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PSY 2012 General Psychology Chapter 3: States Consciousness. Samuel R. Mathews, Ph.D. Associate Professor The Department of Psychology The University of West Florida. States of Consciousness. Think of your walk to class. What do you see?

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psy 2012 general psychology chapter 3 states consciousness

PSY 2012 General PsychologyChapter 3: States Consciousness

Samuel R. Mathews, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

The Department of Psychology

The University of West Florida

states of consciousness
States of Consciousness
  • Think of your walk to class. What do you see?
  • Think of your last time to eat in a restaurant off campus.
    • What did you have to eat?
    • What did the main course taste like?
states of consciousness3
States of Consciousness
  • What is consciousness?
  • Where is consciousness located?
  • What does it mean to alter our state of consciousness?
  • What does it mean to lose consciousness?
what is consciousness
What is consciousness?
  • Zimbardo et al. (2006):
    • “The process by which the brain creates a model of internal and external experience.” pg. 90
what is consciousness5
What is consciousness?
  • Vaitl, et al. (2005): Dimensions of consciousness:
    • Activation:
      • highly aroused to highly relaxed state of the organism
    • Awareness span:
      • wide-ranging focus to narrowly focused attention
what is consciousness6
What is consciousness?
  • Self awareness
      • Absorption of sense of self in the present to forgetting oneself
  • Sensory dynamics
    • Intense sensory experience to unaltered sensory experience
factors impacting states of consciousness vaitl et al 2005
Factors Impacting States of ConsciousnessVaitl, et al. (2005)
  • Intact brain tissue
    • Changes can come from injury, drugs, etc.
  • Balanced metabolic system
    • Brain chemistry, nutrients, etc.
  • Moderate level of arousal
    • Balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic systems
factors impacting states of consciousness vaitl et al 20058
Factors Impacting States of Consciousness Vaitl, et al. (2005)
  • Balance between excitatory and inhibitory networks
    • Neurotransmitters and neuroinhibitors functioning normally (see chapter 2; can be impacted by drugs or disease)
  • Midrange environmental conditions
    • Intensity, frequency, & duration are within the working and adaptive range of the sense organs
  • Alteration of any one or combination of these conditions can lead to an altered state of consciousness
the conscious preconscious and unconscious mind
The Conscious, Preconscious and Unconscious Mind
  • Conscious mind
    • Contains the contents of our immediate experiences (Vaitl’s awareness span)
    • Information in the conscious mind can be purposefully manipulated
    • Distractible yet can be controlled
the conscious preconscious and unconscious mind10
The Conscious, Preconscious and Unconscious Mind
  • Preconscious mind
    • Contains memory traces that can be recalled with relative ease
    • Most likely associated with information that can be retrieved from our “long term” memory (memories that are retained over time)
the conscious preconscious and unconscious mind11
The Conscious, Preconscious and Unconscious Mind
  • Unconscious mind:
    • Multiple interpretations
      • Freud—locus of deep seated and largely inaccessible drives and desires; only accessible through psychotherapy
      • Neuroscience—those processes operating below the level of consciousness (see example of priming, pg. 96 of Zimbardo et al., 2006)
states of consciousness12
States of Consciousness
  • Daydreaming—likely a sense of drift in the awareness span
    • Unintentional thoughts; not goal directed
    • Decreased vigilance to immediate surroundings
states of consciousness13
States of Consciousness
  • Sleep—likely a change in activation, sensory dynamics
    • Sleep Cycle (REM, NonREM)
      • Circadian Rhythms—normal sleep-wake cycle based on an approximately 24hour cycle
      • Likely controlled by a function of the hypothalamus
      • Sensitive to dark-light cycles
    • Sleep Deprivation
      • Less than 7 to 9 hours of sleep can create dysfunctional performance
      • Lowered cognitive performance
      • Drowsiness
      • Sleep deprivation and moderate alcohol impairment similar
states of consciousness14
States of Consciousness
  • Sleep—Dreaming
    • Sense of virtual reality
    • Typically visual sensations
    • Some covert speech
    • Increased motor activity
    • Sense of social interaction
    • Typically contains a narrative structure
      • (Vaitl, et al., 2005)
states of consciousness15
States of Consciousness
  • Sleep—Dreaming
    • Contents of our dreams vary by culture and individual experiences (e.g. gender)
    • Dreams during REM tend to be remembered better than dreams during non-REM sleep
states of consciousness16
States of Consciousness
  • Hypnosis—likely a change in activation, awareness span, self awareness, and sensory dynamics
    • Individuals who are highly vulnerable to suggestion are most easily hypnotized
    • Hypnosis linked to increased awareness, lower activation, suggestibility
    • Hypnosis like states include concentration in Lamaze method
states of consciousness17
States of Consciousness
  • Meditation—likely a change in activation, awareness span, self awareness, and sensory dynamics
    • Frequently associated with frontal lobe changes
    • Increases sense of control over consciousness
      • Activation: typically relaxed
      • Awareness span: can range from wide to narrow
      • Self awareness: can range from absorption to dissociation
      • Sensory dynamics: typically enhanced sensory experience
states of consciousness18
States of Consciousness
  • Psychoactive Drug States—likely a change in activation, awareness span, self awareness, and sensory dynamics
    • Balanced metabolic system: can bring about changes in metabolic rates
    • Moderate level of arousal: depressants decrease arousal; stimulants increase arousal
    • Balance between excitatory (neurotransmitters) and inhibitory (neuroinhibitors) networks: depressants reduce transmitters stimulants increase transmitters and decrease inhibitors