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What is consciousness?

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What is consciousness?

  • the moment-to-moment subjective experience of the world, bodies, and mental sensations

  • subjective, dynamic, self-reflective

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How is consciousness (supposedly) measured?

  • Self-reports

  • Physiological measures (ex. EEG, FMRI)

  • Behavioural measures (ex. rouge test)

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Mirror-rouge test

  • idea: kid put in front of mirror with smear of rouge on forehead; if they touch it, they have awareness/self-concept

  • but it worked on pigeons too

  • Circular logic

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Controlled processing

  • mental processing that requires some degree of volitional control and attentiveness

  • ex. studying for exam

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Automatic processing

  • mental activities that occur automatically and require no minimal conscious control/awareness

  • ex. riding a bike

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Divided attention

  • ability to perform more than one activity at the time

  • presumed to be made possible but automatic processing

  • difficult if tasks require similar cognitive resources

  • ex. listening to music while studying for an exam

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circadian rhythm

  • cyclical changes that occur on roughly 24-hr basis in many biological processes

  • regulated by superchiasmatic nucleus (SCN)

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superchiasmatic nucleus

  • located in hypothalamus

  • brain's "biological clock"

  • pineal gland releases a hormone melatonin -> triggers sensations of drowsiness

  • located above optic chiasm -partly learns day/night cycles through retinal signals

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How much sleep does an average person need?

  • roughly 7-10 hours per night

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Factors that affect the amount of sleep one needs

  • Age

  • Health

  • Quality of sleep

  • Genetics -> DCE2 gene mutation = may only require 6 hrs

  • Species

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What can sleep deprivation result in?

  • Difficulties learning

  • Poor attention

  • lethargy

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What health conditions are associated with sleep deprivation?

  • weight gain

  • diabetes

  • heart problems

  • weakened immune system

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Stages of sleep/waves

  • Awake and alert: beta waves ( >13 waves per second)

  • Calm wakefulness: Alpha waves ( 8-12 wps)

  • Stage 1: Theta waves ( 4-7 wps)

  • Stage 2: Sleep spindles and K-complexes

  • Stage 3 and 4 : Delta waves ( 1-2 wps)

  • Stage 5 (REM)

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Sleep stage 1

  • Theta waves (4-7 waves per second)

  • myoclonic jerks

  • Hypnagogic imagery

  • lasts 5-10 minutes

  • stage where you don't really feel like you're sleeping

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Sleep stage 2

  • Sleep spindles

  • K-complexes

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Sleep spindle

  • Stage 2

  • short bursts of neural activity, 5-1.5 seconds

  • possibly brain consolidating memories

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  • Stage 2

  • large waveform that occurs intermittently

  • appear every 1-2 minutes in sleep

  • theory that they are related to ability to ignore external staimuli when sleeping

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Sleep stages 3 and 4

  • Delta waves (1-2 per second), research suggests they are critical to good sleep

  • Stage 3 <50% of waves are delta

  • Stage 4 >50% of waves delta

  • "deep sleep" required for feeling rested

  • time spent in deep sleep declines with age

  • stage most difficult to wake someone up from

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Sleep stage 5

  • REM

  • stage of sleep where brain is most active/where vivid dreaming most often occurs

  • approx 20% of sleep is REM

  • rebounds when REM is lost - periods will last longer, experience more vivid dreams - compensating for lost amounts of REM sleep

  • REM stage longer as night progresses

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Theories on why we sleep

  • Energy conservation - body metabolizes slower in sleep

  • Adaptive for avoiding predation - human's don't see well at night

  • Restorative - body has chance to heal

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Sleep disorders

  • Insomnia

  • Narcolepsy

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea

  • Night Terrors

  • Sleepwalking

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  • Difficulty falling/staying asleep

  • Treatment (Behavioural): consistent wake schedule, only go to bed when tired, only use bed for sleeping, exercise, avoid alcohol/caffeine in evening

  • Treatment (Pharmacological): Can be addictive, can have adverse side effects (ex. Amnesia), can lead to rebound insomnia

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  • irregular control of sleep-wake cycles

  • Symptoms: . "sleep attacks" . cataplexy (lose voluntary muscle control for a few secs) . Hypnagogic & hypnopompic hallucinations (sleep-onset & sleep-offset) . sleep paralysis . disturbed nighttime sleep

