Basic Consciousness Concept
LOQ: What is the place of consciousness in psychology’s history?
At the very beginning of psychology is was “the description and explanation of states of consciousness” (Ladd, 1887)
First half of the twentieth century moved psychologists to observe behaviors rather then studying
1960s psychology didn’t really mean “study of
consciousness” and rather meant “the science of behavior”
Mental concepts emerged
Neuroscientist linked brain activity to sleeping, dreaming, and other mental states
Began studying consciousness changed from drugs, hypnosis, and meditation
Most psychologists define consciousness as “our subjective awareness of ourselves and our environment”.
Awareness of this allows us to piece together information from different sources from reflecting on our past, adapting to our present, and plan for our future
It focuses our attention when we learn a complex concept and/or behavior
Over time, we change from different states of consciousness, such as normal walking awareness and a variety of altered states
Psychology explores the biology of psychologists
Consciousness: our subjective awareness of ourselves and our environment.
Cognitive neuroscience are researching and mapping functions of the conscious cortex
Conscious experience comes from synchronized activity across the brain
Cognitive Neuroscience: the interdisciplinary study of the brain activity linked with cognition (including perception, thinking, memory, and language).
**LOQ:**How does selective attention direct our perceptions?
Selective attention allows our awareness focuses on a aspect of all that we experience
Things that we think of as important is what catches our limited attention
Selective Attention: the focusing of conscious awareness on a particular stimulus.
Selective Attention and Accidents
60% of American drivers read or sent a message or looked at a map on the phone
A state of conscious awareness were we are “blind” to everything except for s small visual stimuli that we are focusing on.
There is a form of inattentional blindness called change blindness
Change deafness can also occur
Inattentional Blindness: failing to see visible objects when our attention is directed elsewhere.
Change Blindness: failing to notice changes in the environment; a form of inattentional blindness.
Dual Processing: The Two-Track Mind
LOQ: What is the dual processing being revealed by today’s cognitive neuroscience?
At any moment we are aware of a little more that what is in our consciousness
Brain waves for actions occur milliseconds before you proceed with the action
Brain waves jump around 0.35 seconds before you are able to consciously recognize it and react
Consciousness sometimes arrives late to decision-making
When the actual decision to move happens when the brain activity crosses a threshold, causing the average “time of awareness of intention to move” (about 0.15 seconds before the action)
Unconscious parallel processing is faster than conscious sequential processing
Dual Processing: the principle that information is often simultaneously processed on separate conscious and unconscious tracks.
Blindsight: a condition in which a person can respond to a visual stimulus without consciously experiencing it.
Parallel Processing: processing many aspects of a problem simultaneously; generally used to process well-learned information or to solve easy problems.
Sequential Processing: processing one aspect of a problem at a time; generally used to process new information or to solve difficult problems
Sleep and Dreams
LOQ: What is sleep?
Sleep: a periodic, natural loss of consciousness—as distinct from unconsciousness resulting from a coma, general anesthesia, or hibernation. (Adapted from Dement, 1999)
Biological Rhythms and Sleep
LOQ: How do our biological rhythms influence our daily functioning?
Our bodies roughly try to match up with the 24-hour day cycle
We have an internal biological clock (called the circadian rhythm)
As morning gets closer, our temperature rises, peaking during the day, and then will drop two times; early afternoon and the evening
Circadian Rhythm: our biological clock; regular bodily rhythms (for example, of temperature and wakefulness) that occur on a 24-hour cycle.
LOQ: What is the biological rhythm of our sleeping and dreaming stages?
About every 90 minuets when we sleep , we cycle through different sleep stages
Alpha waves slow down as you become more relaxed
Non-REM stage 1 sleep (NREM-1) is the first stage of sleep
Non-REM stage 2 sleep (NREM-2) is the second stage of sleep
Begins about 20 minutes later
Periodic sleep spindles- burts of rapid and rhythmic brain wave activity
Now “clearly asleep” to people around you but can stil be woken up easily
Non- REM stage 3 sleep (NREM-3) is the third stage of sleep
REM Sleep: rapid eye movement sleep; a recurring sleep stage during which vivid dreams commonly occur. Also known as paradoxical sleep, because the muscles are relaxed (except for minor twitches) but other body systems are active.
