Different States Of Consciousness Essays

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Chapter 5: States of Consciousness

  1. Overview
    1. Dualism vs. Monism
      1. ​Dualism
        1. ​humans consist of thought and matter
          1. ​matter- everything that has substance
          2. thought - nonmaterial. Arises from, but is independent of the brain. Gives humans free will.
      2. Monism
        1. ​thought and matter are aspects of the same substance
        2. thought stops existing when the body dies
    2. ​​Consciousness
      1. ​Our level of awareness about ourselves and our environment
  2. ​​Levels of Consciousness
    1. ​Mere-Exposure Effect
      1. ​We prefer stimuli that we have seen before over novel stimuli, even if we don’t consciously remember seeing it
    2. Priming
      1. ​Research participants respond more quickly/accurately to questions they’ve seen before, even if they don’t remember it
    3. ​Blind Sight
      1. ​One level of consciousness isn’t getting visual information
      2. Their behavior demonstrates that another level can see
      3. They report being blind
    4. ​Types of Levels
      1. ​Conscious level
        1. ​information about yourself and your environment that you are aware of
      2. ​Nonconscious level
        1. ​body processes controlled by the mind that we’re not aware of
      3. ​Preconscious level
        1. ​information about yourself or your environment that you aren’t thinking about, but could be
      4. ​Subconscious level
        1. ​information of which we aren’t consciously aware
        2. must exist due to behavior
        3. proof: priming and mere exposure effect
      5. ​Unconscious level
        1. ​some events/feelings that are unacceptable to the conscious mind are repressed into it
  3. ​​​Sleep
    1. ​Sleep Cycle
      1. ​Circadean rhythm
        1. metabolic and thought processes follow a pattern
      2. ​Sleep onset
        1. ​the period when we are falling asleep
        2. possible mild hallucinations
        3. alpha waves
          1. ​produced when we are drowsy but awake
      3. ​​Theta waves
        1. ​high frequency, low amplitude
        2. as we go from awake to stage 1 to stage 2, they get slower and higher in amplitude
        3. stage 1, stage 2, awake
      4. ​Sleep spindles
        1. ​stage 2
        2. short bursts of rapid brain waves
      5. ​Delta sleep
        1. ​stages 3 and 4
        2. slow-wave sleep
        3. delta waves
        4. the slower the waves, the deeper the sleep
      6. ​REM sleep
        1. ​dreams occur
        2. improves memory
        3. rapid eye movement
        4. intense brain activity
        5. paralysis, though a few muscle twitches
        6. paradoxical sleep
      7. ​REM rebound
        1. ​if deprived of REM sleep the previous night, we will spend more time in REM
    2. ​​Sleep Disorders
      1. ​Insomnia
        1. ​recurring problems in falling or staying asleep
        2. affects 10% of the population
        3. sleeping pills disturb sleep patterns
      2. ​Narcolepsy
        1. ​periods of intense sleepiness
        2. may fall asleep at unpredictable times
        3. may fall right into REM
        4. affects less than .001% of the population
      3. ​Sleep apnea
        1. ​as common as insomnia
        2. causes you to stop breathing for short periods of time at night
          1. ​​​wake up slightly and gasp for air
          2. won’t remember waking up
        3. ​affects attention, memory, energy
        4. ​​prevents deep sleep
        5. high risk group: overweight men
      4. ​Night terrors and somnambulism (sleep walking)
        1. ​more common in children
        2. early in the night; stage 4
        3. not remembered in the morning
    3. ​​Dreams
      1. ​Freudian psychoanalysis
        1. ​emphasizes dream interpretation as a way to uncover information in the unconscious mind
        2. dreams are wish fulfilling
          1. ​​​in dreams we act out our unconscious desires
        3. ​manifest content
          1. ​the literal storyline of dreams
          2. latent content- the unconscious meaning of it
          3. the ego protects us from information in the unconscious mind… “protected sleep”
      2. ​​Activation-synthesis theory
        1. ​dreams are the brain’s interpretation of what is happening physiologically during REM sleep
      3. Information-processing theory
        1. ​the function of REM is to integrate information processed during the day into our memory
        2. support:
          1. ​stress increases the number and the intensity of our dreams
          2. dream content often relates to daily concerns
          3. babies REM more
  4. ​​​​Hypnosis
    1. ​Posthypnotic Amnesia
      1. ​Forgetting events that occurred while you were under hypnosis
    2. ​Posthypnotic Suggestion
      1. ​A suggestion that a hypnotized person behave in a certain way after hypnosis ends
    3. ​Role Theory
      1. ​During hypnosis, people act out the role of a hypnotized person because they are expected to
      2. Hypnosis is a social phenomenon
      3. Hypnotic suggestability
        1. ​ability to be hypnotized
        2. higher in people who:
          1. ​have rich fantasy lives
          2. can focus intensely on a single task for a long time
          3. follow directions well
    4. ​​​State Theory
      1. ​Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness
    5. ​Dissociation Theory
      1. ​Ernest Hilgard
      2. Hypnosis causes a voluntary split in consciousness
        1. one level responds to the suggestions of the hypnotist
        2. the other level retains awareness of reality
      3. ​Ice water bath experiment
        1. ​subjects felt pain but reported none
        2. demonstrates the presence of a hidden observer
          1. ​​​a level of our consciousness that monitors what is happening while another level obeys the hypnotist
  5. ​​​​Drugs
    1. ​Psychoactive Drugs
      1. ​Chemicals that change the chemistry of the brain
      2. Induce an altered state of consciousness
      3. The effects are due both to expectations and physiological processes
      4. Blood-brain barrier
        1. ​thick walls surrounding the brain’s blood vessels
        2. molecules of psychoactive drugs are small enough to pass through it
      5. ​Agonists
        1. ​mimic neurotransmitters
      6. ​Antagonists
        1. ​prevent neurotransmitters from entering receptor sites, but don’t mimic their functions
      7. ​Tolerance
        1. ​caused by a physiological change
        2. more of the same drug is needed for the same effect
        3. cause withdrawal symptoms
    2. ​​Stimulants
      1. ​Speed up body processes
        1. ​autonomic nervous system
      2. ​Produce a sense of euphoria
      3. ​​Caffeine, cocaine, amphetamines, nicotine
      4. Disturb sleep, reduce appetite, increase anxiety, cause heart problems
    3. ​Depressants
      1. ​Slow down body systems
      2. ​Alcohol, barbiturates, anxiolytics (tranquilizers, antianxiety drugs)
      3. Cause euphoria
      4. Alcohol
        1. ​slows reactions/judgment
        2. affects motor coordination
    4. ​​Hallucinations (Psychedelics)
      1. ​Cause changes in perception of reality
        1. ​sensory hallucinations
        2. loss of identity
        3. vivid fantasies
      2. ​Unpredictable effects
      3. LSD, peyote, psilocybin mushrooms, marijuana
      4. Reverse tolerance
        1. ​second dose may be less than first but cause greater effects
        2. the drug lingers in the body for weeks
    5. ​​Opiates
      1. ​Morphine, heroin, methadone, codeine
      2. Similar in chemical structure to opium
        1. ​a drug derived from the poppy plant
      3. ​Act as agonists for endorphins
        1. ​pain killers
        2. mood elevators
      4. ​Cause drowsiness and euphoria
      5. Very physically addictive
        1. ​rapidly change brain chemistry and create tolerance/withdrawal

