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1 - introduction - Understanding Human Consciousness A...

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Understanding Human Consciousness: A Physiological  Approach 14:01 Consciousness: Used to refer to a variety of concepts, including simple  wakefulness The fact that we humans are aware of our thoughts, perceptions, memories,  and feelings Consciousness can be altered by changes in the structure of chemistry of the  brain Consciousness is a physiological function Consciousness and the ability to communicate seem to go hand in hand o Our ability to send and receive messages with other people enables us to  send and receive our own messages inside our own heads  Blindsight The common belief that perceptions must enter consciousness to affect our  behavior is incorrect o Our behavior can be guided by sensory information of which we are  completely unaware Consciousness is not a general property of all parts of the brain o Some parts of the brain play a special role in consciousness Split Brains The parts of the brain involved in verbal behavior may be the ones  responsible for consciousness Corpus callosum: A large bundle of nerve fibers that connect corresponding  parts of the one side of the brain with those of the other  o Both sides of the brain engage in wild activity and stimulate each other  Split-brain operation: Cutting the corpus callosum to reduce the  frequency of the epileptic seizures Cerebral hemispheres: Receive sensory information from the opposite sides  of the body o Control movements of the opposite sides  o Corpus callosum permits the two hemispheres to share information  The effects of cutting the corpus callosum reinforce the conclusion that we  become conscious of something only if information about it is able to reach  the parts of the brain responsible for verbal communication  Unilateral Neglect
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Failure to notice things located to a person’s left o Produced by damage to a particular part of the right side of the brain: The  cortex of the parietal lobe Their inattention to things to the left means that they normally do not become  conscious of them People with unilateral neglect demonstrate their unawareness of the left half  of things when they draw pictures  There are two major symptoms of unilateral neglect: neglect of the left halves  of things in the environment and neglect of the left half of one’s own body 
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