleep. iii. Specific areas in the medulla, thalamus, hypothalamus, and limbic system have also been implicated in the control of sleep and waking. iv. The ebb and flow of sleep and waking is regulated through activity in a constellation of interacting brain centers. v. Serotonin and GABA appear to play especially important roles in the regulation of sleep. vi. No single structure in the brain serves as a sleep center, nor does any one neurotransmitter serve as a sleep chemical. Instead, sleep depends on the interplay of many neural centers and neurotransmitters. e. Doing without: sleep deprivation i. Sleep restriction 1. Partial sleep deprivation: sleep restriction, which occurs when people make do with substantially less sleep than normal over a period of time. 2. The effects of partial sleep deprivation depend on the amount of sleep lost and on the nature of the task at hand. 3. Negative effects are most likely when subjects are asked to work on long-lasting, difficult, or monotonous tasks, or when subjects are asked to restrict their sleep to less than five hours for many nights. ii. Selective deprivation 1. Effects of REM deprivation: it has little impact on daytime functioning and task performance, but it does have some interesting effects on subjects’ patterns of sleeping. 2. As the nights go by in REM-deprivation studies, it becomes necessary to awaken the subjects more and more often to deprive them of their REM sleep, because they spontaneously shift into REM more and more frequently. Rebound effect. 3. Similar results have been observed when subjects have been selectively deprived of slow-wave sleep. As the nights go by, more awakenings are required to prevent SWS, and after deprivation of SWS people experience a rebound effect. 4. People must have specific needs for REM and slow-wave sleep and rather strong needs at that. 5. Why do we need REM and SWS? a. Firming up learning that takes place during the day. b. Each of them promotes different types of memory. c. The general effect of firming up learning that has taken place during the day is often referred to as memory consolidation. d. Sleep may foster creative insights the next morning related to the previous day’s learning. f. Problems in the night: sleep disorders American sleep disorders association’s international classification of sleep disorders: diagnostic and coding manual, there are 78 different types of sleep disorders. i. Insomnia: chronic problems in getting adequate sleep. Three basic patterns: 1. Difficulty in falling asleep initially (most common among young people) 2. Difficulty in remaining asleep (middle-aged and elderly people.) 3. Persistent early-morning awakening. (Middle-aged and elderly people.) ii. Prevalence of insomnia varies considerable because surveys have to depend on respondents’ highly subjective judgments of whether their sleep is adequate. Another complicating consideration is that nearly every one suffers occasional sleep difficulties because of stress, disruptions of biological rhythms, or their temporary circumstances. The prevalence of insomnia increases with age and is about 50% more common in women than in men. 1. Pseudo-insomnia: sleep state misperception, which means that they just think they are getting an inadequate amount of sleep. Show that states of consciousness are highly subjective. iii. Causes: excessive anxiety and tension prevent relation and keep people awake. Side effect of emotional problems. Health problems such as back pain, ulcers, and asthma can lead to insomnia. iv. Treatment: sedative drugs (sleeping pills): benzodiazepine medications, which exert their effects at GABA synapses, are the most widely prescribed sedatives.: 1. Used to combat insomnia too frequently. 5-15% of adults use sleep medication with some regularity. 2. Sedatives can be a poor long-term solution for insomnia: a. Sedatives have carryover effects that can make people drowsy and sluggish the next day and can lead to memory decrements. b. Cause an overdose in combination with alcohol or opiate drugs. c. People becoming physically dependent on sedative. d. Less effective if continued use. Some people increase their dose to higher levels, creating a vicious circle of escalating dependency and daytime sluggishness. e. Most sedatives also interfere with the normal cycle of sleep. Most sedatives decrease the proportion of time spent in slow-wave sleep, and some of the older drugs also reduce REM sleep. 3. Newer generation of sedatives such as zolpidem (Ambien) reduce some of the problems associated with traditional sleeping pills. 4. Melatonin: the hormone that has been used to treat jet lag. Melatonin can function as a mild sedative and that it has some value in the treatment of insomnia. 5. Sedatives should be used primarily for short-tem treatment (2 to 4 weeks) of sleep problems. 6. Relaxation procedures and behavioral interventions can be helpful for many individuals: a. Behavioral treatments are as effective as mediation in the short term and that behavioral interventions produce more long-lasting benefits than drug therapies. i. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for insomnia. ii. Cognitive therapies generally emphasize recognizing and changing negative thoughts and maladaptive beliefs. 