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States of Consciousness. (2-4\% of the AP Exam). What is Consciousness?. Consciousness is our awareness of ourselves and our environment . Your conscious includes: 1. Your awareness of external events. 2. Your awareness of internal sensations.

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states of consciousness

States of Consciousness

(2-4% of the AP Exam)

what is consciousness
What is Consciousness?

Consciousness is our awareness of ourselves and our environment.

Your conscious includes:

1. Your awareness of external events.

2. Your awareness of internal sensations.

3. Your awareness of your self as the unique being having these experiences.

4. Your awareness of your thoughts about these experiences.

the stream of consciousness
The Stream of Consciousness

The contents of your consciousness are continually changing.

It moves, flows, fluctuates, wanders…

Recognizing that consciousness is in constant flux, William James (1902) named this flow the “stream of consciousness”.

biological rhythms and sleep
Biological Rhythms and Sleep
  • Circadian rhythms – 24-25 hour “biological clock” found in humans
  • Circadian rhythms are particularly influential in the regulation of sleep.
  • Daily cycles also produce variations in
    • Blood pressure
    • Urine production
    • Hormonal secretion
    • Other various physical functions
light and circadian rhythm
Light and Circadian Rhythm

When exposed to light, receptors in the retina send direct inputs to a small structure in the hypothalamus called the suprachiastmatic nucleus.

The SCN then send signals to the nearby pineal gland, whose secretion of the hormone melatonin plays a key role in the sleep/wake cycle.

the stages of sleep
The Stages of Sleep
  • Not only does sleep occur in a context of daily rhythms, but subtler rhythms are evident within the experience of sleep itself.
  • About every 90 minutes we pass through a cycle of five distinct stages of sleep.
    • Stage One
    • Stage Two
    • Stage Three
    • Stage Four
    • REM sleep
brain waves and sleep stages
Brain Waves and Sleep Stages

EEG – machine that records cortical activity in the brain in terms of line tracings called brain waves.

There are four distinct “patterns” of brain waves:

1. beta waves: normal, waking thought

2. alpha waves: deep relaxation, meditation

3. theta waves: light sleep

4. delta waves: deep sleep

stage one and stage two
Stage One and Stage Two

Stage one and two are brief transitional stages of light sleep that lasts only 10-25 minutes each.

During Stage one and two, breathing and heart rate slow as muscle tension and body temperature decline.

The alpha waves of the relaxed state transition to the slower theta waves.

During Stage two, brief bursts of higher-frequency brain waves, called sleep spindles, appear against a backdrop of mixed EEG activity.

stage three and stage four
Stage Three and Stage Four

Gradually brain waves become higher in amplitude and slower in frequency (delta waves) as the body moves into the deep sleep of stages three and four.

Deep sleep is typically reached in about a half an hour and remains there for another half an hour.

Then the cycle reverses itself and the sleep moves back upward into lighter stages of sleep.

rem sleep
REM Sleep

When sleepers reach what should be stage one again, they usually go into the fifth stage, called REM sleep.

REM is an abbreviation for rapid-eye movement, which is a distinct characteristic of the stage itself.

During REM bodily movements are minimal and the sleeper is virtually paralyzed.

Although REM is a relatively deep stage of sleep, EEG activity is dominated by beta waves, those observed when people are awake and alert.

Thus REM sleep is sometimes referred to as paradoxical sleep: your body is internally aroused but externally calm.

Although some dreaming does occur in non-REM sleep (stages 1-4), dreaming is most frequent, vivid and memorable during REM sleep.

age trends in sleep
Age Trends in Sleep

Age alters the sleep cycle.

Newborns will sleep roughly 16 hours a day.

REM sleep accounts for about 50% of infants total sleep but only 20% in adults.

As we age, time spent in deep sleep lessens as the average amount of total sleep also declines.

It seems that the older we get, the less sleep we actually need.

Studies have shown that older adults tolerate sleep deprivation with less impairment that younger adults.

theories of sleep
Theories of Sleep

Why Do We Sleep?

theories of sleep1
Theories of Sleep

Sleep protects – evolutionary explanation; dangers of the dark

Sleep restores and repairs (RestorativeTheory) - resting neurons need time to repair themselves

Sleep helps us remember – reorganizes and rebuilds fading memories from the day

Sleep helps our bodies grow – during sleep the pituitary gland releases growth hormones


Insomnia – problems falling or staying asleep

Sometimes caused by intense anxiety and tension that prevents relaxation thus keeping people awake.

Frequently a side effect of emotional problems such as depression or of significant stress.

insomnia treatment
Insomnia Treatment

Most people who suffer from insomnia pursue no professional treatment.

Those who do are usually prescribed newer forms of sleeping pills called nonbenzodiazepines.

Nonbenzodiazepines are sedatives designed primarily to relieve anxiety and help people fall asleep more quickly.

Brand names like Ambien and Lunesta are popular and often successful in treating patients with insomnia.

sleep apnea
Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea involves frequent, reflexive gasping for air that awakens a person and disrupts sleep.

Usually treated via lifestyle modifications (weight loss, reduced alcohol use), drug therapy or special masks that improve airflow to the lungs while asleep.


