Lecture Outline •The Nature of Consciousness. •Perspectives on Consciousness. •Sleep and Dreaming. •Hypnosis. Consciousness •William James (1890): –Consciousness is a constantly moving stream of perceptions, thoughts, memories, emotions, feelings, and intentions. •A key aspect of human consciousness is that these thoughts, feelings, and emotions are associated with a sense of “self”. •We experience our own conscious states, but not those of another person or animal. More from John Searle •“Consciousness does not name a separate phenomenon, isolatable from all other aspects of life, but rather names the mode in which humans and other higher animals conduct the major activities of their lives.” •“The fact that there is a causal relation between brain processes and conscious states does not imply a dualism of brain and consciousness any more than the fact that the causal relation between molecule movements and solidity implies a dualism of molecules and solidity.” The Functions of Consciousness •The currently predominant view of the value of consciousness to adaptation centers on the idea that consciousness integrates the output of lower-level, limited-purpose mental modules. –Consciousness enables coherent responses to new challenges. •Resolves conflicts among modules or combines modules creatively to produce novel behaviors. –A necessary component of consciousness to provide this role is a sense of self. Neurology of Consciousness •Activity in sub-cortical and primary perceptual areas is NOT associated with conscious experience. •Consciousness is only associated with activity in the associationand interpretationareas of the brain. –For example: •Frontal lobes. •Right parietal lobe. •Object recognition areas of the temporal lobe.
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