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Consciousness

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An overview of Consciousness studies for a General Psychology class.

An overview of Consciousness studies for a General Psychology class.


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  • 1.  
  • 2. States of Consciousness
  • 3. What is Consciousness?
    • Awareness of internal or external events or states
    • More than a simple state of awareness.
    • Difficult to define.
    • Processes involved in Consciousness
    • 1. Attention
    • 2. Intentionality
    • 3. Subjectivity
    • 4. Perception
    • 5. Learning & Memory
    • 6. Emotions
    • 7. Associations
    • 8. Awareness
    • 9. Arousal of the Nervous System
  • 4. The Brain’s Job
    • Consciousness is a process going on in the brain.
    • Most of the brain’s functioning is for survival.
    • Very little of the functioning of the brain is devoted to consciousness.
  • 5. Altered States of Consciousness
    • A Fundamental & Qualitative Shift in Mental Functioning which brings about a Distinctly Different Organizational Pattern of Subjective Experience
    • Awareness is constantly shifting
    • Altered States
    • Drugs, alcohol, sleep, daydreaming, hypnosis, meditation, etc.
    • Daydreaming & fantasy
    • Not sure of the value.
    • There is an escape value.
    • The problem occurs when daydreaming takes over your life.
  • 6. Physical Rhythms
    • Circadian Rhythms
    • Most studied biological rhythm due to its 24-hour cycle.
    • Sleep/wakefulness cycle is the easiest to detect because of its connection to the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the hypothalamus .
    • Human Physiological Rhythms
    • Ultradian Rhythms ( Repeats Several Times/Day)
    • Multiseconds: Muscular Action
    • Cellular Division
    • Seconds: EEG
    • Heartbeat
    • Respiration
    • Minutes: Blood Pressure
    • 90-Minute Cycle: Urination
    • Hemisphere Dominance
    • Circadian Rhythms (Repeats Daily)
    • Sleep-wake Cycle, Hormone Balance, Short- & Long-term Memory, Mental Performances, Muscle Strength, Activity-rest Patterns
    • Infradian Rhythms ( Longer than a Day)
    • Weekly: Blood Pressure
    • Monthly: Sexual Cycles, Moods, Fertility
    • Annual: Depression, Birth/Death Rates,
    • Disease Susceptibility
    • Centennial: Human Life Cycle
  • 7. Rhythms of Sleep
    • 4 Stages of Sleep
    • Stages 1 through 4 constitute NREM sleep.
    • We cycle through the stages about every 90 minutes.
    • Sleep requirements change as we age.
  • 8. REM Sleep & Dreams
    • REM sleep is called “Paradoxical Sleep”
    • Brain activity, heart rate, & blood pressure resemble being awake.
    • 80% relationship between REM & dreams.
    • Cycling through the stages
    • Stage 1 is light sleep with slow brain waves.
    • Stages 2 & 3 are more relaxed with slower brain waves and no dreams.
    • Stage 4 is deep sleep.
  • 9. Sleep Deprivation
    • Problems encountered
    • 30% - 50% of students fall asleep in class at least 1 time a week.
    • Losing 1-2 hours of sleep each night produces attention problems, slows reaction time, produces unpredictable behavior, judgmental errors, & lowers productivity & decision-making ability .
    • How do you know if you’re getting enough sleep?
    • Being put in a darkened room & you immediately fall asleep is the main symptom of chronic sleep loss.
    • You can reduce sleep loss by taking short naps during the day.
  • 10. Sleep Disorders
    • Sleep talking
    • Sleep walking
    • Takes place mainly during Stage 4 sleep.
    • More common among children than adults.
    • Night terrors
    • Suddenly sits up in bed screaming.
    • Not due to any nightmare.
    • Generally can’t be awakened.
    • Refuses comforting.
    • Usually occurs between the ages of 4 through 12.
    • If it goes into adulthood it is seen in those with personality disorders or drug or alcohol problems.
  • 11. Sleep Disorders
    • Insomnia
    • The inability to fall or remain asleep.
    • Often it is temporary due to stress.
    • If it is chronic, medication is needed.
    • Other causes can include depression, worry, or fear, bad sleeping habits, & worrying about not sleeping.
  • 12. Sleep Disorders
    • Sleep Apnea
    • An inherited condition where breathing becomes difficult while sleeping .
    • In severe cases , breathing completely stops .
    • This typically happens hundreds of time each night. Next day , you will feel exhausted and sleepy , generally falling asleep during the day .
