Chapter 3: Sensation, Perception and Conscious Experience
CONSCIOUSNESS: our awareness of how we think, feel,
perceive, and experience the world.
o Waking consciousness: mental state that
encompasses the thoughts, feelings, and
perceptions that occur when we are awake and
o Altered state of consciousness: mental states
that differ noticeably from normal waking
DAYDREAMS: fantasies that people construct while awake;
apparently effortless shifts in attention away from the
here and now into a private world of make-believe; the
urge to daydream seems to come in waves, surging about
every 90 minutes and peaking between noon and 2 pm.
SLEEP and DREAMS
Stage 1: the state of transition between wakefulness and sleep,
characterized by relatively rapid, low-amplitude brain waves.
Stage 2: A sleep deeper than that of stage 1, characterized by a
slower, more regular wave pattern, along with momentary
interruptions of “sleep spindles.”
Stage 3: A sleep characterized by slow brain waves, with greater
peaks and valleys in the wave pattern than in stage 2 sleep.
Stage 4: The deepest stage of sleep, during which we are least
responsive to outside stimulation.
(REM) Rapid Eye Movement sleep: Sleep occupying 20% of an
adult’s sleeping time, characterized by increased heart rate, blood
pressure, and breathing heart; erections; eye movements; and the
experience of dreaming.
During the night, the
typical sleeper passes
through all four stages
of sleep and several
A night’s sleep across the life
span. Sleep patterns change
from childhood to young
adulthood to old age. The
shaded areas represent REM
sleep, the stage of sleep that
varies most dramatically across
age groups. Note how many
times older adults awaken
during their hours of sleep.
Sleep disorder characterized by difficulty in
falling asleep or remaining asleep throughout
Occurs during stage 4; common among
children than adults; boys are more likely to
walk in their sleep than girls;
Frightening dreams that occur during REM
sleep and are remembered.
Frightening, often terrifying dreams that occur
during NREM sleep from which a person is
difficult to awaken and doesn’t remember the
Sleep disorder characterized by breathing
difficulty during the night and feelings of
exhaustion during the day.
Hereditary sleep disorder characterized by
sudden nodding off during the day and
sudden loss of muscle tone, often following
moments of emotional excitement.
DREAMS: Vivid visual and auditory experiences that occur
primarily during REM periods of sleep.
WHY DO WE DREAM?
Sigmund Freud’s theory that dreams
represent unconscious wishes that
dreamers desire to see fulfilled.
Latent content, the actual wishes are
Manifest content, the apparent story
line of dreams.
The theory suggesting that dreams
permit information that is critical for
our daily survival to be reconsidered
and reprocessed during sleep.
Dreams represent concerns about our
daily lives, illustrating our
uncertainties, indecisions, ideas, and
Hobson’s theory that the brain
produces random electrical energy
during REM sleep that stimulates
memories lodged in various portions
of the brain.
The limbic system, which is involved
with emotions, motivations, and
memories, is wildly active during
Symbol (Manifest Content of
Climbing up a stairway, crossing a
bridge, riding an elevator, flying in
an airplane, walking down a long
hallway, entering a room, train
travelling through a tunnel
Apples, peaches, grapefruits
Bullets, fire, snakes, sticks,
umbrellas, guns, hoses, knives
Ovens, boxes, tunnels, closets,
caves, bottles, ships
Male sex organs
Female sex organs
CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS: Biological processes that occur
regularly on approximately a 24-hour cycle.
TIPS FOR TREATING INSOMNIA
What can people who have trouble sleeping do to ease their
insomnia? Here are some suggestions:
Maintain regular bedtime hours.
Establish a regular routine of activities performed just
before going to bed.
Abstain from drugs, including those with alcohol or
Adjust the room temperature to a comfortable level.
Avoid foods, such as chocolate, that contains caffeine.
Engage in regular daytime exercise, but avoid exercising
just before bedtime.
Learn to relax and avoid anxiety-provoking thoughts at
Don’t fight insomnia: If you can’t sleep, get up, work or
read for an hour or so, and then try to sleep again.
Psychoactive drugs: chemical substances that change
moods and perceptions.
Addictive drugs: drugs that produce a biological or
psychological dependence in the user so that withdrawal
from them leads to a craving for the drug that, in some
cases, may be nearly irresistible.
Substance abuse: a pattern of drug use that diminishes the
ability to fulfill responsibilities at home, work, or school;
that results in repeated use of a drug in dangerous
situations; or that leads to legal difficulties related to drug
Substance dependence: A pattern of compulsive drug-
taking that results in tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, or
other specific symptoms for at least a year.
Depressants: chemicals that slow down the action of the
nervous system and its associated behaviors and cognitive
Stimulants: chemicals that speed up the action of the
nervous system and its associated behaviors and cognitive
processes; drugs that have an arousal effect on the CNS,
causing a rise in heart rate, blood pressure, and muscular
Hallucinogens: chemicals that produce a significant
disruption in waking consciousness.
Narcotics: Drugs that increase relaxation and relieve pain
Judgment, thought, and restraint
weakened; tension released, giving
Tensions and inhibitions of everyday life
Voluntary motor action affected, making
hand and arm movements, walk and
Severe impairment—staggering, loud,
incoherent, emotionally unstable, 100
times greater traffic risk; exuberance and
aggressive inclinations magnified
Deeper areas of brain affected, with
stimulus-response and understanding
confused; stuporous; blurred vision
Incapable of voluntary actions; sleepy;
difficult to arouse; equivalent of surgical
Comatose; centers controlling breathing
and heartbeat anesthetized; death
Note: A drink refers to a typical 12-ounce
bottle of beer, a 1.5 ounce of hard liquor,
or a 5-ounce glass of wine.
The effects of alcohol. The quantities represent only rough
benchmarks; the effects vary significantly depending on an
individual’s weight, height, recent food intake, genetic factors, and
even psychological state.
MEDITATION AND HYPNOSIS
Hypnosis: A trancelike state of heightened susceptibility to the
suggestions of others.
Hypnosis has been used successfully to solve practical
human problems. In fact, psychologists working in many
different areas have found hypnosis to be a reliable,
effective tool. It has been applied to a number of areas,
including the following:
o Controlling pain
o Reducing smoking
o Treating psychological disorders
o Assisting in law enforcement
o Improving athletic performance
Meditation: A learned technique for refocusing attention that brings
about an altered state of consciousness.
1. Why have drug education campaigns largely been
ineffective in stemming the use of illegal drugs? Should the
use of certain now-illegal drugs be made legal? Would it
be more effective to stress reduction of drug use rather
than a complete prohibition of drug use?
2. Why do you think people in almost every culture seek
ways of altering their states of consciousness?
Feldman, R. S. (2010). Understanding Psychology. 9th Edition.
McGraw Hill Companies, Inc.
Morris, C.G.,et al. (2007). Psychology Concepts and Applications.
Pearson Education, Inc. New Jersey.
Mrs. Maria Angela L. Diopol