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PSYC 001 (15)
Greg Feist (13)
Chapter 6


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PSYC 001
Greg Feist

States of consciousness Attention is divided We can only take in a few things, so David Feist 1/30/1994 ● riding home from work on his bike (without a helmet ● Hit by an 81-year old driver - older drivers focus on what’s straight ahead due to attention’s focus. ● Serious coma for 2 weeks ● Vegetative(no response to any stimulation) for ~6 months ● Inattentional blindness? - we don’t see anything we don’t expect Attention, awareness, What is consciousness? - If you can answer it completely, then it’s nobel prize worthy. ● If mind is different from the brain, then the mind...? ● We are aware that we aware (meta-knowledge. knowing that you know..) ● The awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors ● The place where all the things of which we are aware reside ● We’re never aware of most of what our brains do ● Contents of mind that we are aware ● Is consciousness merely awareness? Levels of consciousness ● Consciousness (explicit, global workspace, attention) (Full) ○ Awareness of one’s surroundings - degree to which we are awake and aware ■ Wakefulness - alertness, extent to which one is asleep/awake ● Reticular formation responsible ■ Awareness - monitoring of information from the environment and one’s thoughts ■ all states of consciousness exist on this plane ■ Alertness fluctuates ○ Flow - becoming so involved we forget what and where we are doing something ○ mindfulness - heightened awareness of present moment ○ Taking in and processing information before sending to specialized areas in brain ○ Stage for ○ Needed for mental tasks ● Preconscious (Implicit, just outside of awareness) (Moderate) ○ Automatic behaviors; how to drive ○ declarative knowledge that we can’t quite reach ○ potentially accessible but not available to awareness ○ sleeping/dreaming - perceptual wall prevents perceptions of sensations ○ tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon - knowing but can’t bring it to awareness ● Unconscious (minimal) ○ nonconscious (feature detection) ○ Freudian (motivated) unconscious (repressed) ○ According to Freud, our biggest parts of the consciousness ○ Latent ○ sex and aggression are kept out of repressed from our consciousness ○ coma - eyes are closed and person’s unresponsive - results from illness or brain injury, especially in reticular formation. ■ Normal sleep patterns are more likely to regain consciousness ■ 3 factors for classifying degrees of coma w/ Glasgow Coma Scale ● degree of eye opening ● verbal responsiveness ● motor responsiveness ● Scores range from 3-15 ● Most severe is eyes closed and no response ○ Vegetative state - eyes are open but person is unresponsive - wakefulness without awareness. Not necessarily meaning no reaction - brain can still respond with intentional behavior ○ minimally conscious state- person is barely awake or aware but shows deliberate movements ● Two dimensions of consciousness:Awareness and wakefulness attention & multitasking - evolved to focus on one thing ● attention - limited capacity to process information that is under conscious control ● Selective attention ○ focusing awareness on specific features while ignoring others ■ dichotic listening task - we remember more from what we choose to pay attention to. If material is meaningful, it gets into consciousness however ■ cocktail party effect - ability to filter out auditory stimuli & refocus attention when you hear your name Top down vs. bottom up attention- Pick pockets ● Inattentional blindness - unaware of changes that happen right before our eyes b/c we’re paying attention to something else ● Perceptual load model - we don’t notice distractions when a task consumes our attention ○ Minimally demanding tasks means you could be more easily distracted however ● Conscious attention - when neurons from many brain regions collaborate - synchronization - we can have a conscious experience ● sustained attention - ability to maintain focused awareness on a target ○ Continuous Performance test (CPT) used to study sustained attention ● No such thing as multitasking - broken up attention ○ Compromises learning: less able to extrapolate what you learn ● Meditation - variety of practices used to calm mind, stabilize concentration, focus attention, and enhance awareness of present moment. ○ mindfulness meditation - develops mindfulness - encourages attention to detail of momentary experience. ○ enhances well-being, reduce stress, decrease