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Lecture: Consciousness

by: Brianda Hickey

Lecture: Consciousness APSY.UE.0002

Brianda Hickey

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A detailed set of notes on the subject of Consciousness [Chapter 5 within Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding (3rd ed.)]
Adina Schick,
Class Notes
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Brianda Hickey on Wednesday February 10, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to APSY.UE.0002 at NYU School of Medicine taught by Adina Schick, in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 100 views. For similar materials see INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY AND ITS PRINCIPLES in Psychlogy at NYU School of Medicine.


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Date Created: 02/10/16
Lecture: Consciousness Consciousness Our awareness of ourselves and our environments Allows us to assemble information from a variety of sources as we reflect on the past and plan for the future Focuses our attention when we learn a complex concept or behavior ex. when you first learn to drive and are hyper aware of everything around you. After some time, driving becomes natural/automatic - no longer pay attention when moving from drive to automatic Before the 1960s it was so difficult to study consciousness - psychologist decided to study behavior instead 1960s: neuroscience allowed us to see connection between brain activity and states of sleeping,dreaming, and thought researchers began to study consciousness - how do we dream, how do we think etc. Sleep Science has made a lot of advances in our understanding of sleep’s mysteries Constantly aware of our surroundings even in sleep As an adult you don’t roll off your bed - have a sense of surroundings Deep sleepers are ale to sleep through construction, but wake up when someone calls their name Our auditory cortex responds to sound even when sleeping Myths people tend to have about sleep: Sleep enables the brain to rest Older Adults sleep more than younger adults Some people dream every night; others seldom dream eight hours of sleep is needed for one’s meant health Circadian Rhythm Our bodies synchronize with the 24-hour day/night cycle through an internal biological clock called the circadian rhythm Body temperature As morning approaches, our body temperature rises..peaks during the day Begins to lower during the evening and hits the lowest temperature around midnight Thinking is sharpest and memory is most accurate during our daily peak Pulling all nighters: groggy at night, but have a random peak of energy at your normal wakeup time Secretion of growth hormones Fluctuates minimally during the day - stays relatively low Peaks when our body temperature falls at night (around midnight) Sleep States we cycle through four distinct sleep stages every 90 minutes Discovered in 1952 by chance, when an 8 year old boy went to bed one night… father placed electrodes near boy’s eyes and saw EEG go crazy [Hock reading] Awake: low-voltage, high frequency beta waves Drowsy: Alpha waves prominent Stage 1 sleep: Theta waves prominent Stage 2 sleep: Sleep spindles and mixed EEG activity Slow-wave sleep [stage 3 and stage 4 sleep]: progressively more delta waves REM Sleep: Low-Voltage, high-frequency brain waves Move from a light sleep to a deep sleep -> after about an hour, you begin to move back through the stages -> enter REM sleep Rem Sleep: heart rate rises breathing becomes rapid and irregular eyes dart around in momentary bursts of activity Signifies the beginning of a dream Motor cortex is active, but its messages are blocked Individuals are essentially paralyzed while dreaming Brain stems are not allowing signals sent from brain to reach the body Difficult to wake someone up during REM sleep Dreams during REM sleep are Rich in detail, hallucinatory, emotional Process repeats every 90 min. Periods of REM sleep becomes longer and NONREM sleep become shorter as the night progresses NON REM sleep dominates first part of sleep, REM sleep dominates last part of sleep REM sleep typically occurs in the morning Differences in Sleep Patterns Four factors that influence sleep patterns Age the total amount of sleep needed per night change with age In Infancy Total amount of sleep and REM sleep declines sharply after 2 years old Sleep pattern is stable after adolescents Total sleep declines gradually with age Genetics Identical twins have strikingly similar sleep patterns [ length of NONREM and REM sleep] Environment Adults in the US and Canada [North America] tend to sleep an avg. 7 - 8hrs per night Adults in North America 100 years ago slept A LOT less Modern time contrast: Social Work schedules lightbulbs Countries in tropical or warmer climates adjust their sleep patterns to take naps at the hottest points of the day [ mid-day] Culture recent studies suggest Asians = best sleep African American = worst sleep Dreams REM dreams are vivid, emotional, and bizzar often confused with reality 80% of dreams are marked by at least one negative event or emotion Common themes: repeatedly failing at an attempt to do something being attacked/rejected The storyline of our dreams incorporates traces of the day’s experiences and preoccupations Nightmares help extinguish daily fears A Recent study: After playing the game Tetris for 7 hours, participants went to sleep and reported having dreams of falling objects Individuals that live in hunting societies tend to report dreams with animals ex. Will in Our minds continue to monitor our environments as we sleep sensory stimuli is incorporated into your dreams ex. Your phone is ringing while sleeping -> the ringing noise becomes incorporated into dream Some people remember dreams, others don't Sleep cycle: how soon after a dream you wake up Why We Dream? Freud believed: To Satisfy our wishes dreams consists of unconscious drives and wishes that we cannot directly express Contemporary researchers believe: To file memories dreams help us file the day’s experience sin our memory To develop and preserve neural pathway Brain activity associated with REM sleep provides the brain with stimulation Way of making sure our brain remains active (keeping it alive) while we sleep To make sense of neural static Dreams erupt from neural activity spreading upward from the brainstem Brain’s attempt to make sense of neural activity that has no where else to go To reflect cognitive development Dream content reflects dreamers’ knowledge and understanding Dreams seen as brain maturation Researchers agree REM sleep is critical Hypnosis Systematic procedure that produces a heightened state of suggestibility A social interaction where one person [hypnotist] suggest to another person to feel, act, or remember something. Social Phenomenon suggestible people act out the role of a hypnotic subject and behave accordingly Hypnotized people are acting out what they think they should be doing Altered State of Consciousness Involves a special state of dissociation: a split in consciousness Allows some thoughts and behaviors to occur simultaneously with others When asked to lower arms in tub of ice Disassociates the feeling of ice water and feeling any real pain Drugs Psychoactive drugs are chemicals that change perceptions and moods through their actions at the neural synapses Continues use produces tolerance users who stop taking the drugs might experience withdrawal As the body responds to the drug’s absence physical dependence- physical pain and extreme craving Psychological dependence - effect emotional state the users might experience physical or psychological dependence Altering Consciousness: Drugs Psychoactive drugs stimulate, inhibit, or mimic the activity of neurotransmitters Three major categories of drugs Depressants calm neural activity and slow body functions Alcohol, barbituants, Opiates Stimulants Excite neural activity and arouse body functions Use to boost mood, stay awake Caffeine, nicotine, cocaine, ecstasy, speed, meth Hallucinogens Distort perceptions and evoke sensory input in the absence of sensory input psychedelic - LSD, Marijuana, ecstacy Cultural expectations play a role in how drugs affect individual If a culture assumes a particular drug will produce feelings of euphoria and another culture does not, each culture will be effected differently


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