7. Other sleep problems: a. Narcolepsy: a disease marked by sudden and irresistible onsets of sleep during normal waking periods. A person suffering from narcolepsy goes directly from wakefulness into REM sleep, usually for a short period of time (10-20 minutes). Stimulant drugs have been used to treat this condition, with modest success. b. Sleep apnea: frequent, reflexive gasping for air that awakens a person and disrupts sleep. Apnea occurs when a person literally stops breathing for a minimum of 10 seconds. It is usually defined by the presence of at least five such events per hour of sleep. Heart failure is prevalent among people with some specific types of sleep apnea. This disorder, which is usually accompanied by loud snoring, 2% women and 5% men between the ages of 30 and 60. Apnea may e treated with surgery or drug therapy. c. Nightmares: Anxiety arousing dreams that lead to awakening, usually from REM sleep. Nightmares are associated with measures of an individual’s well being. Most youngsters have occasional nightmares, but persistent nightmares may reflect an emotional disturbance. Counseling may prove helpful. d. Night terrors (sleep terrors) are abrupt awakenings from NREM sleep, accompanied by intense autonomic arousal and feelings of panic. Can produce remarkable accelerations of heart rate, usually occur during stage 4 sleep early in the night. They do not usually recall a coherent dream, although they may remember a simple, frightening image. Common in children aged three to eight. Night terrors are not indicative of an emotional disturbance. Treatment may not be necessary, as night terrors are often a temporary problem. e. Somnambulism: sleepwalking occurs when a person arises and wanders about while remaining asleep. Sleepwalking tends to occur during the first two hours of sleep, when individuals are in slow-wave sleep. Episodes may last from 15 seconds to 30 minutes. 4) The world of dreams a. The contents of dreams i. The conventional view is that dreams are mental experiences during REM sleep that have a story-like quality, include vivid imagery, are often bizarre, and are regarded as real by the dreamer. ii. The most frequent types of dreams related to “being chased or pursued, but not physically injured” and “sexual experiences.” iii. The dreams distinctly associated with males tended to be positive in nature, while those associated with females tended to be more negative, including dreams with themes related to phobias, performance anxiety (failure), and control (loss of control) iv. Children’s dreams are different from adults’ dream. For one thing the rate of dream recall after REM awakenings is only 20%-30% until ages 9-11, when the recall rate begins to approach adult levels (typically around 80%). Dream reports from children under age five consist mostly of static, bland images with no storyline. The contents of children’s dreams don’t become adult-like until around ages 11-13. These findings suggest that dreaming is a cognitive ability that develops gradually, like other cognitive abilities. v. Men are more often dream about sexual experiences, flying or soaring though the air, seeing a UFO, seeing extra-terrestrials, travelling to another planet. Women are more often dream about being chased or pursued (not injured); school, teachers, studying; failing an examination; being frozen with fright. Men are more often dreaming about killing someone, while women are dreaming being harm. b. Links between dreams and waking life i. Domhoff: dream content in general is continuous with waking conceptions and emotional preoccupations. ii. The relationship of daily stress to dreams may depend on a variety of factors, including the nature of the stressor. Not all stressors are the same, and that particular types of stressors such as imminent surgery might be more likely to affect dream content than impending exams. iii. Freud noticed that the contents of waking life often tended to spill into dreams; he labeled this spillover the day residue. iv. The content of dreams can also be affected by stimuli experienced while one is dreaming. v. As with day residue, the incorporation of external stimuli into dreams shows that people’s dream world is not entirely separate from their real world. vi. Sometimes people may realize they are dreaming while still in the dream state. These are often referred to as “lucid dreams”. It may be easier to induce lucid dreaming in some individuals than in others. c. Culture and dreams i. In western cultures, dreams are largely written off as insignificant, meaningless meanderings of the unconscious. ii. Angakoks or shamans often had the power to travel and visit hidden places that other people were unable to visit. They made these visit through via their trances and dreams. Dreams clearly played an important part in the Inuit culture. iii. Among Australian aborigines, dreaming is the focal point of traditional aboriginal existence and simultaneously determines their way of life, their culture, and their relationship to the physical and spiritual environment. iv. The contents of dreams vary some from one culture to another because people in different societies deal with different worlds while awake. d. Theories of dreaming i. Sigmund Freud, who analyzed clients’ dreams in therapy, believed that the principal purpose of dreams is wish fulfillment. The wish- fulfilling quality of many dreams may not be readily apparent because the true meaning of dreams may be disguised. Freud's wish fulfillment theory suggests that our unconscious desires are so uncomfortable that we disguise them in symbols. As such, our dreams hide our true desires. ii. Rosalind Cartwright has proposed that dreams provide an opportunity to work through everyday problems. According to her cognitive, problem-solving view, there is considerable continuity between waking and sleeping thought. Proponents of this view believe that dreams allow people to engage in creative thinking about problems because dreams are not restrained by logic or realism. She has found that women going through divorce frequently dream about divorce-related problems. Her analysis is thought-provoking, but critics point out that just because people dream about problems from their waking life doesn’t mean they are dreaming up solutions. Research showing that sleep can enhance learning. Once the problem is resolved, the dream would stop (this is a good explanation