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Fourth Week of PSY 2012

by: Lindsay Everest

Fourth Week of PSY 2012 Psy 2012

Marketplace > University of South Florida > Psychlogy > Psy 2012 > Fourth Week of PSY 2012
Lindsay Everest
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About this Document

These notes cover material from the fifth chapter of the textbook and the accompanying two lectures that concern the topic of consciousness.
Introduction to Psychology
Jennifer Bosson
Class Notes
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Lindsay Everest on Sunday December 27, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to Psy 2012 at University of South Florida taught by Jennifer Bosson in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 16 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Psychology in Psychlogy at University of South Florida.


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Date Created: 12/27/15
PSY 2012 Bosson Introduction to Psychology Chapter Five Notes: “Consciousness” Section One: Consciousness I. CONSCIOUSNESS: a person’s subjective experience of the world and the mind; the defining feature of consciousness is experience, which you have when you’re awake or having a vivid dream A. PHENOMENOLOGY: how things seem to the conscious person B. Properties of Consciousness 1. Intentionality – the quality of being directed toward an object; researchers have found that conscious attention is limited by three other properties of consciousness: unity, selectivity, and transience 2. Unity – the ability to integrate information from all of the body’s senses into one coherent whole; the mind resists division which is why multi-tasking leads to errors (INATTENTIONAL BLINDNESS: failure to perceive objects that are not the focus of their attention) 3. Selectivity – the capacity to include some objects but not others; the conscious system is most inclined to select information of special interest to the person; COCKTAIL-PARTY PHENOMENON: people tune in on the conversation they’re having while they filter out other conversations nearby (this is also an example of DICHOTIC LISTENING) 4. Transience – tendency to change; humans can only hold so much information in the mind so that when more information is selected, some of what is currently there must disappear; as a result, our focus of attention keeps changing; hence, the term “stream of consciousness” C. Levels of Consciousness 1. MINIMAL CONSCIOUSNESS: low-level kind of sensory awareness and responsiveness that occurs when the mind inputs sensations and may output behavior (ex: turning over if someone pokes you in your sleep) 2. FULL CONSCIOUSNESS: knowledge of own mental state and ability to report on it; involves not only thinking about things but also noticing yourself in a particular mental state (ex: “I am reading this sentence”) 3. SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS: a distinct level of consciousness in which the person’s attention is drawn to the self as an object (ex: embarrassment)  The mirror test is a way to determine capability of self-awareness:  Humans > 18-24 months, chimpanzees, orangutans, dolphins, elephants, and magpies have demonstrated self-awareness  Experience sampling has been used to determine that about 8% of all thoughts in Western adults are self-conscious thoughts  Self-consciousness brings with it a tendency to notice your shortcomings – discrepancies between ideal and actual selves  Induced self-consciousness brings people’s behaviors into greater alignment with their values and self-views (should they follow the rules, at what ages do morals matter more than impulses) II. Mysteries of Consciousness A. PROBLEM OF OTHER MINDS: the fundamental difficulty we have in perceiving the consciousness of others 1. There is no clear way to distinguish a conscious person from someone who might do and say all the same things as a conscious person but who is not conscious. Even the consciousness meter used by anesthesiologists falls short – only predicting whether patients will say they’re conscious. 2. There is no way to tell if another person’s experience is like yours. 3. People perceive other minds in two dimensions: experience (such as the ability to feel pain, pleasure, hunger, consciousness, anger, or fear) and agency (such as the ability for planning, memory, or thought). 4. If other minds aren’t observable (as the scientific method requires), how can consciousness be a topic of scientific study? B. MIND-BODY PROBLEM: issue of how the mind is related to the brain/body 1. Most psychologists assume that mental events are intimately tied to brain events, such that every thought, perception, or feeling is associated with a particular pattern of activation of neurons in the brain. 