    • Narcolepsy
    • An inherited condition where you will nod off to sleep in the middle of a conversation .
    • There is a sudden loss of muscle tone at the expression of any emotion .
    • It appears to be connected to a CNS defect .
  • 13. Theories of Dreams
    • Freud
    • Dreams represent unfulfilled wishes & reflect manifest & latent motives.
    • They are expressions of primitive, amoral desires.
    • Jung
    • Dreams are one way that the unconscious expresses itself.
    • In dreams, this expression is archetypal and analogical.
    • They can give you guidance toward individuation.
    • What is the difference in how Freud and Jung would interpret this dream symbol ?
  • 14. Are your dreams in Color or Black & White?
  • 15. Theories of Dreams
    • Information Processing Theory
    • Dreams are a “time-out” to decide which information dealt with during the day should be filed in LTM.
    • Support comes from brain scans & through interfering with REM sleep.
    • Disrupting REM sleep disrupts the memory & newly learned material.
    • Scans show that specific areas active during learning are also active during dreams.
  • 16. Theories of Dreams
    • Activation-Synthesis Theory
    • Dreams are the by-products of the mind’s attempt to make sense of the spontaneous changes in the physiological activity generated by the pons during REM sleep.
    • The cerebral cortex is trying to make sense out of the random electrical discharges coming from the brain stem during REM sleep.
  • 17. Theories of Dreams
    • Emotional Processing Theory
    • Dreams integrate emotionally significant material into previous experiences.
    • We work through emotional problems during dreaming.
    • Dreams are an extension of our waking life & deal with conscious concerns.
    • The limbic system is highly active during dreaming.
    • Comparing Dream Theories
  • 18.  
  • 19. The Depressants
    • Alcohol
    • # 1 Drug problem in the U.S.
    • Binge drinking on campus is a “tradition”.
    • Heavy, chronic use harms every organ in the body.
    • The leading cause of liver & kidney disease.
    • Leads to cardiovascular disease and sexual dysfunction.
    • Destroys neurons and can lead to Korsakoff’s Syndrome.
    • There are social problems associated with use.
    • A complex syndrome combining social, personal, psychological and genetic mechanisms.
  • 20. The Depressants
    • Barbiturates
    • “ Downers” “Sleeping Pills”
    • General effects are similar to alcohol.
    • Causes dependence.
    • Opiates
    • Chemically, they resemble the endorphins.
    • Regular use leads to tolerance & can create physical dependence.
    • Withdrawals include severe cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, & convulsive kicking.
  • 21. The Stimulants
    • Caffeine
    • It is natural in coffee, tea, & cocoa, & used in many beverages & OTC medications.
    • Maintains wakefulness & alertness but its effects are illusory.
    • It interferes with many prescribed medications & aggravates side effects of many psychiatric drugs.
  • 22. The Stimulants
    • Nicotine
    • The most dangerous & addictive drug in use.
    • 4 ½ times more addicting than heroin.
    • Chemical properties similar to cocaine, amphetamines, & morphine .
    • Affects the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, dopamine, epinephrine & serotonin.
    • Withdrawals can continue for weeks & cravings can occur for months & years.
  • 23. The Stimulants
    • Amphetamines
    • “ Uppers”
    • Resemble epinephrine.
    • Relieves fatigue (“pep pill”).
    • Suppresses the appetite.
    • Increases alertness & gives feelings of competence & well-being.
    • “ Crash” produces exhaustion & depression.
    • They are habit forming.
    • High doses produce personality change, paranoia, homicidal & suicidal thoughts, & violent behavior.
    • Amphetamine psychosis resembles paranoid schizophrenia.
  • 24. The Stimulants
    • Methamphetamine is a powerful form of amphetamine.
    • Short-term recreational use of methamphetamine destroys dopamine receptors in the brain.
    • High doses of methamphetamine damages axon terminals with dopamine & serotonin neurons.
  • 25. The Stimulants
    • Cocaine
    • Popular at the turn of the 20 th century in many OTC drugs.
    • Was cheap & became expensive in the 1970s.
    • Blocks the reabsorption of dopamine making the high longer & more intense.
  • 26. P s y c h e d e l i c s
    • LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, peyote, & PCP
    • Causes shifts in perception.
    • Used by shamans in natural forms.
    • LSD was synthesized in 1943 from psilocybin.
    • Predrug personality is important as to the outcome.
    • There are no withdrawals, but a tolerance is built up.
