Chapter 2 - States of Consciousness Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Chapter 2 - States of Consciousness Deck (38):

Define consciousness.

Consciousness is the awareness of objects and events in the external world and of our own existence and mental experiences at any given moment.


What does the term 'normal waking consciousness' refer to?

Normal waking consciousness refers to 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.


Define attention.

A concentration of mental activity that involves focusing on specific stimuli while ignoring other stimuli.


Where is our attention focused during normal waking consciousness?

Our attention can be focused either on internal thoughts / feelings or on external stimuli.


What does selective attention involve?

It involves selectively attending to certain stimuli while ignoring other stimuli. It refers to the fact that at any given moment the focus of our awareness is on only a limited range of all that we are capable of experiencing, whether it be an internal or external event.


What does divided attention refer to?

Divided attention refers to the ability to distribute our attention and undertake two or more activities simultaneously.


Why is the content held in our consciousness more limited in normal waking consciousness?

We are able to exercise some control over what we allow into our normal waking consciousness (i.e through selective attention). We are able to block information that may make us sad, depressed, self-conscious etc. However we don't generally have the same amount of control in an altered state of consciousness.


What are controlled processes?

Controlled processes are the processing of information involving conscious, alert awareness and mental effort in which the individual actively focuses their attention on achieving a particular goal.


In what way does controlled processing tend to be serial?

This is because only one activity requiring controlled processes can be performed at a time.


When are controlled processes required?

When a task is difficult or unfamiliar.


What are automatic processes?

Automatic processes require little conscious awareness and mental effort, minimal attention and does not interfere with the performance of other activities.


In what way does automatic processing tend to be parallel?

This is because we can perform and handle two or more activities at the same time.


When are automatic processes used?

When an activity is easy or familiar.


What does the term altered state of consciousness refer to?

Altered state of consciousness (ASC) is used to describe any state of consciousness that is distinctly different from normal waking consciousness, in terms of level of awareness and experience, and the quality or intensity of sensations, perceptions, thoughts, feelings and memories that are experienced.


When does one enter an altered state of consciousness?

When changes in mental awareness occur to the extent that you can notice differences in your level of mental functioning.


In what main ways is an ASC different from normal waking consciousness?

• Distortions of perception and cognition
• Distorted time orientation
• Changes in emotional awareness
• Changes in self-control


Give examples of naturally occurring ASCs.

Sleep, daydreaming, dreaming.


Give examples of purposely induced ASCs.

Meditative state, hypnotic state, alcohol-induced, drug-induced.


What are the two effects that an ASC has on the senses?

It either makes them more receptive to external stimuli, or dulls them to such an extent that some sensations are not experienced at all.


How can perception be distorted in an ASC?

Perception of sensory experiences may be more vivid. People may hallucinate, or lose their sense of identity.


How can cognitive functioning be impaired during an ASC?

Thought processes can become disorganised. Thinking is often illogical and lacking in sequence, and difficulties may be experienced in problem-solving. People have trouble remembering events that occur during an ASC.


How can time orientation be distorted in an ASC?

Time seems to pass at a different speed than normal. In some ASCs, passing of time may appear to be quicker, while in others, time appears to pass very slowly.


How does emotional awareness change in an ASC?

People may become more emotional and may express their opinions more openly than in normal waking consciousness (e.g. in an alcohol-induced ASC). In other ASCs, people have reported feeling emotionless. ASCs are also associated with highly inappropriate emotional reactions and unpredictable emotional responses.


What is daydreaming?

Daydreaming is an altered state of consciousness in which we shift our attention from external stimuli to internal thoughts, feelings and imagined scenarios.


When are daydreams more likely to occur?

When we are stationary, alone, waiting to fall asleep, travelling on public transport, or doing routine or boring activities such as washing dishes.


What physiological characteristics and brain wave pattern are daydreams associated with?

Minimal eye movements and high levels of alpha brain waves.


List four possible functions or purposes of daydreaming.

• enable exploration of unfulfilled wishes, fantasies etc. that can’t be experienced in reality
• enable mental rehearsal/role play of actions/responses for various situations
• facilitate problem-solving
• maintain mental alertness/activity in situations with insufficient external stimulation.


Define meditation in relation to consciousness.

In relation to consciousness, meditation involves the use of a technique to deliberately alter normal waking consciousness in order to induce an altered state of consciousness characterised by a deep state of relaxation, and may also produce a heightened state of personal awareness and feelings of inner peace and tranquility.


What is an alcohol-induced state of consciousness?

It is an altered state of consciousness primarily attributable to the consumption of a drink containing ethyl alcohol.


What factors influence the experience of an alcohol-induced state of consciousness?

concentration of alcohol consumed, amount of alcohol consumed/BAC level, context/conditions when consumed, rate of consumption, drinking history, amount of food in the stomach, body weight, age, gender, body chemistry and physical wellbeing.


Give examples of changes in consciousness that may be associated with alcohol consumption.

A shortened attention span, impaired perceptions, impaired thinking, impaired memory, slower reaction times, reduced self-awareness, impaired emotional awareness and control, impaired perception of time, less self-control, difficulties with voluntary muscular control and fine movements, deterioration in performance of complex tasks.


What is a psychological construct?

A psychological construct is a concept that is 'constructed' to describe specific 'psychological' activity, or a pattern of activity, that is believed to occur or exist, but that cannot be directly observed or measured.


What is an electroencephalograph?

An electroencephalograph is a device that detects, amplifies and records general patterns of electrical activity of the brain.


Describe beta waves.

High frequency, low amplitude. Associated with normal waking consciousness (i.e. someone who is awake, alert and active, with eyes open, concentrating on some task).


Describe alpha waves.

High frequency, (slower than beta waves), low amplitude (slightly larger than beta waves). Associated with a relaxed, wakeful or meditative state.


Describe theta waves.

Medium frequency (slower than alpha and beta waves), mixture of high and low amplitude waves. Associated with early stages of sleep.


Describe delta waves.

Lowest frequency, highest amplitude. Associated with deepest stages of sleep.


What is the galvanic skin response?

The galvanic skin response is a physiological response that indicates the change in the resistance of the skin to an electrical current (that is, the electrical conductivity of the skin).