Chapters 8-12 - 1 Consciousness o o o o o o o o o o What is...

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Consciousness 10/21/2010 What is it? o A person’s subjective experience of the world o We generally assume other peoples conscious experiences are similar to our own o Only you can know your consciousness Problem of Other Minds o The fundamental difficulty we have in perceiving the consciousness of others o Ex. Perceiving colors in the same way Mind/Body Problem o How is the mind related to the brain or body? o “The mind is what the brain does” (Minksy, 1986) o What comes first, the brain or the mind? Probably the brain Properties of Consciousness o Intentionality Being directed toward an object o Unity Resistance to division o Selectivity The capacity to attend to some information and tune out others (e.g. cocktail party effect) o Transience The tendency to change Levels of Consciousness o Minimal consciousness: brain registers sensation and may output behavior o Full consciousness: you know and are able to report on your mental state o Self consciousness: a person’s attention is draw to the self o Animal self-awareness and the mark test Consciousness o Thought suppression: avoidance of a thought Ex. don’t think of a white bear We are really bad at suppressing thoughts o Rebound effect of thought suppression Tendency of a thought to return to consciousness more frequently following suppression Sleep Stages o Circadian Rhythm o Also have rhythm during sleep o Electrical activity (EEG) o Wide awake = beta waves o Relaxed and awake = alpha waves 1
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Sleep Cycle o Stage 1: 4-5% Light sleep Muscle activity slows down Occasional muscle twitching Theta waves o Stage 2: 45-55% Breathing pattern and heart rate slows Slight decrease in body temperature Spindles and K complexes o Stage 3: 4-6% Deep sleep begins Brain begins to generate slow delta waves o Stage 4: 12-15% Very deep sleep Rhythmic breathing Limited muscle activity Brain produces delta waves o Stage 5: 20-25% Rapid eye movement (REM) Brainwaves speed up and dreaming occurs Muscles relax and heart rate increases Breathing is rapid and shallow Sleep – What is it good for? o Memory consolidation o If you really want to learn and remember something, sleep on it Sleep Disorders o Insomnia Difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep o Somnambulism Sleepwalking o Narcolepsy Sudden sleep attacks while awake o Sleep paralysis Experience of waking up, but unable to move o Night terrors Abrupt awakening with panic and intense emotional arousal Dream Theories o Freudian theory: dreams represent wishes that may be unacceptable and must be disguised in dreams o Activation-synthesis model: dreams are produced when brain tries to make sense of random brain activation 2
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Drugs and Consciousness o Psychoactive drugs
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