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States of Consciousness

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Presentation on theme: "States of Consciousness"— Presentation transcript:

1 States of Consciousness

2 Consciousness The process by which the brain creates a model of internal and external experience The state of being conscious; awareness of one's own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc. A great mystery to many….

3 Why a mystery? Subjective
Psychologists felt it needed to be studied objectively. (How do you prove you have a conscious?) Cognitive neuroscience: many interdisciplinary fields who are interested in the connection between mental process and the brain.

4 Tools for studying Consciousness
Mental rotation: Experiment in which roger Shepard and Jacqueline Metzler wanted to see if people “turn things over in their minds” rotation

5 Tools to Study Consciousness
Zooming with the mind: Stephen Kosslyn found that we use our conscious mind to zoom in on details of our mental images. The smaller the details the longer it took the person to respond. He concluded they needed extra time to make a closer examination of their images.

6 Conscious Mind It restricts our attention. It keeps our brain from being overwhelmed It provides “meeting place” where sensation can combine with memory, emotions and motivations. (reading and words on a page) Allows us to create a mental model of the world that we can manipulate.

7 Non-conscious Mind Preconscious: Information that can be recalled with ease when we call attention to it. Otherwise it just “sits” in our mind. Example “What did you do this weekend?” or “What song were you listening to earlier?”

8 Unconscious: cognition occurring without awareness that can consists of many levels.
Can range from things that run on auto pilot like driving home from school to other things that influence our behavior.

9 Freud Psychoanalytical theory said that we repress all of these unacceptable desires and thoughts in our unconsciousness. If allowed to breakthrough it would cause much anxiety. New research says that our conscious mind works with our nonconcious mind rather than against it as Freud suggested.


11 Cycles in everyday Life
Sleep cycles and biological clocks. Daydreaming, Sleep and Dreaming all occur because of these cycles.

12 Daydreaming Attention turns toward memories, expectations and desires.
Can be healthy because it allows us to plan, and solve problems. Can also be unhealthy when we focus only on what were not supposed to think about….the white bear example.

13 Sleep Circadian rhythm: biological clock that sets functions such as metabolism, heart rate, body temp and hormonal activity. Located or operates from the hypothalamus If circadian rhythm is thrown off, it can affect how you feel and behave.

14 Phases of Sleep REM sleep: Occurs approx. every 90 min. marked by bursts of eye movements. Often associated with dreaming. This is where sleep paralysis occurs. NREM sleep: the interim periods marked by no rapid eye movement and when the deepest sleep occurs.

15 Sleep Cycle Studied with an EEG
Stage 1: similar to being awake with both theta (slow) and beta (fast) waves. Stage 2: Shows short bursts of fasts electrical activity.

16 Stages 3 & 4: Deepest sleep, heart rate and breathing slow down as well as brain waves.
Delta waves appear. Deepest point about 30 min after beginning sleep cycle. Stage 4 ends when electrical activity increases. Sleeper starts back into sleep cycle starting with stage 3, then 2 etc.



19 Once stage 1 is reached, sleeper enters REM for the first time but only for a few minutes.
Average nights sleep = 4-6 through sleep cycle Each time you go through REM, it becomes longer while stages 3 & 4 become shorter. Each cycle is about 90 minutes long.

20 Functions of Sleep Aids in mental functioning, memory and problem solving. Restores energy and repairs cells Sleep is still a mystery to us but we do know that we need it to survive.

21 How much do we need? Genetics plays a role.
Linked to our personal characteristics and habits. Exercise also influences stage 4 sleep. Sleep duration and sleep cycles may change throughout life span. Less REM time as we age. : (

22 Sleep Debt Average adult settles into a pattern of about 8 ½ hours.
Americans are sleep deprived and most don’t realize it. Circadian clock makes us seem alert when in fact we are sleep deprived. However, you are never as alert as you could be if you had a good nights sleep.

23 Sleep deprivation can greatly effect cognitive and motor functions.
Study done on group of volunteers in which half were given enough alcohol to make them legally drunk. The other half were not allowed to sleep for 24 hours. Conclusion: Both performed similar on tests of thinking and coordination.


25 Dreams Dreams occur every night most often during the REM stage. We know there are parts of the brain that are associated with dreaming especially parts of the brain stem. But why do we dream?

26 Meaningful Events… Sigmund Freud developed the most comprehensive theory of dreams ever developed But no real scientific evidence to back it up. Dreams represent “the royal road to the unconscious” and it contains clues to our hidden mental life. The Interpretation of Dreams (1900)

27 Freud’s view of Dreams Dreams serve 2 main functions.
To guard sleep which means our dreams disguise disruptive thoughts with symbols. Dreams allow us to relieve tensions created during the day. Sources of wish fulfillment allowing the dreamer to work through the unconscious desires.

28 Manifest Content: This is the dream’s story line.
Latent Content: the symbolic meaning of the dream. Therapists would look for clues in the manifest content of the dream that would relate to the latent content. Research states that manifest content is connected to our waking life. By interpreting your symbols, the latent content, you can make connections to your everyday life. BUT no scientific proof for latent content.

29 Culture, Gender and Age Freud's vies have also been challenged that he was not always careful in his research. (confirmation bias) Example: Freud said boys dream of conflict with their fathers but had no evidence to prove. Content of dreams varies with age, gender and culture. Dreams reflect life events that important to the dreamer. (Rosalind Cartwright, 1977)

30 Dreams and recent experience: dream content connects with recent experience.
Dreams and cognition: Dreams may help us remember. It weaves our new experiences with old ones in order to help us remember.

31 Random Activity Activation synthesis theory: dreams are a result of the sleeping brain trying to make sense of the spontaneous bursts of activity. (biopsychological) Energy sweeps over cerebral cortex, then the sleeper experiences impressions of sensation, memories, emotion, motivation etc. None of it is really connected but the brain tries to make sense of it by creating a story. Proponents of this theory, however, believe it to have some psychological connection.

32 Creativity

33 Sleep Disorders What do all 3 of the following have in common?
Three mile Island Exxon Valdez Chernobyl

34 Sleep Disorders

35 Insomnia Most common sleep disorder Chronic inability to fall asleep
Caused by a variety of psychological, environmental and biological factors. Medications may help but risk disrupting the sleep cycle by cutting short the REM stage.

36 Sleep Apnea Sleep disorder in which person stops breathing many times while asleep. Major symptoms include snoring and daytime sleepiness. A feeling of never having a restful night’s sleep can also be a symptom. May be a cause of SIDS in young infants.

37 Night Terrors and Sleep walking(Somnamublism)
Both occur in stage 4 of sleep cycle. Both occur in young children and most outgrow as adults. Underdeveloped nervous system may be cause. Fatigue and anxiety may also play a role. Both are usually forgotten by sleeper.

38 Narcolepsy Rare sleep disorder in which person falls asleep suddenly and goes right into REM stage. Accompanied by Cataplexy (sudden loss of muscle control) Excitement seems to cause a person to have a narcoleptic episode. Has a biological basis. living with narcolepsy

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