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Flashcards in Consciousness Deck (69)
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What is consciousness?

The state of being aware and responsive to one's surroundings


How does awareness of self and surroundings operate?

On a continuum

e.g. from focused alertness, daydreaming and coma


What are examples of altered states of consciousness?

The mind is aware but not in its usual wakeful condition

e.g. sleep/dreams
psychoactive drugs


How do we know that altered states of consciousness exist?

We are able to describe the subjective experience of an altered state


How can altered states of consciousness be measured objectively?

What is the problem with this?

Eye movements can be observed

People respond different to subjective experiences such as hypnosis

People may look similar to an outsider even if the states are subjectively very different


Why is there no agreed definition of consciousness?

Due to mind-body dualism

there are subjective and objective views of consciousness


What is mind-body dualism?

The theory that the mind and body are distinct kinds of substances, each with a different essential nature

They casually interact which being ontologically distinct substances


What would be the objective and subjective view of a pencil?

Objective - pencil is an object

Subjective - the colour, how sharp it is, how it smells


What is a subjective view?

A view that is unique to a particular individual


How can colours be used to show differences in subjective experiences?

Women are more sensitive to subtle changes in colour shades due to the arrangement of rods and cones in the retina

There is a difference in perception of different colours between women and men


How do subjective experiences between individuals tend to vary?

They tend to be similar to that of others, but are not exactly the same


Who devised the Hard Problem?



What does the Hard Problem explain?

How physical processes in the brain give rise to subjective experiences


What does the Hard Problem state?

We cannot explain the action of 90 billion neurones in the brain and their connections

We cannot explain the subjective experiences that we have of the world, which is based on this physical principle


What is an 'easy problem'?

Easy problem all represent some ability, or the performance of a function or behaviour

e.g. difference between wakefulness and sleep


What are the 3 dominant functional views?

1. monitoring

2. controlling

3. conscious and unconscious processes


What is involved in monitoring?

Attention - people only experience what they attend to

Inattentional blindness means consciousness is like a spotlight where it focuses only on one area


What is inattentional blindness?

When an individual lacks awareness of things that are occurring in the periphery


What is involved in controlling?

It is the ability to anticipate things that are going to happen in the future

It allows you to plan, initiate and guide future actions

This involves looking at different possibilities and choosing between alternatives


How are unconscious and conscious processes related?

Unconscious processes underpin consciousness


What is an example of an action that is alway unconscious?

Visuomotor control

Movement of the eyes is not consciously controlled


What is an example of an action that is normally unconscious but can be brought under conscious control?


A technique you can use to learn to control your body's functions, such as heart rate


What is involved in biofeedback?

Patient is connected to electrical sensors which allow them to receive information about their body


How can actions become automatic?

These actions are learnt with conscious effort but become automatic

e.g. playing piano


What type of action is driving?

Skilled actions that require learning can be conscious or unconscious


What is an example of an action that is always performed consciously?

recalling a phone number


When does subliminal perception occur?

When the stimuli is below the individual's threshold for conscious perception

e.g. flashed images or sound below audible volume


How does subliminal perception affect an individual?

Information that is presented below the level for conscious registration is still picked up by the brain

It may affect behaviour later on


How does subliminal advertising work?

It uses flashed images that are too quick to be consciously registered

The subliminal perception may impact someone's behaviour later on


What are 2 examples of subliminal advertising?

How do they work?

Product placement and attentional focus

People do not consciously register that the object is there, but it may become a desired product later on