Alpha Waves: the relatively slow brain waves of a relaxed, awake state.
Hallucinations: false sensory experiences, such as seeing something in the absence of an external visual stimulus.
Delta Waves: the large, slow brain waves associated with deep sleep.
After about an hour after falling asleep, you begin to ascend back into NREM-2 (you spend about ½ of the night in this stage) and will experience REM sleep
For roughly 10 minuets, brain waves become very quick and similar to those as NREM-1
During REM sleep your heart rate rises, breathing becomes more rapid and irregular, and your eyes dart around about every 30 seconds
Sometimes called paradoxical sleep
This cycle repeats about every 90 minutes in young adults (shorter for older adults)
What Affects Our Sleep Patterens?
LOQ: How do biology and environment interact in our sleep patterns?
Sleep patterns are genetically influenced as well as culturally influenced
Sleep regulating genes in humans and other animals are genetically influenced
School, work, extracurricular activities are culturally influenced
Bright light changes the circadian clock by activating retinal proteins that are light-sensitive
These control the circadian clock by sending signals to the brains suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN)
Night-shift workers may develop desynchronization
Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN): a pair of cell clusters in the hypothalamus that controls circadian rhythm. In response to light, the SCN causes the pineal gland to adjust melatonin production, thus modifying our feelings of sleepiness.
Why Do We Sleep?
LOQ: What are sleep’s functions
Protects: Our ancestors were asleep in a cave, out of the way of most damage and injury. If they didn’t wander off at night, they were more likely to have offspring and have the offspring survive. A species’ sleep pattern is suited to fit its ecological niche
Helps Us Recuperate: Helps restore the immune system and repair brain tissue, gives neurons a time to repair themselves. In some animals such as bats, they have a high waking metabolism and produce free radicals which are toxic molecules to neurons which sleep gets rid of.
Helps Restore and Rebuild Memories of the Day: Consolidates our memories by replaying recent learning and strengthens neural connections. Recent experiences are stored in the hippocampus and shifts them for permanent storage somewhere else in the cortex.
Feeds Creative Thinking: Can inspire special artistic and scientific achievements. This allows people to solve difficult problems more insightfully after sleeping on it.
Supports Growth: The pituitary gland releases a growth hormone that muscles need for development during slow wave sleep.
Sleep Deprivation and Sleep Disorders
LOQ: How does sleep loss affect us, and what are the major sleep disorders?
Effects of Sleep Loss
With more sleep (at least 9 hours a night), we wake up feeling more refreshed and usually sustain a better mood, and preform more accurately and efficiently.
Sleep loss is a predictor of depression
12-18 years old’s who only slept 5 or less hours had a 71% higher risk of developing depression that kids their age getting 8 hours
Sleep deprived students preform below what they could be
Affects our physical health
Sleep deprivation increase ghrelin (hunger-arousing hormone), and also decreases leptin (hunger suppressing hormone)
Decreases metabolic rate
Increases production of cortisol (stress hormone that stimulates the body to make fat)
Enhances limbic brain responses to the sight of food and decrease are willingness to resist the temptation
Sleeping when having an infection boosts our immune cells
Slows reactions and increases errors on tasks that require visual attention
Major Sleep Disorders
Major sleep disorders
Insomnia: recurring problems in falling or staying asleep.
Narcolepsy: a sleep disorder characterized by uncontrollable sleep attacks. The sufferer may lapse directly into REM sleep, often at inopportune times.