  • Possible causes: . Insufficient hypocretin producing neurons in hypothalamus . Genes can help determine susceptibility, but % of related people both having = small

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(Obstructive) Sleep Apnea

  • caused by blockage of airway during sleep = daytime fatigue

  • Health problems: Night sweats, weight gain, hearing loss, irregular heartbeat, ^ risk of death

  • Treatment: Weight loss, CPAP air mask

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Night Terrors

  • Sudden waking episodes characterized by screaming, perspiring, and confusion followed by return to deep sleep

  • Lasts a few minutes

  • Stages 3 and 4 (not REM)

  • Harmless

  • Treatment: Getting older (usually happens in children)

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  • Walking while fully asleep

  • Occurs during deep sleep stages

  • Usually harmless

  • Person often not aware they have done it

  • Occurs more often in children

  • Occurs during deep sleep

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Are dreams typically more negative or positive?


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Freud's Dream Protection Theory

  • Dreams reflect "wish-fulfillment" of unconscious desires -> prevent these from ruining sleep

  • unconscious desires expressed symbolically within dream, require "interpretation"

  • Manifest content: raw facts/details about dream

  • Latent content: underlying meaning about details in dream

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Problems with Freud's dream protection theory

  • people with brain damage who can't dream will sleep soundly

  • dreams often not wish-fulfilling: mostly negative, consist of benign people/activities, can be nightmarish

  • most dreams involve no sexual themes

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Activation synthesis theory

  • dreams reflect inputs from brain activation in pons, forebrain attempts to weave into story

  • REM induced by increased Acetylcholine in Pons & reductions in Serotonin/Norepinephrine -> signals sent to thalamus then cortical areas that try to make sense of them, but they are incomplete - try to make the best it

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out-of-body experience (OBE)

  • sensation of consciousness leaving body

  • Occurs in approx. 10% of general population

  • people who experience OBE's often report other strange experiences as well

  • OBE's often occur in conjunction with near-death experiences

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deja vu

  • Feeling of reliving an experience that's new

  • lasts approx. 10-30 seconds

  • May be due to: . excess levels of dopamine in temporal lobe -> people with small temporal lobe seizures will report Deja vu prior to the seizure . Resemblance of past events poorly remembered

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  • set of techniques that provides people with suggestions for alterations in perceptions, feelings, thoughts, behaviours

  • people are chosen to be "hypnotized" on the bases of their suggestibility

  • regression therapy

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myths about hypnosis

  • Puts people in a "trance"

  • People can be made to do things they don't want to do

  • People are unaware of their surroundings

  • People forget what took place

  • Hypnosis can give you special abilities

  • Hypnotism enhances memory

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Regression therapy

  • people hypnotized to remember events from childhood (where psych problems originated)

  • Problems: . Reports of age-regressed individuals often cant be corroborated by ppl present at the time . Poggendorff illusion . EEG responses

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Past life regression therapy

  • people are regressed with hypnosis to remember events from a past life

  • problems: . Claims of regressed individuals often prove false when fact-checked . Ability to be regressed to a past-life is dependent on a belief in reincarnation

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Psychoactive drug

  • contains chemicals similar to those found naturally in brains that alter consciousness by changing chemical processes in neurons

  • Alter how we think, feel, and act

  • Effects depend on: type, dose, beliefs and expectations, environment drug is taken in

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  • drugs that create a decrease in nervous system activity

  • ex. Alcohol, Barbiturates, Tranquilizers

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  • drugs that create an increase in nervous system activity

  • ex. Amphetamines, Methamphetamines, MDMA(Ecstasy), Cocaine, Tobacco

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  • bind to opioid/endorphin receptors and produce analgesic and euphoric effects

  • Derived from opium poppy

  • can produce ^ levels of dopamine -> Euphoria

  • administered in many ways -> affects potency

  • ex. Morphine, Codeine, heroin, Fentanyl, Oxy-Contin

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  • Drugs which cause dramatic alterations of perception, mood, and thought

  • Can enhance, distort, and intensify sensory experience

  • Effects often unpredictable leading to paranoia, violence, and anxiety in some people

  • ex. Cannabis

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Routes of Administration of drugs

