Psychology 001Introduction to PsychologyChristopher Gade, PhDOffice: 621 HeafeyOffice hours: F 3-6 and by apt. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Class WF 7:00-8:30 Heafey 650
On the Agenda • Today, we’re going to discuss other forms of altered consciousness outside of the world of sleep. These forms of consciousness are… • Hypnotic induced states of mind • Self induced states of mind • We’re also going to discuss drugs and drug induced states. • Drug induced states
Hypnotism • Hypnosis: a condition of increased suggestibility that occurs in the context of a special hypnotist-subject relationship. • Hypnotized people are in a state of great suggestibility. • Hypnotized individuals give off the perception of being in a “sleep-like state”. • Eyes often closed or only open a little • Slow, lethargic behavior • Brain waves of hypnotized individuals are reflective of the brain waves of people in a normal state of consciousness (less a few exceptions).
Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815) • First person to practice hypnotism. • In his work as a philosopher and physician, he found that, when “mesmerized”, his patients were extremely open to suggestion and could reduce their sense of pain. • Originally “mesmerized” people through the presentation of a magnet that was waved back and forth in front of his patients. • Mesmer later found that this same effect could be obtained through the waving of his hand in a similar motion, which led him to conclude that he was “magnetic”. • Note: this is where we get the term “animal magnetism”.
Mesmer (cont.) • Mesmer believed that this change in consciousness was caused by unblocking the flow of magnetic fluids. • Believed that only he, and other special individuals were capable of “mesmerizing” (hypnotizing) individuals. • Mesmer later went on to establish his own “Magnetic Institute”. • He was eventually denounced as a fraud by the French medical establishment.
What it takes to be hypnotized • You need to believe that you can be hypnotized • You need to be in a relaxed state, and in a situation where there are no, or limited, distractions • While the hypnotist is hypnotizing you, you need to believe that you are being hypnotized • You’re more likely to be hypnotized, and the effect will be much stronger if you are a suggestible individual.
What can hypnotism do? • Reduce emotional reactions to situations, this will result in a reduction in… • Sense of pain • Tension • Lack of concentration • Small changes in stress related behaviors • Create posthypnotic suggestions • A suggestion to do or experience something particular after coming out of hypnosis. • Note: Questions remain about how long the effects of these posthypnotic suggestions last • Create hallucinations (while hypnotized)…maybe.
What can hypnotism not do? • Improve our memories • Repressed memories • Allow us to travel into our past to recover memories • Enhanced ability to learn information • Note: hypnosis might be able to help increase our ability to remember things a little if we struggle to recall/store information due to emotional responses. • Cause us to have “supernatural” physical abilities. • “stiff as a board” • “I command you to walk” • Do something that we wouldn’t do while in a normal state of consciousness…. Maybe.
Other states of consciousness that are similar to hypnotism • Meditation • Calm, relaxed state that is very similar to arousal level of hypnotized individuals. • Spiritual and social separation from the body • Trance dancing (raves) • Spiritual dance(s) • Drug induced states
Drug induced alterations in Consciousness • Psychoactive drugs: chemicals that change perceptions and moods.
Psychoactive Drugs: Drugs that Impact Levels of Consciousness • 3 major categories • Stimulants: drugs that excite neural activity & speed up body functions, i.e. caffeine, nicotine, amphetamines, and cocaine. • Depressants: drugs that reduce neural activity arousal, i.e. alcohol and tranquilizers. • Hallucinogens: psychedelic drugs that distort perceptions & evoke sensory images in the absence of sensory input, i.e. LSD and MDMA.
Nicotine & Caffeine • Cellular stimulants • highly addictive, yet legal • commercially endorsed and widely used on a daily basis • Amphetamine • Enhances sensory nervous system (SNS) activity • Prolonged stimulant effects in comparison to nicotine and caffeine Stimulants (Accelerate our Consciousness) • Cocaine • This drug was originally as legal as alcohol and caffeine • Much, much stronger effects • Also a local anesthetic
Depressants (Slow our Consciousness) • Alcohol • Relaxant: slows SNS activity upon consumption • Enhances the likelihood of any behavior, (i.e. suppresses urges that may be inhibited when not intoxicated) • Disrupts laying down of recent memories • Reduces self-consciousness and awareness • A number of other side effects of alcohol consumption are listed in the text • Tranquilizers (Benzodiazepines) • Similar effects to alcohol, but much stronger effects • Primarily used to as a relaxant Depressants can be synergistic: the sum of their effects is greater than their individual effects, even lethal
Hallucinogens: (distorts our consciousness) • LSD • Causes heightened awareness of sensory stimuli, “internal stuff”, dreamlike thoughts, distortions of perceptions, perspective, hallucination, synesthesia • Experience is highly susceptible to effects of ‘set’ (one’s current mental state) and ‘setting’ (external environment) • MDMA (“ecstasy”) • At lower doses, it increases physical arousal (remember the Parkinson's Disease patients) • Produces hallucinations at higher doses • Can destroy or damage axons Note: Hallucinogens might provide an experience, but 1 use of some of these can permanently kill off collections of neurons, and repeated use has been found to take out entire brain regions.
How do psychoactive drugs impact neural functioning? • All of the drugs listed are typically associated with a release of dopamine into the nervous system • Note: This flood of dopamine into the nervous system is also found in other addictive habits such as gambling, video games, and any other “enjoyable” and addictive pleasure • In the long run, psychoactive drugs cause neuroadaptation: • Tolerance – with regular use the brain starts making less of its own endogenous version of the substance, which means that it takes more of the drug to elicit the effects. • Withdrawal – Sudden discontinuation of use results in a dramatic deficit of the substance in the brain, which can cause unpleasant sensations.
What did we learn today? • We learned about a number of altered states of consciousness • Hypnosis • Meditation and spiritual/trance dances • Drugs and how they change our consciousness
This concludes our coverage of the mind. • In the next class, we’ll be having our second exam. • So until then, enjoy yourselves… Preferably without going into an altered state of consciousness.