depression, improve physical health, and reduce pain, improves attentional skills ○ concentration meditation - people perceive visual objects with greater sensitivity and attend to them longer ○ Changes brain function and structure ■ Increases in EEG activity in left frontal cortex (associated w/ positive mood) & decrease in negative mood ● Persisted ~4 months after training ■ Thicker cortex associated with attention, sensitivity to bodily sensations, processing external sensory information ○ can grow the brain Sleeping and dreaming ● Sleep is non-wakeful consciousness ○ Involves a slowing but no stoppage of neurological activity., ○ We behave while asleep - we move, dream, talk, walk. ■ Freud describes true meaning behind dream in the unconscious as latent content ○ sleeping brain is active - partially processes outside info ■ Awareness is diminished ■ can filter relevant from irrelevant stimuli. ● i.e. Baby’s cry can wake parent ● 2 essential features: ○ Perceptual wall b/t conscious mind and outside world ■ Helps to not look at blue screen within 30 minutes before sleep b/c it’s arousing ○ Sleeping state can be immediately reversed ● sleep occurs in daily sleep-wake cycle. ○ Follows Circadian rhythm - variations in physiological processes that cycle within 24 hours ○ Feeding, hormone production, cellular regeneration, etc. vary of circadian basis ● suprachiasmatic nucleus(SCN): body > internal timekeeper > hypothalamus ○ Regulates physiological activity on daily cycles ○ SCN stimulated > pineal gland decreases amount of melatonin released ■ melatonin - hormone > relaxation & drowsiness ● Rapid eye movements (REM) - bursts of eye movements while asleep. ○ Brain is active while asleep ○ sleep changes throughout the night ○ sexual arousal common among men and women ○ ANS arousal ○ EEG resembles waking patterns ○ Dreaming more than 70% of the time ● states of wakefulness have own brain activity pattern ○ When awake, brain activity characterized by beta waves (rapid, low-energy waves) ○ awake but relaxed > alpha waves , slower & slightly higher energy waves ● non-REM sleep - few eye movements, slow rather than fast ○ 4 stages of non-rem sleep: ■ Stage 1 - sensory curtain drops and no longer responsive to outside world ● brain waves change to theta ● theta waves - slower and lower energy than alpha ● light sleep - not much stimulation needed to wake up ■ Stage 2 - after 5-7 minutes in stage 1 ● Theta waves > short periods of extremely fast & higher energy sleep spindles ○ burst of oscillatory brain activity visible on an EEG that occurs during stage 2 sleep. It consists of 12–14 Hz waves that occur for at least 0.5 seconds. ○ represent periods where the brain is inhibiting processing to keep the sleeper in a tranquil state. ● sudden high energy K-complexes ○ electroencephalography (EEG) waveform that occurs during stage 2 ○ functions: first, suppressing cortical arousal in response to stimuli that the sleeping brain evaluates not to signal danger, and second, aiding sleep-based memory consolidatio ■ Stage 3 -After a short period of time ● theta waves w/ some higher energy delta waves ● delta waves - brain activity that dominates stage 3 sleep; higher energy than theta ● More and more delta waves appear, fewer sleep spindles and K complexes ■ Stage 4 - when all sleep spindles and K complexes disappear. ● You start reversing the sleep process shortly after entering stage 4 ● After returning to stage 1, we go through REM and actively dream. ■ First REM episode is 8-10 minutes ■ 4-6 cycles of non-REM and REM ● cycle = 90 minutes ● REM time increases every cycle (20-25% of cycle total) ■ REM periods are shorter with each cycle ■ 70% of non-REM could involve dreaming ● tend be less detailed, less active dreaming ● Newborns spend 8 hours in non-REM and 8 hours in REM sleep. ○ 33% REM by 8 months ○ 28% by age 1 ○ REM sleep involved with brain growth and development ■ corresponds to degree of brain plasticity and neural growth ● brains are most plastic in infancy, decreases as we grow. ○ Discovery of REM sleep: ■ In 1950s, at Kleitman’s skepticism,Aserinsky decided to record a person’s eye movements all throughout the night. ● sleep supports 3 major restorative processes: ○ Neural growth ■ Sleep deprivation - inhibits growth of new neurons, decreased connectivity, neuron loss in key memory areas of brain. ● One night (all nighters) impairs functioning ● slurred speech ● irritability, nausea, paranoia, and hallucinations ● severe deprivation (3 weeks), nothing can survive ■ 40% of adults suffer this ● 6 hours & 40 minutes