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Aboukhadijeh, Feross. "Chapter 5: States of Consciousness" StudyNotes.org. Study Notes, LLC., 12 Oct. 2013. Web. 10 Mar. 2018. <https://www.apstudynotes.org/psychology/outlines/chapter-5-states-of-consciousness/>.

Outline Of Consciousness

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Section 4: Consciousness
Pages 114-117

I.     Defining Consciousness
a.     Consciousness is commonly defined as being aware of the immediate environment.
i.     For example, knowing when to go to class or work.
b.     Consciousness also deals with awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and memories.
i.     Examples
1.     Making plans for dates.
2.     Getting annoyed at your performance in school.
3.     Thinking back about good times with your friends.
c.     Early psychologists and their studies
i.     When early psychologists studied the mind, they studied consciousness.
1.     William Wundt (late 1880’s) had subjects report contents of consciousness while working, falling asleep, and sitting still.
2.     Sigmund Freud (1900’s) wrote that needs, desires, and influences are part of the conscious and people have different levels of consciousness.
d.     Dualism
i.     Started by French philosopher Rene Descartes stated that mind and body are separate, but interacting.
ii.     Dualism says that one thing cannot exist without it’s opposite.
1.     Light cannot exist without darkness.
2.     Good cannot exist without the presence of evil.
3.     The body cannot function without the mind, and so forth.
e.     Materialism
i.     Psychologists say that our mental activity is rooted in the brain.
ii.     Dominant perspective with modern psychologists.
iii.     Tends to take a less black and white view of “consciousness” versus “unconsciousness.”
iv.     Psychologists say that you are more aware of certain mental processes over others.
1.     For example, doing the same routine at work and time seems to go by faster.
v.     Cognitive psychologists ignore the unconscious. They call it the deliberate versus the automatic.
f.     Different levels of Consciousness
i.     Freud and other cognitive psychologists came up with this theory.
1.     Consciousness is a continuum.
a.     Alert attention
b.     Dreaming
c.     Hypnosis
d.     Drug-induced states
2.     Someone who isn’t paying attention is still conscious, just not “as conscious” as someone that is alert.
3.     Believes that drinking will bring you into a lower level of consciousness.
4.     If you are in a state of consciousness that is different from what you normally are, you are in an altered state of consciousness.
5.     When you are asleep, however, you are in a state of “turned off” consciousness. (Hobson, 1994)
ii.     Metacognition
1.     Being able to think about their own thinking.
2.     May allow them to access levels of consciousness that are not available to other people.
a.     For example, people’s natural sleep timers.
3.     Researched by asking people to track their consciousness, alertness, and moods over a length of time.
a.     Found out that there is a natural rhythm to consciousness.
iii.     Functions of Consciousness
1.     Allows us to monitor our mental and physical states.
2.     Allows us to control our mental and physical states, to an extant.
iv.     What is consciousness?
1.     General state of being aware of and responsive to events in the environment, as well as one’s own mental processes.
II.     Theories of Consciousness
a.     Several researchers suggested biological theories of consciousness.
i.     Used evolution of the brain as the key to consciousness.
1.     Jaynes (1976) believed that consciousness came from the different functions of the hemispheres of the brain.

