Presentation on theme: "COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY David Pearson Room T10, William Guild Building Main Reference Chapters 7, 8 and 9 in Martin, Carlson & Buskist."— Presentation transcript:
COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY David Pearson Room T10, William Guild Building firstname.lastname@example.org Main Reference Chapters 7, 8 and 9 in Martin, Carlson & Buskist (2010).
Course Overview Lectures 1 to 6 – Consciousness Lectures 7 to 12- Learning and Memory
Lecture 1: Introduction to Consciousness Studies “Consciousness poses the most baffling problems in the science of the mind. There is nothing that we know more intimately than conscious experience, but there is nothing that is harder to explain.” David Chalmers, 1995
Characteristics of Consciousness Subjective and Private Dynamic Self-reflective and central to sense of self.
Consciousness is intimately connected with the process of selective attention “…the mind is at every stage a theatre of simultaneous possibilities. Consciousness consists in…the selection of some, and the suppression of the rest by the…agency of Attention.” William James, 1879.
Levels of Consciousness Conscious Normal waking state. Unconscious Effects of being anaesthetized. Being in a coma.
Altered States of Consciousness Active/dream sleep (Rapid-Eye-Movement Sleep) Deep/Non-REM sleep Hypnosis Meditation Effects of consciousness-altering drugs
Philosophical Approaches to Consciousness 1.Consciousness is not a natural phenomenon, and therefore cannot be understood by science. 2.Consciousness is a natural phenomenon, but is beyond the reach of human comprehension. 3.Consciousness is produced by the activity of the brain and therefore can be examined and potentially explained by science.
Measuring States of Consciousness Self-Report Measures Interviews (e.g., Meta-Emotion Interview)
Meta-Emotion Interview (Gottman et al., 1996) This semi-structured interview encourages participants to discuss and reflect on their emotional state; e.g., What’s it like for you to be angry? ….Sad? What do you look like when you’re angry? ….Sad? What do you feel in your body when you’re angry? ….Sad?
Measuring States of Consciousness Self-Report Measures Interviews (e.g., Meta-Emotion Interview) Questionnaires (e.g., Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire)
Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire (Marks, 1973) Visualise a rising sun. The sun is rising above the horizon into a hazy sky. Is your image; 1.Perfectly clear and vivid as normal vision. 2.Moderately clear and vivid. 3.Not clear or vivid but recognisable. 4.Vague and dim. 5.No image present at all.
Measuring States of Consciousness Self-Report Measures Interviews (e.g., MEI) Questionnaires (e.g., VVIQ) Verbal protocols (verbalising thoughts out loud); e.g., Noyes & Garland, 2003.
Measuring States of Consciousness Self-Report Measures Interviews (e.g., MEI) Questionnaires (e.g., VVIQ) Verbal protocols (verbalising thoughts out loud); e.g., Noyes & Garland, 2003. These offer the most direct insight into a person’s subjective experiences, but they are difficult to verify objectively.
Physiological Measures Establish the correspondence between bodily states and mental processes; e.g., Electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings of brain activity
Physiological Measures Establish the correspondence between bodily states and mental processes; e.g., Electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings of brain activity Brain imaging techniques (functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), positron emission tomography (PET) etc.) Entirely objective; cannot tell us what someone is experiencing subjectively.
Behavioural Measures Experimental measures of behaviour that can give insights into the nature and function of consciousness, e.g., the Rouge Test. Also objective in nature, but again they do not tell us directly about the subjective experience associated with consciousness.
Gordon Gallup (1970) exposed 4 chimps to a mirror. By day 3 they were using it to inspect their bodies and were pulling faces into it. Red spot was then placed on their face while they were anesthetized. When they saw their reflection in the mirror they touched the red spot almost 30 times in 30 minutes. Behavioural evidence for self-awareness.
Lewis & Brooks-Gunn (1978, 1979) examined mirror behaviour in 9-24 month old infants. Observed ‘nose-directed behaviour’ in front of mirror before and after red spot placed on nose. Ability to direct behaviour to nose based on reflection never observed prior to 15 months. Is this the age that ‘self-awareness’ develops in infancy?
Hard and Easy Problems in Consciousness Research Those investigating consciousness face easy problems and a hard problem (Chalmers, 1996). Many argue that the mind consists of separate but interacting information-processing ‘modules’. The ‘easy’ problem is how these modular systems get access to information generated by other modular systems. This is known as access consciousness.
The ‘hard’ problem is explaining how and why these neural and cognitive processes cause conscious experience. There seems nothing about neural and cognitive processes that necessitates the conscious experience that accompany them. There is an explanatory gap between understanding the brain and understanding conscious experience. This is known as phenomenal consciousness.
Summary Consciousness refers to our moment-to-moment awareness of ourselves and the environment. Understanding consciousness is one of the greatest challenges facing modern science. The problem of how information is exchanged between cognitive systems is known as access consciousness. The problem of how and why consciousness arises is known as phenomenal consciousness.