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Chapter 5

Chapter 5 PS101.docx

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Carolyn Ensley

PS101 Chapter 5 – Variations in Consciousness Week 8 The Nature of Consciousness -Consciousness is the awareness of internal and external stimuli -Your consciousness is constantly changing -Psychologists are interested in understanding human behaviour and our behaviour is the result of conscious thoughts Variations in Awareness and Control -Attention and consciousness are not identical -Some of what enters our consciousness seems intentional and designed to further specific goals or motivations -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 -Mind wandering might be less likely to occur if the task you are engaged in is one that required significant cognitive resources, that mind wandering is associated with less accurate awareness of external information -The distinction between what we control about our mental processes and what just seems to happen is often referred to as the difference between controlled and automatic processes -Automatic processing happen without our intentional control or effort -The term blink refers to how quickly and effortlessly some of our judgements and choices seem to be made Unconscious Thought Effect -Under some circumstances the quality of decisions made under conditions when individuals do not have the opportunity to engage in conscious thought may sometimes be more accurate -If people are distracted or diverted from “conscious deliberation”, some decisions may actually be enhanced -Attention is the key to distinguishing between conscious and unconscious thought processes Consciousness and Brain Activity -Consciousness does not arise from any distinct structure in the brain but rather from activity in distributed networks of neural pathways -The electroencephalograph is a device that monitors the electrical activity of the brain over time by means of recording electrodes attached to the surface of the scalp -Human brain wave activity is usually divided into four principal bands, based on the frequency o the brain waves -These are beta, alpha, theta, and delta -Measures of brain wave activity have provided investigators with a method for mapping out the mysterious state of consciousness called sleep Biological Rhythms and Sleep -During sleep, important psychological events and processes might be taking place -Variations in consciousness are shaped in part by biological rhythms -Biological rhythms are periodic fluctuations in physiological functioning The Role of Circadian Rhythms -Circadian rhythms are the 24-hour biological cycles found in humans and many other species PS101 Chapter 5 – Variations in Consciousness Week 8 -Particularly influential in the regulation of sleep -People generally fall asleep as their body temperature begins to drop and awaken as it begins to rise once again -Leave individuals physiologically primed to fall asleep most easily at a particular time of day -This optimal time varies from person to person Ignoring Circadian Rhythms -If you ignore your biological clock, your quality of sleep suffers -When you sleep less than normal you get “sleep debt” -Sleep debt accumulates and or everything to return normal for you, you must get extra sleep -Causes jet lag Melatonin and Circadian Rhythms -Small doses of hormone melatonin appears to regulate the human biological clock Sleep and Waking Cycle Cycling through the Stages of Sleep -During sleep, people cycle through a series of five stages Stages 1-4 -There i
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