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Chapter ch 6

PSY-2012 Chapter Notes - Chapter ch 6: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Circadian Rhythm, Sleep Deprivation

Course Code
Milena Van Der Laat
ch 6

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PSY 2012 General Psychology
Chapter 6
An organism’s subjective awareness of internal and external events in its environment
Attention: Overview
Internal processes that set priorities for mental functioning
Selective: reflects limitations on how much the brain can process at one time
Prioritizing is adaptive
Best use of limited cognitive resources
Focus on most relevant information
Dichotic listening
Technique where different messages are presented simultaneously to each ear
Task: repeat one message, ignore the other
Unattended message: little is remembered
However some processing does occur
Cocktail party effect
Treisman’s ear-switching experiment
Fast and effortless processing that requires little or no focused attention
When a process is more automatic, the less likely you re to be consciously aware of it
Automaticity “frees up” resources for more demanding tasks
Disorders of attention: Visual neglect
Tendency to ignore things on one side of the body (Usually left)
Results from damage to right parietal lobe

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Symptoms may include
Reading only one side of the page
Dressing one side of the body
However, some information from neglected side does get through
Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder
Disorder marked by difficulties in concentrating, sustaining attention for extended periods
Sometimes, but not always, associated with hyperactivity
Some debate about definition, brain areas that are involved, overdiagnosis
Treatable with medication and/or training
Biological rhythms
Example: regular daily transition from waking to sleep
Circadian rhythms: activities that rise and fall along a 24-hour cycle
Biological clocks
Structures in the brain that control biological rhythms
Environment synchronizes these
Light is particularly important
Morningness - Eveningness
Differences in preference for different times of the day
May be due to differences in circadian rhythms
Temporal isolation research
Participants live in an environment with no time cues for weeks (Free running
Temperature rise & falls in 24-25 hours cycles on average
However there is great variability in circadian rhythms: as short as 16 hours or
as long as 50 hours

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Shorter cycles -> temperature & alertness peak earlier
Longer cycles -> temperature & alertness peak later
Studying sleep: EEG recordings
Short for electroencephalograph
How they are collected
Electrodes pasted to scalp (painless)
Changes in electrical potentials of brain cells recorded in the form of line tracings
Also called: “Brain waves”
EEGs reveal regular, cyclic changes in brain activity during sleep
Stages of Sleep
Stage 1
Light Sleep
Transitional stage
Person may claim to still be awake
Stage 2
Onset of true sleep
Person definitely asleep, but may respond to some events, such as noises
Sleep spindles; K-complexes
Stages 3 & 4
Very slow waves - delta waves appear
Very deep sleep
Non-responsive to most stimuli
Slow to wake
REM sleep
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