PSY101 - Chapter 3: Consciousness and the Two-Track Mind Flashcards Preview

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Our awareness of ourselves and our environment.


Cognitive Neuroscience

The interdisciplinary study of the brain activity linked with our mental processes (including consciousness).


States of Consciousness

1. Spontaneous: daydreaming, drowsiness, dreaming.
2. Physiologically Induced: hallucinations, orgasm, food or oxygen starvation.
3. Psychologically Induced: sensory deprivation, hypnosis, meditation.


Dual Processing

1. The High Road: conscious, deliberate processing of which we are aware.
2. The Low Road: unconscious, automatic processing of which we are unaware.



A condition where the patient has no awareness whatsoever of any stimuli but are able to process aspects of a visual stimulus, such as location. (squares that flash quickly on the screen and then the patient is asked which side the square appeared on)


Selective Attention

A mental 'spotlight' that focuses conscious awareness on a limited aspect of all that you experience (allows you to focus on one thing while many other things are happening around you).


Inattentional Blindness

If distracted, we can miss things that happen right in front of us.


Change Blindness

A man provides directions to a supposed construction worker, two experimenters rudely pass between them carrying a door, the original worker switches places with another person wearing different colored clothing. Most don't notice the switch.


Circadian Rhythm

Occur on a 24-hour cycle and include sleep and wakefulness. Termed our biological clock, can be altered by artificial light.


Suprachiasmatic Nucleus

Triggered by light to decrease melatonin from the pineal gland in the morning and increase it at nightfall.


Measuring Sleep

Every ~90 minutes we pass through a cycle of 5 stages which are identified by brain activity, eye movements and muscle tension.


Awake But Relaxed

When eyes are closed, but still awake, brain activity slows down to large amplitude and slow/regular alpha waves.


Non-REM Stage 1 (NREM-1)

Early/light sleep, irregular brain waves, hallucinations, near-waking, alpha waves become theta waves, muscles are active.


Non-REM Stage 2 (NREM-2)

Theta waves, sleep spindles, harder to awaken, conscious awareness of the external environment disappears, 45-55% of total sleep in adults.


Non-REM Stage 3 (NREM-3)

Deep sleep, slow delta waves, hard to awaken, night terrors and sleep walking can occur.


Rapid Eye Movement Sleep (REM)

Low-amplitude/fast/regular beta waves, like aroused state. Essentially paralyzed, cannot be easily awakened. When most dreams happen, 20-25% of sleep in adults, 80% for newborns.


Sleep Cycle Order

1. NREM-1 > NREM-2 > NREM-3
2. NREM-1 > REM sleep.


Purposes of Sleep

1. Protection: sleeping in darkness with predator threats around kept our ancestors safe.
2. Recuperation: sleep restores and repairs brain tissue.
3. Consolidation and Memories: sleep restores/rebuilds fading memories.
4. Feeds Creative Thinking
5. Growth Process: the pituitary gland releases growth hormone during sleep.


Effects of Sleep Loss

1. Impaired concentration
2. Emotional Irritability
3. Depressed Immune System
4. Greater Vulnerability
5. Death



Persistent inability to fall asleep/stay asleep.



Overpowering urge to fall asleep that may occur while talking or standing up.


Sleep Apnea

Failure to breathe when asleep.


Fatal Familial Insomnia

An extremely rare disease that prevents a person from sleeping, resulting in death.


Wish Fulfillment

Dream Theory that states dreams provide a "psychic safety valve" through which we express unacceptable feelings, and fulfill forbidden wishes.


Information Processing

Dream theory that says dreams play a role in filing away memories (hippocampal place cells that fire as a rat learns a maze also fire during REM sleep).


Physiological Function

Dream theory that states brain activity during REM sleep provides the brain with periodic stimulation, and especially in infants, this may help to establish neural pathways.


Activation Synthesis

Dream theory that states dreaming is nothing more than the brain's attempt to make sense of random neural activity that spread upward through the brain from the brainstem.


Hypnosis Truths

1. 20% are highly hypnotizable, most are 'open to suggestion.'
2. Hypnosis cannot enhance memory recall as we do not store every single memory.
3. Hypnotized people will not act against their will.
4. Hypnosis can relieve pain and Posthypnotic suggestions can help alleviate headache/asthma/stress-related skin disorders.


Social Influence Theory of Hypnosis

Theory that hypnotic phenomena reflect workings of normal consciousness as well as the power of social influence. Hypnotees act like actors who are very immersed in their roles, the role of being a 'good hypnotic subject.'


Divided Consciousness Theory of Hypnosis

Hypnosis involves not only social influence but also a special dual-processing state of dissociation (split between different levels of consciousness).