Sleep Apnea: a sleep disorder characterized by temporary cessations of breathing during sleep and repeated momentary awakenings
Night Terrors: a sleep disorder characterized by high arousal and an appearance of being terrified; unlike nightmares, night terrors occur during NREM-3 sleep, within two or three hours of falling asleep, and are seldom remembered.
LOQ: What do we dream, and what functions have theorists proposed for dreams?
REM dreams are more vivid, emotional, and often much weirder than daydreams
Dream: a sequence of images, emotions, and thoughts passing through a sleeping person’s mind.
What We Dream
8 in 10 dreams are marked with at least one negative event or emotion in both men and women
Usually failing at doing something, being attacked, pursed, rejected, or misfortune
After trauma, survivors commonly report nightmares
Musicians report having twice as many of dreams of music
Studies in 4 different countries show that blind people dream using all of their other senses except visual but can sometimes “see” people in their dreams
Why We Dream
To Satisfy our Own Wishes: Sigmund Freud proposed that dreams give a psychic safety valve that expels unacceptable feelings and viewed a dream’s manifest content as sensor, symbolic version of its latent content, the unconscious drives and wishes
Manifest Content: according to Freud, the remembered story line of a dream (as distinct from its latent, or hidden, content).
Latent Content: according to Freud, the underlying meaning of a dream (as distinct from its manifest content).
Drugs and Consciousness
Tolerance and Addiction in Substance Use Disorders
LOQ: What are substance use disorders?
Substances such as psychoactive drugs change perceptions and moods
Overusing prescription drugs above the recommended dosage and not using it in moderation at the correct dose is called substance use disorder.
Psychoactive Drug: a chemical substance that alters perceptions and moods.
Substance Use Disorder: a disorder characterized by continued substance craving and use despite significant life disruption and/or physical risk.
LOQ: What are depressants, and what are their effects?
Depressants are drugs that calm neural activity and slow body functions
Alcohol in any amount is a depressant, not just in large amounts
Depressants: drugs (such as alcohol, barbiturates, and opiates) that reduce neural activity and slow body functions.
Alcohol Use Disorder: (popularly known as alcoholism) alcohol use marked by tolerance, withdrawal, and a drive to continue problematic use.
Slowed Neural Processing
Alcohol slows down the SNA activity
In low does it relaxes the drinker
Large doses causes slow reactions, slurred speech, and worse skill performance
Alcohol can disrupt memory formations
Reduced Self-Awareness and Self-Control
One study showed that people that consumed alcohol where 2x as likely to become distracted during a reading task
Alcohol reduces self-awareness
Expectations influence behavior on substance abuse
Barbituates’ depress the nervous system like alcohol
Also know as trqualizers (ex. Nembutal, Seconal, and Amytal)
Using these with alcohol can create an event for a total depressive effect on bodily functions which can be fatal
Barbituates’s: drugs that depress central nervous system activity, reducing anxiety but impairing memory and judgment.
Opiates and other derivates of opium depress neural function
Opiates include heroin, and medical pain relief narcotics such as codeine, morphin, and methadone (synthetic opiate used for heroin substitute)
With extended use of opiates, the brain will stop developing as many endorphins since they are getting an abundance of the, causing the body to become dependent on them
Opiates: opium and its derivatives, such as morphine and heroin; depress neural activity, temporarily lessening pain and anxiety.
LOQ: What are stimulants, and what are their effects?
Stimulants increase neural activity and speeds up bodily functions
Pupils dilate, heart rate and breathing increase, blood sugar rises, and energy and self confidence arise
Some people use stimulants to feel alert, lose weight, boost mood, or athletic performance
In cigarettes, e-cigarrettes’, and other tobacco products
Highly and quickly addictive
Within 7 seconds of inhaling nicotine, a signal is sent to the CNS and releases a flood of neurotransmitters
Powerful and addictive stimulant derived from the coca plant
Now snorted, injected, or smoked
Can heighten reactions that trigger aggression
Amphetamines stimulate neural activity
Ectasy is also known as MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine) and known as Molly in its powder form
Triggers dopamine release and stored serotonin and blocking its reuptake
This makes the feel-good feeling last longer
Feel the effect about ½ an hour after use
Experience high energy and better mood for 3 to 4 hours after
Suppresses the immune system, impares memory, and slows thought and disrupts sleep
Stimulants: drugs (such as caffeine, nicotine, and the more powerful cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamine, and Ecstasy) that excite neural activity and speed up body functions.