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2.     Ornstein (1977) said that there were two modes of consciousness that was controlled by each side of the brain.
a.     The active-verbal-rational (active) mode
i.     Left dominated
ii.     Automatic or default mode of the brain.
iii.     People limit their awareness automatically in order to shut out stimuli that do not directly relate to their ability to survive.
b.     The receptive-spatial-intuitive-holistic (receptive) mode
i.     Right dominated
ii.     Used when people expand their normal awareness.
iii.     Used when people need to gain perspective or insight about something.
iv.     Includes biofeedback, meditation, hypnosis, and drug use.
v.     Used to balance the active mode.
3.     Ornstein and Galin supported the idea that the brain is divided and specialized in certain things is significant ways using laboratory studies and data.
a.     Stated that left-dominated and right-dominated modes of consciousness function in a complimentary and alternating fashion.
i.     One works while the other in inhibited (Galin, 1974; Ornstein, 1976).
b.     Integration of these two modes underlies the highest human accomplishments.
i.     Support for this is still modest since the brain’s functioning cannot be fully explained by it’s structure.
4.     Newest explanations of consciousness can be done by Dennett (1991, 1996) and neurologist Restak (1994).
a.     Both had a materialistic viewpoint.
b.     Dennett asserts that people have access to many sources of information, which in combination create conscious experiences in his book, Consciousness Explained.
i.     Also says that the brain creates copies of experiences that can constantly be reanalyzed.
ii.     The brain develops a sense of consciousness as well as a sense of self through this constant updating and reanalysis of experience.
1.     Theory is untested, widely unaccepted and criticized (Mangan, 1993).
2.     It does take a new path in suggesting that perceptual, physiological, and historical information come together in each individual to create consciousness.
c.     Restak supported Dennett’s ideas in his book, The Modular Brain.
i.     He said that the brain’s various sections control behavior in a human being.
ii.     Consciousness isn’t organized, but rather just resides in these sections.
1.     If you lose one of those sections in an accident, then you will lose its respective abilities.
d.     Damasio (1994) follows this line of reasoning as well.
i.     Suggested that all the sections of the brain are hierarchically organized.
e.     Calvin (1996) suggested that the sections of the brain are at work generating and synthesizing throughout our lives, whether we are awake or asleep.
i.     Argued that this activity may not always work well, but creates interesting and ingenious thought patterns.
5.     Pinker (1997) says that even the best theorists confuse terms when they talk about consciousness.
a.     Pinker asserts that the mind is what the brain does, and nothing more than that.
b.     Also says that it has evolved as an evolutionary response to the world.
i.     The mind is a system of organs of computation.
ii.     It is designed by natural selection to solve the problems our ancestors faced in forging their way of life.
c.     Pinker dismisses many psychological issues such as guilt, remorse, and fear.
i.     Pinker says that these emotions are nonsense, and that we must only look at the machine that is the brain.
ii.     Says that the “problem” of consciousness can be broken down into three issues.
1.     Sentience
a.     Refers to subjective experience and awareness (feelings).
2.     Access
a.     Refers to the ability to report on the content and product of rational thought
b.     It talks about taking deliberate, reasoned actions based on memory, rational ideas, and past experiences.
3.     Self-knowledge
a.     Refers to the ability of individuals to recognize that their experiences are uniquely their own and to be aware that they are experiencing as they are doing it.
iii.     Access and self-knowledge are cognitive activities that can be analyzed by psychological viewpoints such as fMRI scans and biofeedback.
1.     Pinker says that this analysis is crucial because it is the only way for scientists to understand the true nature of consciousness.
6.     Materialists like Pinker contrast greatly with philosophers like Chalmers (1996).
a.     Pinker focused on physiology, while Chalmers focused on subjective experience.
b.     There are plenty of theories around dealing with consciousness.
c.     Much analysis is based on biobehavioral.
i.     An attempt to explain the nature of consciousness through a description of the brain’s structure and functions and a corresponding analysis of behavior.
d.     Researchers mainly focus on specific states of consciousness such as sleep, meditation, biofeedback, hypnosis, and drug-induced consciousness.

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