Descartes • Believed that the Mind and the Brain were two separate things • The mind is not made of matter, it is akin to the soul or the spirit • This position became known as Dualism • According to Descartes our ability to think proved our existence – Cogito Ergo Sum – ‘I think therefore I am’ • Likewise the ability to conceive of god must itself constitute the existence of God
Problems with Cartesian Dualism • Brain damage leads to a change in phenomenology – conscious experience • Drugs effect conscious experience • Exactly how the mind (non material) interacts with the brain (material) cannot be demonstrated – magic is not a scientific answer • What is the mind made of? • If we have a Mind why do we need a brain? • Studies show that neural activity precedes conscious awareness of such activity – your brain ‘thinks’ then you become aware of it!
William James • Consciousness can be likened to a stream • Continuous, Flowing, changing, with many levels • Essays in Radical Empiricism (1912) he set out the metaphysical view most commonly known as “neutral monism,” according to which there is one fundamental “stuff” that is neither material nor mental. • Reality or Pure experience, as he called it comes about when two bodies or minds interact, and reality is only accessible in the relations into which they enter
Put the folowing states of consciousness in order from most aware to least aware: • Hypnotised • Anaesthetised • Complete lack of awareness • Total awareness • Daydreaming • Focused attention • Asleep • Unconscious (coma) • Meditative state • Normal wakefulness
Total awareness • Focused attention • Normal Wakefulness • Daydreaming • Meditative State • Hypnotised • Asleep • Anaesthetised • Unconscious (coma) • Complete lack of awareness
States of Consciousness • Many things bombard our brain with information but it is our state of consciousness or level of awareness that filters this information and what we pay attention to. • Consciousness is NOT an all or nothing thing. Consider daydreaming or falling asleep. • The are TWO types of consciousness: Normal Waking Consciousness and Altered States of Consciousness.
Normal Waking Consciousness • The states of consciousness associated with being awake and aware of our thoughts, memories, feelings and the sensations we are experiencing from the outside world. • Normal waking consciousness includes all states of consciousness in the upper half of the continuum that involve heightened awareness.
Characteristics of NWC • Attention • Selective attention • Divided Attention • Content Limitations • What you think about is normal, logical and ordered • Controlled Processes (tasks) • Require selective attention • Automatic processes (tasks) • Can be completed with divided Attention
The Cocktail Party Phenonemenon • The ability to divide your attention across a range of stimuli. • Specifically if you are in a conversation with a group of people and someone in another conversation mentions your name, you will shift your attention to the alternate conversation. • Imagine being at a party and listening to two conversations at once.
Characteristics of Consciousness • The following characteristics of consciousness vary considerably depending on the state of consciousness. • Content Limitation • Controlled and Automatic Processes • Perceptual and Cognitive Distortions • Emotional Awareness • Self Control • Time Orientation
Characteristics of Consciousness Activity- Complete the mix and match activity outlining the characteristics of consciousness
Characteristic of an ASC • Distortions of Perception & Cognition • Vivid or dulled, drugs can cause hallucination • Cant think straight, hard to make decisions • Disturbed sense of time • Teleportation home from that party • Changes in emotional awareness - more emotional…. I love you guys…slur • Changes in self control • Hypnosis more suggestible, • control pain response, • or maybe do something really stupid
Examples of ASC’s • Sleep/Dreams • Daydreaming • Meditative state • Alcohol induced state • Other psychoactive drugs
Daydreaming • Shift in attention from external to internal stimuli (thoughts feelings and emotions) • More likely to occur when still • More likely when alone • More likely when tired • Possibly allow us to fulfil fantasies (freud) • Assist with problem solving – try out alternatives
Meditative states • studies show decreased blood flow to the parietal lobes which control our sense of space • Often attention selectively focused on one thing • Brain wave patterns often resemble early stages of sleep • Can help relieve pain • Stress management • Benefits that rest alone can not give
Alcohol induced states • Alcohol is a psychoactive drug – change consciousness perception and mood • Alcohol is a depressant – blocks or retards neural transmission • Excessive acute use can cause death • Drunk people show all elements of ASC
How can you study consciousness? • Heart rate • Body temp • GSR - sweating