Nicotine: a stimulating and highly addictive psychoactive drug in tobacco.
Cocaine: a powerful and addictive stimulant derived from the coca plant; produces temporarily increased alertness and euphoria.
Methamphetamine: a powerfully addictive drug that stimulates the central nervous system, with accelerated body functions and associated energy and mood changes; over time, appears to reduce baseline dopamine levels.
Amphetamines: drugs that stimulate neural activity, causing accelerated body functions and associated energy and mood changes.
Ecstasy (MDMA): a synthetic stimulant and mild hallucinogen. Produces euphoria and social intimacy, but with short-term health risks and longer-term harm to serotonin-producing neurons and to mood and cognition.
LOQ: What are hallucinogens, and what are their effects?
Halluciens distort perception and evoke sensory images in absence of sensory input
This is why they are called psychedelics (means “mind manifesting”)
LSD, MDMA, and Marijuana are phsycdelics
Hullicates in the same way between different drugs
Starts by seeing geometric shapes like lattices, cobwebs, or spirals
Next phase is seeing more meaningful images such as a tunnel or past emotional experiences
All of these sensations are very similar to near-death experience
Bright lights, old memories, out-of-body sensations
Enhances personal growth and spirituality
Hallucinogens: psychedelic (“mind-manifesting”) drugs, such as LSD, that distort perceptions and evoke sensory images in the absence of sensory input.
Near-Death Experience: An altered state of consciousness reported after a close brush with death (such as cardiac arrest); often similar to drug-induced hallucinations
LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), also known as acid, cuaes emotions that vary from euphori to detachment to panic
LSD: a powerful hallucinogenic drug; also known as acid (lysergic acid diethylamide).
Majiuana leaves contain THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) produces mixed effects
Smoking it causes it to react quicker (takes 7 seconds to get to the brain)
Eating THC containing products (such as edibles) take much longer and at unpredictable rates
Classified as a mild hallucinogen because it amplifies sensitivities to colors, tastes, smells, and sounds
Impairs motor coordination like alcohol
Everyone’s experience with marijuana vary
U.S. National Academics of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded that use of marjiuana
Alleviates chronic pain and chemotherapy related nausea
is not associated with tobacco-related cancers, such as lung cancer,
is predictive of increased risk of traffic accidents, chronic bronchitis, psychosis, social anxiety disorder, and suicidal thoughts
likely contributes to impaired attention, learning, and memory, and possibly to academic underachievement.
THC: the major active ingredient in marijuana; triggers a variety of effects, including mild hallucinations.
Influences on Drug Use
LOQ: Why do some people become regular users of consciousness-altering drugs?
For some adolescents, occasional drug use represent their thrill seeking
Some people are biologically more vulnerable to specific drugs
Psychological and Social- Cultural Influences
One common psychological problem in teens and young adults is the feeling of meaningless and directionless
Common among school dropouts with no jobs or job skills, privilege, and with little hope
Girls with history of depression, eating disorders, or sexual or physical abuse are more likely to develop a substance use disorder
Adolescents may start using drugs to feel and act like people they look up to such as celebrities or to try and fit into the crowd
Rates of drug use are different across cultural and ethnic groups
Peers influence attitudes towards substance abuse
Ways to suggest treatment and drug prevention is to
Edicate young people about the long-term costs of a drug’s temporary pleasures.
Help young people find other ways to boost their self-esteem and discover their purpose in life.
Attempt to modify peer associations or to “inoculate” youth against peer pressures by training them in refusal skills.