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Chapter 4

PSY BEH 11A Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Codeine, Sleep Spindle, Demonic Possession


Department
Psychology and Social Behavior
Course Code
PSY BEH 11A
Professor
Donald Hoffman
Chapter
4

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CHAPTER 4: CONSCIOUSNESS
- Erik Ramsey 16 yrs old: can only move eyelids voluntarily after brain stem
damaged
- Locked-in syndrome: all/ nearly all of person’s voluntary muscles are
paralyzed
- Cannot communicate even if awake & alert
- Hope to create voice synthesizer that translate neural patterns into
understandable speech
4.1 WHAT IS CONSCIOUSNESS?
- 2 main points
- 1. People can be conscious of surroundings even when they do not
appear to be
- 2. Conscious experiences are associated with brain activity
- Differs from person to person
CONSCIOUSNESS IS A SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE
- Consciousness: moment-by-moment subjective experiences (paying attention
to immediate surroundings, reflecting on current thoughts)
- Experiencing outside world with senses & know you are thinking
- Rene Descartes: mind is physically distinct from brain (dualism)
- Other psychs: brain and mind = inseparable
- Activity of neurons in brain produces contents of consciousness,
associated pattern of brain activity → conscious experience
- Early psychs: try to understand through introspection
CONSCIOUS AWARENESS INVOLVES ATTENTION
- Conscious experience: unified & coherent, continuous stream with thoughts but
with limit
- Attention & consciousness go hand-in-hand
- Automatic & controlled processes
- All can execute routine/ automatic tasks (driving, walking, understanding
words on page)
- Learned so well we do it without much attention
- Controlled processing: slower, but helps people perform complex
situations
- Cocktail party phenomenon: focused on conversation in midst of party, but a
stimulus (like your name) can capture your attention
- Attention divided: what you understand of new stimulus < if given full
attention

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- Shadowing: participant wears headphones that deliver message to one ear &
different message in another
- Asked to attend 1 of 2 messages and repeat it → will not know what the
other message talked about
- Selective attention: limited capacity for sensory info, screen incoming info to let
only most important material in
- Decisions about what to attend → early in perceptual process
- Unattended info is processed to at least some extent as well
- Extract meaning from word even if not processed consciously
- Change blindness: a failure to notice large changes in one’s environment
- Simons & Levin’s first study, older people tend to not notice change as
much as younger people bc they encoded the person asking as “college
student” & nothing more → categorize the person
- Rise of laptops & smartphones → hard for professor to hold students’ attention
- Take notes, but can surf the Internet
- Taking notes on laptop than by hand: more superficial processing & worse
performance on tests of conceptual knowledge, even those sitting near
one
- Have illusion that they are paying attention bc no awareness of events
happened when attention is occupied
UNCONSCIOUS PROCESSING INFLUENCES BEHAVIOR
- Activity below level of consciousness can influence behavior
- Freudian slip: unconscious thought suddenly expressed at inappropriate
time/ social context
- Difficult to test with scientific methods → believe Freud’s findings when said
influences thoughts & actions in daily lives
- I.e. small food in mall → visit food court?
- Subliminal perception: unconscious cues can influence cognition
- Occurs when stimuli get processed by sensory systems, but bc of short
durations, do not reach consciousness
- Can influence how people think, but not complex actions (used a lot on
ads)
- Considerable evidence → people affected by events (stimuli) not aware of
- I.e. flash word thirst → participants drank more Kool-Aid
- John Bargh supplied participants with different groups of words
- Those with elderly words → walked a bit slower after making sentences
but did not know
BRAIN ACTIVITY GIVES RISE TO CONSCIOUSNESS
- Can identify objects you are seeing looking at brain activity via fMRI

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- Relationship between consciousness & neural responses
- Showed houses that looked like face → temporal region (face recognition
or object) had neural activity
- Global workspace model: posits that consciousness arises as function of which
brain circuits are active → experience brain regions’ output as conscious
awareness
- Supported of people with brain injuries, unaware of deficits
- I.e. vision problems caused by eye injury will know the problems but can’t
see, but if damage to brain’s cortical visual areas & there’s no output → ay
not noticed
- Consciousness: mechanism that makes people actively aware of info &
prioritizes what info they need/ want to deal with at any moment
- Persistent vegetative state: open eyes/ close eyes, but do not respond to
surroundings, if lasts longer than a month
- Not associated with consciousness bc most of brain is dead
- Coma allows brain to rest; sleep/wake cycles
- Evidence: can process info in coma
- Between vegetative & full consciousness: minimally conscious state: people
with brain injuries able to make deliberate movements, try to communicate
- Imaging brain activity can be used to tell if person is brain dead
- Brain dead: irreversible loss of brain function. No activity is found in any
region of brain
- Under circumstances, can use machine to keep organs functioning →
donation
- Families have difficulty accepting brain death; try to keep body “alive”
4.2 WHAT IS SLEEP
- Sleep: part of normal rhythm of life
- Circadian rhythms: brain activity & other physiological processes regulated into
patterns (about a day). Body temp, hormone levels, sleep/ wake cycles
- Influenced by light & dark
- Info about light detected by eyes sent to small region of hypothalamus called
suprachiasmatic nucleus → then sends signals to pineal gland → secrete
melatonin
- Bright light suppresses melatonin, darkness triggers it
- Genes can affect hours of sleep
- SLEEPLESS: gene that regulates protein that reduces action potentials in
brain → loss of this: reduction in sleep
SLEEP IS AN ALTERED STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS
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