  • 27. Marijuana
    • Generally classified as an hallucinogen
    • Most frequently used illegal drug in the U.S. & 4 th most popular with students.
    • Slightly hallucinogenic.
    • Taken mainly for its relaxing qualities.
    • Has physiological effects & does damage to the respiratory & cardiovascular system.
    • It is 16 X more carcinogenic than tobacco .
  • 28. E c s t a s y (MDMA)
    • Main Effects:
    • Inhibits serotonin reuptake thus
    • inducing release of serotonin &
    • induces release of dopamine
    • Early studies indicated Ecstasy destroyed dopamine receptors.
    • Ecstasy actually affects serotonin receptors.
    • Not known if the affect is permanent.
    • Studies Retracted
    • Accidentally, methamphetamine was injected instead of MDMA.
    • Most of those who died while on MDMA were also taking other drugs.
  • 29. Explaining Abuse & Addiction
    • 3 Main Factors
    • 1. Biological Factors
    • Genetic predispositions
    • Inheritance of personality factors & the body’s ability to tolerate the drug.
    • 2. Psychological Factors
    • Learning processes in the family (e.g. handling of stressful situations).
    • Expectations of feeling better.
    • Attitudes & beliefs about drugs, alcohol, etc.
    • 3. Socio-culture Factors
    • The social & cultural setting itself.
    • The culture’s view of certain drugs.
  • 30. Meditation
    • What is meditation?
    • Directed concentration
    • It’s focusing the mind around a single thought, object, or activity producing a state of deep peacefulness combined with a heightened sense of awareness.
  • 31. Basic Meditation Procedures
    • Structured Meditations
    • Carefully defined in all its inner activities & what you’re working toward.
    • Lotus Meditation & Breath Counting are examples.
    • Unstructured Meditations
    • There are different purposes in these meditations.
    • You must think about a subject & stay with it & your feelings about it. The purpose is to loosen & free your personality structure in a particular area for growth in that area.
  • 32. Types of Meditations
    • Path through the Intellect
    • You must first reach an intellectual understanding of the Physical & Metaphysical Realities & the ways these Realities perceive & relate to the world.
    • Then, through a series of meditations, this understanding is deepened & your personality structure is strengthened.
    • Jnana Yoga & Chabad Chasidism
  • 33. Types of Meditations
    • Path through the Emotions
    • The most widely used.
    • Structured meditations loosen your feelings & expand your ability to relate to others, to care, & to love.
    • The basic theory: the more free, untroubled, & complete you are, the more you have overcome the cultural processes that stunt growth & the better able you are in relating to others.
    • You eventually learn there is no separation between yourself and the rest of the universe.
    • Christian Monasticism & Bhakti Yoga
  • 34. Types of Meditations
    • The Path through the Body
    • You become aware of your body & bodily movements & heighten this awareness through practice until during the period of meditation, this awareness completely fills your field of consciousness excluding all else.
    • Hatha Yoga, T’ai Ch’i, & the Dervish dances of the Sufi
  • 35. Types of Meditations
    • The Path of Action
    • You learn how to “be” & to perceive & to relate to the world during the performance of a particular type of skill.
    • The long, hard practices of the discipline strengthens the personality.
    • The concentration is on the performance & nothing else.
    • The real goal is your growth as a person.
    • Zen Archery, Aikido, Karate, & Kung fu
  • 36. Hypnosis
    • What is hypnosis?
    • An altered state of consciousness with heightened suggestibility.
    • It is NOT a state of sleep.
    • The EEG pattern is the same as being awake.
    • The body is relaxed & the mind is alert.
    • The traditional view of hypnosis
  • 37. Misconceptions about Hypnosis
    • You can be made to do anything the hypnotist wants.
    • You’re totally unconscious.
    • You’ll fall over because you’re so relaxed.
    • You have to be in a really deep state for suggestion to work.
    • You can be made to go as deep as the hypnotist wants.
    • The hypnotist is in control of you.
    • You can be made to act like a chicken.
    • If you’re left alone in hypnosis, you’ll be stuck there for the rest of your life.
    • The hypnotist basically bores you into hypnosis.
    • People who aren’t very bright make the best subject.
  • 38. Hypnotic Induction Procedures
    • Authoritarian
    • The hypnotist orders the hypnosis.
    • Personality variables are important here.
    • Permissive
    • Hypnotist lets the subject do what s/he wants to do.
    • Wording is very important because the subject takes what is said literally.