  • Ocular -> drops, bioadhesives

  • Buccal -> mucoadhesive, spray

  • Sublingual delivery -> tablets

  • Oral delivery -> capsule, pill

  • Intravenous delivery -> injection

  • Intramuscular delivery -> depot

  • Subcutaneous delivery -> Depot, implant -Transdermal/topical delivery -> patch, cream, spray

  • Pulmonary/Nasal delivery -> Aerosol, spray

  • Vaginal/rectal delivery -> Gel, suppository

  • For all drugs to enter into brain, need to enter bloodstream

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Blood brain barrier

  • physiological mechanism that alters permeability of brain capillaries so some substances are prevented from entering brain tissue while others enter freely

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Diagnosis of substance use disorder

  • user has significant and recurring impairments in their life as a result of the drug(s)

  • Tolerance

  • Withdrawal

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  • reduction in effect of a drug as result of repeated use, requiring greater quantities to achieve same affect

  • often result of bodies attempt to maintain homeostasis

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  • unpleasant effects of reducing or stopping consumption of a drug that users had consumed habitually

  • these can be learned - when someone stops taking drug, they can still occur in times/places where they would normally take it

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  • Depressant

  • Increases GABA, decreases glutamate

  • at low doses inhibitory control centers in cortex are "depressed" -> creates release of inhibitors, "upper" phase pf drinking

  • at higher doses other regions "depressed" -> loss of motor coordination, impaired judgement, "downer" phase of drinking, alcohol myopia

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Barbiturates and tranquilizers

  • depressants

  • aka sleeping pills and sedatives

  • increase GABA activity

  • at high doses can lead to depression, loss of motor coordination, memory impairments

  • like Valium -> highly prescribed to housewives in 60s

  • Withdrawal symptoms can be insomnia or anxiety

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  • Simulants

  • reduce sleep, fatigue, appetite, depression

  • increase dopamine and norepinephrine

  • injections can lead to massive spikes in blood pressure causing stroke

  • Amphetamine psychosis -> schizophrenia-like hallucinations that occur when brain's dopamine activity is artificially ^ beyond normal level by heavy use

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  • Simulant

  • inhaled via smoking

  • ingredients very accessible

  • more potent than standard amphetamines -> ^ probability of OD and dependence

  • can cause aggression, paranoia, acne, "meth mouth"

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MDMA (ecstasy)

  • stimulant

  • 3,4-methylenediosymethamphetamine

  • alter serotonin levels by ^ release and blocking reuptake

  • impaired immune function, sleep problems, intellectual impairments, sexual dysfunction

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  • Stimulant

  • injected, inhaled, snorted

  • analgesic properties

  • creates excitement/euphoria -> blocks reuptake of dopamine/norepinephrine

  • relatively mild withdrawal symptoms, accompanied by strong cravings

  • in high doses: fever, vomiting, convulsions, hallucinations, paranoid delusions

  • overdose: can go into cardiac arrest

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  • opiate

  • most commonly administered via injection, but can be smoked, ingested, inhaled, etc.

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  • opiate

  • powerful painkiller that gets abused

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  • Hallucinogen/psychedelic

  • usually smoked, can be consumed other ways

  • primary ingredient THC -> stimulates cannabinoid receptors

  • effects: slowed time, enhanced sensations, giggles, ^ appetite

  • high doses: impairments in memory, exaggerated emotions, difficulty focusing, anxiety

  • Long term: more toxic than tobacco smoke, ^ risk of lung/respiratory disease, negative effect on attention/memory

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Myths about cannabis

  • Causes amotivational syndrome -> true that highschool students who use it have lower grades, but often shown that they were low before use

  • "gateway drug" -> twin studies dispel this myth, in many cases its true that it is the 1st "illicit" drug consumed, but just cause one event precedes another =/= cause

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The problem with likert scales

  • assumes people are operating on same psychological scale, difference between values same for all people

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  • should only attribute behaviour things that can be objectively measures (not things like mind/consciousness)

  • pragmatic argument about how science of behaviour should be conducted, not a metaphysical position about the nature of the mind

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phylogenetic behaviour

  • behaviour hardwired into you through evolutionary pressures (like instinctual, innate)

  • Reflexes, fixed action patters, general behaviour traits

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  • ex. of phylogenetic behaviour

  • relationship between special event and simple response to it

  • found in all members of species

  • highly stereotypic

  • human ex : Pupillary, rooting, suckling, salivary, palmar grasp, peristalsis, respiratory, patellar

