1) The nature of consciousness: Consciousness is the awareness of internal
and external stimuli. William James describes this continuous flow as the stream
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
1. Difficulty in falling asleep initially (most common among
2. Difficulty in remaining asleep (middle-aged and elderly
3. Persistent early-morning awakening. (Middle-aged and
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
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
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
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
i. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,