2. Some studies monitoring electrical activity in brains, however, suggest that the brain’s activities precede the activities of the conscious mind. III. Control of Consciousness A. DAYDREAMING: seemingly purposeless flow of thoughts; activation of the default network (a widespread pattern of activation in many brain areas) B. THOUGHT SUPPRESSION: the conscious avoidance of a thought 1. Form of MENTAL CONTROL: attempt to change conscious states of mind 2. REBOUND EFFECT OF THOUGHT SUPPRESSION: the tendency of a thought to return to consciousness with greater frequency following suppression 3. IRONIC PROCESSES OF MENTAL CONTROL: ironic errors occur because the mental processes that monitors errors can itself produce them Section Two: The Unconscious Mind I. Freud’s DYNAMIC UNCONSCIOUS: an active system encompassing a lifetime of hidden memories, the person’s deepest instincts and desires, and the person’s inner struggle to control these forces; means of coping A. Held in check by REPRESSION: a mental process that removes unacceptable thoughts and memories from consciousness and keeps them in the unconscious B. Freudian slips – speech errors and lapses of consciousness – are not random (e.g., forgetting the name of someone you didn’t like) II. The Modern View of the COGNITIVE UNCONSCIOUS: all the mental processes that give rise to a person’s thoughts, choices, emotions, and behavior even though they are not experienced by the person; means of processing information A. SUBLIMINAL PERCEPTION: thought or behavior is influenced by stimuli that a person cannot consciously report perceiving B. Effects of Subliminal Perception are particularly utilized by advertisers: Section Three: Drug Use and Abuse I. PSYCHOACTIVE DRUGS: chemicals that influence consciousness or behavior by altering the brain’s chemical message system; people using drugs can have experiences unlike any they might find in normal waking consciousness or even dreams II. DRUG TOLERANCE: the tendency for larger drug doses to be required over time to achieve the same effect; with increased tolerance comes the danger of drug overdose; recreational users find they need to use more and more of a drug to produce the same high III. Self-administration of addictive drugs can also be prompted by withdrawal symptoms, which result when drug use is discontinued. A. Some withdrawal symptoms signal physical dependence, when pain, convulsions, hallucinations, or other unpleasant symptoms accompany withdrawal. B. Other withdrawal symptoms result from psychological dependence, a strong desire to return to the drug even when physical withdrawal symptoms are gone. Drugs can create an emotional need over time that continues to prey on the mind, particularly in circumstances that are reminders of the drug. IV. Addiction A. Drug addiction reveals a human frailty: our inability to look past the immediate consequences of our behavior to see the long-term consequences. B. For many people, drug addiction becomes a way of life, and for some, it is a cause of death. The visibility of addiction can be misleading and many people overcome addictions, especially in the absence of familiar pieces and faces associated with their old drug habit. Although addiction is dangerous, it is not necessarily incurable. C. People usually do not become addicted to psychoactive drugs the first time they use it. They may experiment a few times, then try again, and eventually find that their tendency to use the drug increases over time due to several factors, including drug tolerance and dependence. Section Four: Types of Psychoactive Drugs I. DEPRESSANTS: substances, including alcohol, that reduce the activity of the CNS A. Alcohol’s initial effects – euphoria and reduced anxiety – feel pretty positive. As it is consumed in greater quantities, drunkenness results, bringing slowed reactions, slurred speech, poor judgment, and other reductions in the effectiveness of thought and action. Alcohol increases activity of the neurotransmitter GABA and decreases the activity of glutamate. B. ALCOHOL MYOPIA: alcohol hampers attention, leading people to respond in simple ways to complex situations (fine judgment is impaired when you drink) C. EXPECTANCY THEORY: alcohol effects can be produced by people’s expectations of how alcohol will influence them in particular situations (e.g., you behave as your friends behave when you drink); Experiments using a BALANCED PLACEBO DESIGN often show that the belief that one has had alcohol can influence behavior as strongly as the ingestion of alcohol itself D. Both the expectancy and myopia theories suggest that people using alcohol will often go to extremes. In fact, it seems that drinking is a major contributing factor to social problems that result from extreme behavior (e.g., drinking while driving). II. STIMULANTS: substances that excite the CNS, heightening arousal and activity levels; increase levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, increase alertness and energy in user producing a euphoric sense of confidence and agitated motivation to get things done III. NARCOTICS: highly addictive drugs that relieve pain; mimic the brain’s own internal relaxation and well-being system by artificially flooding the brain’s endorphin receptors; includes opium, heroin, morphine, and codeine IV. HALLUCINOGENS: drugs that alter sensation and perception, and often cause visual and auditory hallucinations – stationary objects may seem to move or change, patterns or colors may appear, may be accompanied by exaggerated emotions ranging from blissful transcendence to abject terror; do not induce significant tolerance or dependence, and overdose deaths are rare; include LSD, PCP, etc. V. MARIJUANA: a plant that contains a psychoactive drug called THC; produces an intoxication that is mildly hallucinogenic (euphoric experiences with heightened senses of sight and sound and the perception of a rush of ideas); affects judgment, short-term memory, and impairs motor-skills and coordination A. Activates neurotransmitter anandamine (involved in the regulation of mood, memory, appetite, and pain perception) B. Tolerance does not seem to develop, and physical withdrawal symptoms are minimal; psychological dependence is possible, however, and some are concerned it may be a gateway drug


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