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MCAT Pysch/Soc > Consciousness > Flashcards

Flashcards in Consciousness Deck (40)
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one's level of awareness of both the world and one's own existence within that world



a state of consciousness in which we are awake and able to think.

can experience certain level of physiological arousal

cortisol levels tend to be higher, and EEG waves indicate a brain in the waking state

Fibers from the prefrontal cortex communicate with the reticular formation, a neural structure located in the brainstem, to keep the cortex awake and alert.


Electroencephalography (EEG)

records an average of the eletrical patterns within different portion of the brain


Four EEG patterns:

beta waves
alpha waves
theta waves
delta waves


Beta waves

have a high frequency and occur when the person is alert or attending to a mental task that requires concentration.

occur when neurons are randomly firing


Alpha waves

occur when we are awake but relaxing with our eyes closed, and are somewhat slower than beta waves.

have more synchronized waves than beta waves


Stage 1

detected on the EEG by the appearance of theta waves

At this point, EEG activity is characterized by irregular waveforms with slower frequencies and higher voltages


Stage 2

EEG shows theta waves along with sleep spindles and K complexes


Stage 3 & 4

"slow wave sleep (SWS)"

EEG activity grows progressively slower until only a few sleep waves per second are seen.

Have delta waves: low frequency, high voltage sleep waves

During these stages, its very difficult to wake someone up from their sleep


Non rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep

Stages 1-4

there is usually little or no eye movement during these stages. Dreaming is rare during NREM sleep, and muscles are not paralyzed as in REM sleep


Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep

arousal levels reach that of wakefulness, but the muscles are paralyzed

aka: paradoxical sleep (PS) ... sometimes: desynchronized sleep because one's heart rate, breathing patterns and EEG mimic wakefulness but the individual is still asleep

stage where dreaming most likely occurs


Sleep cycle???

a single complete progression through the sleep stages



decreases heart rate and blood pressure

on the EEG, meditation resembles Stage 1 sleep with theta and slow aha waves

produces a sense of relaxation and relief from anxiety and worrying



state in which a person appears to be in control of his or her normal functions, but is in a highly suggestible state

Starts with hypnotic induction, in which the hypnotist seeks to relax the subject and increase the subjects level of concentration.

effective hypnosis requires a wiling personality and lack of skepticism on the part of the patient.


Sleep deprivation

results from as little as one night without sleep, or from multiple nights with poor- quality, short duration sleep.

Can cause psychosis
people who are permitted to sleep normally after sleep deprivation often exhibit REM Rebound, and earlier onsey and greater duration of REM sleep compared to normal


Night terrors

common in children
periods of intense anxiety that occur during slow-wave sleep

high heart rate, rapid breathing

these usually occur during SWS
child is difficult to wake
and does not remember the next morning


Sleepwalking (somnambulism)

occurs during SWS
has no recollection of what they did during their sleepwalk

awakening a sleepwalker will not harm the person; usually suggested to guide them back to bed



difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep



lack of voluntary control over the onset of sleep

symptoms are unique and include cataplexy: a loss of muscle control and sudden intrusion of REM sleep during waking hours, usually caused by an emotional trigger


Sleep paralysis

a sensation of being unable to move despite being awake


hypnagogic and hynopompic hallucinations

hallucinations when going to sleep or awakening


Sleep apnea

inability to break during sleep
can be obstructive or central

Obstructive: occurs when a physical blockage in the pharynx or trachea prevents airflow

Central: occurs when the brain fails to send signals to the diaphragm to breathe.



disorders that make it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep or avoid sleep and include insomnia, narcolepsy and sleep apnea



abnormal movements or behaviors during sleep, and include night terrors and sleep walking


REM stage is the stage that :

dreaming most likely occurs


Sleep cycle

a single complete progression through the sleep stages

the cycle changes throughout the night


Circadian rhythms

normally trend around a 24 hr day


Changes in light in the evening trigger release of ______ by the ____

melatonin; pineal gland


Which hormone is released by the pineal gland?



Melatonin is released by what gland?

Pineal Gland