Sufferers of narcolepsy drop suddenly and involuntarily into sleep.

Usually prescribed some form of stimulant or amphetamine to speed up the body and combat the likelihood of sudden collapse into sleep.

other common sleep disorders
Other Common Sleep Disorders

Night terrors: abrupt awakenings from NREM sleep (stage four) accompanied by intense autonomic arousal and feelings of panic

Somnambulism: sleep walking


In 1899, Sigmund Freud publishes “The Interpretation of Dreams”.

Freud called the actual storyline of a dream the “manifest content”.

The underlying meaning of those dreams Freud referred to as its “latent content”.

theories of dreaming
Theories of Dreaming
  • Freud’s wish-fulfillment– according to Freud dreams were “safety valves” that discharges otherwise unacceptable feelings
    • Dreams release unconscious drives and reduce anxiety
    • “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”
theories of dreaming1
Theories of Dreaming

Information-processing – dreams help us sort out the day’s events and consolidate our memories

theories of dreaming2
Theories of Dreaming
  • Physiological function – regular brain stimulation from REM sleep may help develop and preserve neural pathways
    • “Use it or lose it” theory
theories of dreaming3
Theories of Dreaming
  • Activation-synthesis – REM sleep triggers neural activities that evokes random visual memories which our sleeping brain weaves into stories
    • Our brain’s attempt to make sense of “neural static”
theories of dreaming4
Theories of Dreaming
  • Cognitive theory – dream content reflects cognitive development
    • Dreams are essential in brain maturation
    • Dreams draw on our concepts and knowledge
  • Hypnosis – state of heightened suggestibility to which people are subject in varying degrees
  • Highly susceptible people have an exceptional ability to focus their attention totally on one task.
    • We are all to some degree susceptible to hypnosis.
  • Degree is measure by the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale

Credit for the popularity of hypnosis goes to Franz Anton Mesmer, a physician, who mistakenly thought he discovered “animal magnetism.”

Some of his patients experienced a trancelike state and felt better upon waking up.

Mesmer was simply using the power of suggestion to “treat” his patients.

evaluating hypnosis
Evaluating Hypnosis
  • Some research suggest hypnosis IS in fact an altered state of consciousness.
    • Posthypnotic suggestions carried out when no one was watching.
    • Brain scans show activity in particular parts of brain responsible for stimuli recognition when stimuli is suggested but not presented.
    • Hypnosis has helped alleviate chronic pain in some subjects.
evaluating hypnosis1
Evaluating Hypnosis

Ernest Hilgard – famous researcher in the field of hypnotics

Proposed the divided consciousness theory – idea that hypnosis causes a separate, simultaneous “split” in awareness

Hilgard called this “split” in awareness dissociation.

One stream is in communication with the hypnotist and the external world while the other stream is a difficult-to-detect “hidden observer”.

evaluating hypnosis2
Evaluating Hypnosis
  • Some research suggests hypnosis is NOT an altered state of consciousness.
  • Social influence theory – states that powerful social influences can produce a state of hypnosis
    • Requests of the authoritative figure (hypnotist) may cause people to perform suggested acts.
psychoactive drugs
Psychoactive Drugs

Psychoactive drug – chemical substance that alters perceptions, mood or behavior.

These substances can induce an altered state of consciousness.

Include everything from caffeine to crack cocaine and LSD.

effects of drug use
Effects of Drug Use
  • Physiological dependence – physical need for a drug
  • Psychological dependence – psychological need for a drug
  • Addiction – compulsive drug craving and use
    • To be classified as addiction drug use must affect day-to-day living.
effects of drug use1
Effects of Drug Use

Withdrawal- discomfort and distress that follows when a dependent person discontinues the use of drug.

Tolerance – reduced responsiveness to a drug, promoting user to increase dosage to achieve desired effect.

5 classes of drugs
5 Classes of Drugs
  • Depressants: sleep-inducing drugs that tend to decrease central nervous system activation
    • Alcohol, barbiturates and benzodiazepines
  • Stimulants: drugs that tend to increase levels of arousal and activity
    • Caffeine, nicotine, amphetamines, cocaine
  • Opiates (narcotics): suppresses pain while producing periods of euphoria
    • Morphine and heroin; derived from the opium plant
  • Hallucinogens: cause distortions in sensory and perceptual experience
    • LSD (acid), PCP (Angel dust), MDMA (ecstasy, molly)
  • Marijuana
drug classes brochure
Drug Classes Brochure

Either alone or in pairs, you are to complete a brochure discussing the 5 classes of drugs.

Please also elaborate on specific types of drugs that comprise each class and other relevant information you acquire from your text.

Make the brochure informative and interesting.

Avoid including insignificant details and put brochure IN YOUR OWN WORDS!

near death experiences
Near-Death Experiences

What Happens to Us When We Die?

near death experiences1
Near Death Experiences

What happens after we die?

Monist – mind and body inseparable; death is final or belief in bodily resurrection (reincarnation)

Dualist – mind and body are two distinct entities that interact; death is mind’s liberation from body (Socrates, Plato, Descartes)