for recurring dreams). iii. J. Allan Hobson and Robert McCarley argue that dreams are simply the byproduct of bursts of activity emanating from subcortical areas in the brain. Their activation-synthesis model proposes that dreams are side effects of the neural activation that produces “wide-awake” brain waves during REM sleep. According to this model, neurons firing periodically in lower brain centers send random signals to the cortex. The cortex supposedly synthesizes a dream to make sense out of these signals. The activation-synthesis model does not assume that dreams are meaningless. Dreams are as meaningful as they can be under the adverse working conditions of the brain in REM sleep. In contrast to the theories of Freud and Cartwright, this theory obviously downplays the role of emotional factors as determinants of dreams. The critics of this model is that the model cannot accommodate the fact that dreaming occurs outside of REM sleep and that the contents of dreams are considerable more meaningful than model would predict. iv. All of these theories are based more on conjecture than solid evidence, and none of them has been tested adequately. 5) Hypnosis: altered consciousness or role-playing? James Braid popularized the term hypnotism in 1843. Franz Anton Mesmer. a. Hypnotic induction and susceptibility i. Hypnosis is a systematic procedure that typically produces a heightened state of suggestibility. ii. Hypnotic induction: relax, repetitively and softly, getting tired, drowsy, or sleepy, bodily sensations that should be occurring. iii. Hypnotic susceptibility: people differ in how well they respond to hypnotic induction. Responsiveness to hypnosis is a stable, measurable trait. It can be estimated with the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale (SHSS) or its derivative, the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility. About 10-15% of people are exceptionally good hypnotic subjects. About 10-20% of people don’t respond well at all. iv. Kihlstrom notes: the most dramatic phenomena of hypnosis—the ones that really count as reflecting alterations in consciousness-- are generally observed in those “hypnotic virtuosos’ who comprise the upper 10-15% of the distribution of hypnotizability. v. High hypnotizability is made up of three components: absorption, dissociation, and suggestibility. 1. Absorption: the capacity to reduce of block peripheral awareness and narrow the focus of one’s attention. 2. Dissociation: the ability to separate aspects of perception, memory, or identity, from the mainstream of conscious awareness. 3. Suggestibility: the tendency to accept directions and information relatively uncritically. vi. People who are responsive to suggestion under hypnosis are just as responsive to suggestion without being hypnotized. Their “hypnotic susceptibility” is not unique to hypnosis and is part of a broader trait that Kirsch and Braffman characterize as imaginative suggestibility. They argue that future research should focus on measuring the determinants and repercussions of this broader train. b. Hypnotic phenomena i. Anesthesia: withstand pain. Some physicians and dentists have used hypnosis as a substitute for anesthetic drugs. Hypnosis can be a surprisingly effective anesthetic in the treatment of both acute and chronic pain. ii. Sensory distortions and hallucinations: may led to experience auditory or visual hallucinations. Subjects may also have their sensations distorted so that something sweet tastes sour or an unpleasant odour smells fragrant. iii. Disinhibition: hypnosis can sometimes reduce inhibitions that would normally prevent subjects from acting in ways that they would see as socially undesirable. This Disinhibition effect may occur simply because hypnotized people feel that they cannot be held responsible for their actions while they are hypnotized. iv. Posthypnotic suggestions and amnesia: suggestions made during hypnosis may influence a subject’s later behavior. The most common posthypnotic suggestion is the creation of posthypnotic amnesia. But they have not really forgotten the information. c. Theories of hypnosis i. Hypnotic trance: hypnotic effects occur because participants are put into a special, altered state of consciousness. Although hypnotized subjects may feel as though they are in an altered state, their patterns of EEG activity cannot e distinguished from their EEG patterns in normal waking states. ii. Hypnosis as role playing 1. Theodore Barber and Nicholas Spanos think that hypnosis produces a normal mental state in which suggestible people act out the role of a hypnotic subject and behave as they think hypnotized people are supposed to. 2. It is subjects’ role expectations that produce hypnotic effects, rather than a special trancelike state of consciousness. 3. Two lines evidence support this view a. Many of the seemingly amazing effects of hypnosis have been duplicated by nonhypnotized participants or have been shown to be exaggerated. Anecdotal reports that hypnosis can enhance memory have not stood up well to empirical testing. Hypnotized participants make more memory errors than nonhypnotized participants, even though they often feel more confident about their recollections. These findings suggest that no special state of consciousness is required to explain hypnotic feats. b. Hypnotized participants are often acting out a role. Age-regressed subjects’ recall of the distant past tends to be more fanciful than factual. The role- playing explanations of hypnosis suggests that situational factors lead some subjects to act out a certain role in a highly cooperative manner. iii. Hypnosis as an altered state of consciousness 1. The most impressive research undermining the role- playing view has come from recent brain-imaging studies, which s
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