consciousness n.
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  1. Consciousness

  2. Consciousness, intelligence, and emotion are psychological constructs - a concept used to talk about something we cannot see, touch, or measure directly. • There are generally three types of awareness:

  3. 1. Consciousness as Sensory Awareness – when you are aware of things around you. • 2. Consciousness as Direct Inner Awareness – you can be conscious of an experience without actually experiencing it.

  4. Consciousness as Sense of Self – We are aware of ourselves and our existence. • There are three levels of consciousness. Awareness is more limited at these levels.

  5. Preconscious Level – Information or ideas can be brought to consciousness by simply recalling them. • Unconscious Level – sometimes called the subconscious. Information is hidden under most circumstances.

  6. Nonconscious Level – Many biological functions exist on this level. • There are also several altered states of consciousness in which a person’s sense of self or sense of the world changes.

  7. You spend about 1/3 of your life asleep. • Our circadian rhythm, or biological clock, governs how we function. These rhythms in humans include a sequence of bodily changes such as those in temperature, blood pressure, sleepiness/wakefulness that occur every 24 hours.

  8. Researchers have discovered that we sleep in stages which are defined in terms of brain wave patterns . • Brain waves are cyclical and they vary whether we are awake, relaxed, or sleeping. • When we are awake and alert, the brain emits beta waves, which are short and quick.

  9. As we begin to relax and become drowsy, the waves move from beta to alpha waves, which are slower. • During this state, we may feel like we are falling or see vivid colors. Followed by five distinct stages of sleep:

  10. Stage 1 – the lightest stage of sleep. Slower pattern of brain waves, theta waves are produced. If not awakened, lasts no more than 30 to 40 minutes. • Stage 2 – deeper sleep than stage 1. • Stage 3 – sleep is deep and the brain produces delta waves (slowest).

  11. Stage 4 – state of deepest sleep. It is the one during which a person would have the most difficulty waking from. • REM Sleep – Rapid eye-movement. After perhaps an hour of stage 4 sleep, we begin a relatively quick journey back to stage 3, then 2 and 1.

  12. First four stages are NREM sleep because eyes do not move as much during them. • We go through these stages about five times each night – each is one cycle – and last cycle is longest REM (maybe 30 minutes or longer). • Going without sleep causes irritability, inability to focus eyes, speech difficulties, and memory lapses.

  13. REM sleep allows us to learn more quickly, remember what we learn, exercise brain cells in adults, and help brain development in infants. • It is during REM sleep that we have the most vivid dreams. We dream every time we are in REM sleep.

  14. People dream in real time. We may not be able to recall every detail from dream due to possible inability to hold on to information when moving from one state of consciousness to another. • Freudian View - Freud believed that dreams reflect a person’s unconscious wishes and urges, especially those that are painful or unacceptable.

  15. Biopsychological Approach - Some psychologists believe that during sleep, neurons fire in a part of the brain that controls movement and vision. Brain tries to make sense of them, so it weaves a story. • There are various types of sleep problems:

  16. Insomnia – Occasional insomnia is fairly common and not a problem unless it occurs for long periods of time. • Nightmares and Night Terrors – Upsetting events, anxiety, and depression can cause nightmares. Night terrors are more severe - hearts race, and people may gasp for air.

  17. Sleepwalking – affects many children, possibly due to immature nervous systems. • Sleep Apnea – a breathing interruption that occurs during sleep. People with this may not automatically begin breathing again until they suddenly sit up and gasp for air, then fall back asleep again.

  18. Narcolepsy – a rare sleep problem in which people suddenly fall asleep no matter what time it is or where they are. They fall into REM sleep.