during weekday and 7 hours & 25 minutes on weekends- typical adult ● sleep debt - amount of sleep our brains owe body ○ Memory consolidation ■ Learn and remember better ■ Task learning is replayed in the brain during sleep - helps performance ■ Hippocampus activity resurfaces during slow-wave sleep ○ Protection against cellular damage ■ Cells are damaged when body is used during metabolism ● Metabolizing oxygen -> by-product called free radicals damage cells, including brain cells ● Sleep aids cell function by triggering production of enzymes that fight cell damage ● Sleep slows metabolism, slowing cellular damage rate ● 6-8 hours is optimal for lengthy life Sleep disorders ● 4 disorders ○ insomnia ■ more than 20 minutes to fall asleep OR trouble staying asleep & not feeling rested after sleep for 2+ weeks ■ Many possible causes - restless leg syndrome, erratic house, medical conditions, psychological disorders like depression ■ Drug treatments (i.e.Ambien) increase effects of GABA(gamma- aminobutyric acid) - neurotransmitter that decreases central nervous system activity - general relaxation feeling ○ sleepwalking ■ Person gets out of bed during sleep, usually during 1st third of sleep cycles ■ eating, dressing, bathing, sex, etc. ■ does wakefulness routines ■ occurs during non-REM - not likely to act out dream ■ Occurs in 4-15% children and 1-2% adults ■ Difficult to rouse ○ narcolepsy ■ excessive day time sleepiness ■ fall asleep with little - no warning ■ cataplexy - weakness of facial muscles and muscles in limbs ■ often function of insomnia ■ originates from nighttime sleep patterns ■ genetic ■ sleep spindle and REM sleeping pattern abnormalities ■ treated with amphetamines (prevent sleepiness) & antidepressants (help cataplexy) ○ hypersomnia ■ sleeps 10 hours a day for 2+ weeks ■ strong nap urges throughout day ■ can be caused by apnea, brain injury, depression ■ adolescent suicide victims more likely to have suffered this ○ Night terrors ■ When person, usually child, speaks gibberish and awakens in a terrified state. ■ May involve screaming, sleep-walk, appear confused and frightened ■ Sweating and breathing very fast w/ dilated pupils ■ Lasts 10-20 minutes > normal sleep ■ No recollection of events ■ rare in adults - tend to suffer from depression, anxiety, OCD traits ■ not nightmares Dreaming ● dreams - images, thoughts, and feelings experienced while asleep ● Sigmund Freud says conflicting impulses, thoughts, feelings, and drives that threaten waking mind are released ● Freudian Theory ○ Dreams as unconscious wishes, impulses ■ Get repressed unconscious wants into reality ■ unconscious mind trying to solve a problem ○ Interpret through free association ● Dreams on 2 levels of consciousness ○ Manifest level - conscious recollection after waking up = surface level ○ Latent level - deeper unconscious level where true meaning of dream lies ● Biological Theory - Hobson ○ AIM (Activation, input, and mode) Theory - dreams are devoid of meaning and result of random brain activity ■ Activation - amount of neural activation ■ Input - internal or external stimulation ■ mode - refers to mental state from logical(awake) to loose-illogical (dreaming) ■ These 3 dimensions make a cube wherein all states of consciousness occupy ● Cognitive theory ○ Dreams not different from everyday thinking. ○ Standard processes we use during our waking life operate similarly as we dream ■ i.e. Lucid dreaming ○ Dreaming during non-REM sleep is closer to waking thought - less visual, more verbal, not as loose and unusual ● Combined theories ○ Dreams consolidate long-term memories first by strengthening the neural traces of recent events and then integrating them with already stored memories ○ Keep existing memories stable when new experiences attempt to interfere ○ Cortisol (hormone) involved in strengthening neural connections to consolidate memory ● Hypnosis - state of mind that occurs in compliance with instructions and characterized by focused attention, suggestibility, absorption, lack of voluntary control over behavior, and suspension of critical faculties of mind ● More easily hypnotized if they are relaxed ○ 65% of population mildly - moderately responsive to hypnosis ○ 15% highly hypnotizable ■ Stroop test shows less activity in areas of brain normally processing word meaning ○ rest are resistant ● Effective treatment for pain relief during childbirth, dental procedures, nicotine ddiction, nausea, vomiting related to chemotherapy, anxiety, and surgery. ● cortical areas activ
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