  • not all useful (ex. allergies, seizures)

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Primary laws of the reflex

  1. Law of the Threshold -> point below which no response is elicited and above always occurs

  2. Law of Intensity- Magnitude -> increases in stimulus intensity also increase intensity of response

  3. Law of Latency -> more intense a stimulus is, the faster the response is elicited

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  • decrease in the intensity or probability of a reflex response resulting from repeated exposure to a stimulus that evoked that response

  • perhaps the simplest form of learning

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Fixed action patterns

  • example of phylogenetic behaviour

  • series of related acts found in all members of a species

  • occurs when releaser stimulus is present

  • AKA modal action patterns, species-specific behaviour

  • ex. gray-legged goose rolling anything vaguely egg-shaped into nest

  • not completely hardwired, degree of variability environment/learning can modify

  • remove releaser stimulus, behaviour continues (ex. squirrel digging nut)

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General behaviour traits

  • ex. of phylogenetic behaviour

  • Any general behavioural tendency strongly influenced by genes

  • ex. introversion, general anxiety, drug abuses, etc. -Evidence: . selective breeding -> can breed animals to be more aggresive . gene knockout . twin studies

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Limits of natural selection

  • takes long time, so not ideal for coping w/ sudden environmental changes

  • adaption that was once useful might become useless, even maladaptive quickly -> humans with fondness for salt/sugar

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What is measured when measuring learning?

  • changing behaviour

  • not the acquisition of smth

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Poggendorff illusion (regression)

  • Illusion increases in effectiveness with age

  • people who have supposedly regressed often do not see the illusion how a child should (children tend to see it correct)

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Types of learning

  • habituation

  • respondent (i.e. classical/pavlovian conditioning)

  • operant conditioning

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are all changes in behaviour learning?

  • no

  • ex. Phineas Gage (guy who's personality changed after pipe went through his frontal lobe), changes due to drug use

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Classical/Respondent/Pavlovian conditioning

  • associating involuntary action with a stimulus that doesn't naturally elicit that response

  • Comes from associating a US with a CS to produce a CR

  • ex. playing a bell tone before presenting someone with a donut -> salivation, over time only bell tone needed for salivation

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Unconditional Stimulus (US)

  • classical/respondent conditioning

  • stimulus that naturally and automatically triggers a response (UR)

  • ex. a donut (US) triggering salivation (UR)

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Unconditional Response (UR)

  • classical/respondent conditioning

  • behaviour elicited by the antecedent stimulus (US) without need of any prior history of learning

  • ex. salivation (UR) after seeing a donut (US)

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Conditional Stimulus (CS)

  • classical/respondent conditioning

  • previously neutral stimulus that acquires possibility to elicit a conditioned response when paired with US

  • CS's function literally "conditional" on relationship with US

  • ex. Bell tone being played before presenting Donut (US)

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Conditional Response (CR)

  • classical/respondent conditioning

  • behaviour elicited by the antecedent stimulus (CS)

  • ex. salivation (CR) upon hearing the bell tone (CS)

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Probe Trial

  • classical/respondent conditioning

  • Presents CS alone (with no US)

  • more exposure = greater conditional responding

  • early exposure = more learning than later (non-linear)

  • conditioning/learning can occur and different rates (ex. taste aversion can happen after only 1 exposure, salivation requires numerous)

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Temporal relationships

  • (classical/respondent conditioning)

  • Delayed conditioning

  • trace conditioning

  • Simultaneous conditioning

  • Backwards conditioning

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delayed conditioning

  • classical/respondent conditioning

  • CS begins and US overlap partially

  • most effective method, when CS-US interval is short (0.4-1 sec)

  • common in real world

  • ex. training to salivate at sound of bell - food delivered while bell still sounding a bit

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trace conditioning

  • classical/respondent conditioning

  • Cs begins and ends before the US

  • longer intervals between CS and US produce weaker responding - but depends on response being learned

  • common in real world

  • ex. food poisoning from restaurant

  • useful in wild to know what is poisonous

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simultaneous conditioning

  • Classical conditioning

  • CS and US begin and end at same time

  • less common in real world

  • less effective than delayed and trace conditioning

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backwards conditioning

  • Classical conditioning

  • CS follows US

  • not effective, but can be demonstrated in a lab

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Respondent extinction

  • presenting the conditional stimulus (CS) in the absence of the unconditional stimulus

