Q3L08 - States of consciousness

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Q3L08 - States of consciousness

  1. 1. States of Consciousness<br />
  2. 2. What does states of consciousness mean?<br />
  3. 3. Definition<br />States of:<br />Varying degrees of awareness of ourselves and the external world.<br />Includes an individual’s perceptions, thoughts, feelings and memories.<br />Consciousness: <br />refers to ways in which we control ourselves and our environment to enable us to initiate or terminate behaviour and cognitive activities.<br />Can range from high mental alertness to a state close to unconsciousness.<br />
  4. 4. A bit of history…<br />William James (1890) believed consciousness was an ever changing ‘stream’ or flow of awareness.<br />He believed it is personal (consciousness is unique to each individual and subjective), selective (we can choose what we wish to focus on or ignore), continuous (our consciousness is always there - there are no gaps in our thoughts) and changing (our thoughts constantly drift from one topic to another).<br />
  5. 5. By 1913, behaviourists like John Watson believed<br /> “Psychology must discard all references to consciousness”<br /> because they could see no scientific way to study mental processes that were not observable.<br />
  6. 6. In the 1960s, interest revived by cognitive psychologists and development of electroencephalograph (EEG).<br />
  7. 7. STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS<br />Normal Waking Consciousness<br />Altered States of Consciousness:<br />Sensory deprivation<br />Hypnosis<br />Meditation<br />Psychoactive Drugs<br />Sleep/dreams<br />
  8. 8. Normal Waking Consciousness<br />Normal Waking Consciousness(NWC): we are awake, alert and aware of our thoughts, feelings, sensations and environment.<br />Normal range of emotions; the ability to perform either controlled or automatic processes and have either selective or divided attention; clear, logical cognition; accurate perceptionof things such as time and sensations; a normal level of self-control; and a relative ease in retrieving and storing memories.<br />Attentionin NWC can shift and awarenesscan be represented on a continuum between being alert and concentrating to lacking focus.<br />Controlled processesare serial tasks which require great cognitive effort and may be new or difficult in nature. They require selective attention. <br />Automatic processesare tasks which can be performed parallel to other tasks and may be easy or familiar in nature, requiring little cognitive effort and divided attention. <br />

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