  • results in gradual decline of the conditioned response

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spontaneous recovery

  • increase in magnitude of the CS after respondent extinction has occurred & time has passed

  • demonstrates that extinction is not "forgetting" what was learned

  • after enough trials, will stop completely

  • Classical and Operant conditioning

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Treatment of phobias

  • respondent extinction

  • present the stimuli in the absence of any aversive event

  • counter existing conditioning

  • Exposure therapy

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Respondent/stimulus Generalization

  • When an organism shows a conditioned response to values of the CS that were not trained during acquisition -produces a generalization gradient

  • ex. dogs not only salivating to exact tone used for conditioning, but similar tones too - but farther from the original, the lower the response

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respondent/stimulus discrimination

  • when the value of the CS, other than what was originally trained, elicit little to no conditional response

  • ex. therapy for phobia - what if treatment does not generalize to outside of the clinic

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Higher-order conditioning

  • (classical/respondent conditioning)

  • type of conditioning in which a neutral stimulus becomes a conditional stimulus (CS2) because of relationship with already effective CS

  • ex. person afraid of bees (CS) also afraid of flowers/garden (higher order CS)

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Aversion Therapy

  • (Classical/respondent conditioning)

  • stimulus contingently paired with a noxious stimulus

  • Ex. for alcoholism -> given drug disulfiram (antabuse) that blocks enzyme needed to process alcohol = sick, associate alcohol w/ illness

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Operant conditioning

  • study of how consequences effect behaivour

  • ex. giving dog a treat after they do a trick, or scolding

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Distinction between respondent and operant conditioning

  • respondent: behaviour elicited by stimulus, controlling event = stimuli PRECEDING response

  • Operant: behaviour emitted to produce/remove stimulus, controlling event = stimuli FOLLOWING response

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B.F. skinner

  • developed operant conditioning

  • influenced by Edward Thorndike

  • Puzzle box -> cats could only escape by opening latch, get food after

  • Believed that if an act brings a reward, it becomes stamped into mind -> behaviour changes because of consequence

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Operant conditioning chamber

  • Skinner box

  • rats typically push a lever, pigeons peck at a disc or touch screen

  • If they do correct response, get a bit of food

  • highly controlled environment with no confounding variables

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Increase in behaviour due to consequence

  • = "reinforce"

  • ex. giving rat food for pressing lever = ^ probability of lever being pressed

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decrease behaviour due to consequences

  • = "punish"

  • rat gets shocked for lever press = decrease in probability of it getting pressed

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effects of reinforcing consequences

  • ^ frequency

  • increase duration

  • ^ intensity

  • ^ in quickness (decrease in latency)

  • ^ in variability

  • ^ of whatever the reinforcer in contingent on

  • ex. kid studying for a certain period of time to get access to videogames -> reinforcer contingent on continued performance of behaviour for duration

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Two ways of reinforcing

  • add (+) a simulus = positive reinforcement . ex. rat pressing lever for food -> stimulus GIVEN

  • remove (-) a stimulus = negative reinforcement . ex. rat repeatedly shocked and only way to stop is pressing lever -> stimulus TAKEN AWAY

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Does reward = reinforcer?

  • no

  • just because you reward a behaviour doesn't mean you have reinforced it - needs to influence probability of behaviour

  • to truly know if reinforcer, need to test it

  • ex. coffee as a positive reinforcer for playing piano

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two ways of punishing

  • add (+) a stimulus = positive punishment . ex. walk down street & get mugged -> less likely to walk it again

  • remove (-) a stimulus = negative punishment . remove internet for kid misbehaving -> less likely to misbehave

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  • defined by their effect on behaviour -> if it doesn't decrease the behaviour, its not a punishment

  • can be highly effective and work over the long time when used properly

  • but many drawbacks

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drawbacks of punishment

  • doesn't teach new acceptable behaviour

  • usually fosters undesirable emotional response (aggression, fear/anxiety, crying, apathy/depression)

  • can foster subversive practices to escape punishment (lying, cheating, etc.)

  • imitation of the punisher (children - sees parent slap sibling for punishment, might slap classmate for behaviour they don't like)

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Discriminative stimulus

  • stimulus or event that sets the occasion for reinforcement

  • ex. researcher only reinforcing lever pressing of rat when a light is turned on

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