Chapter 3: Consciousness and the Two-Track Mind I. II. The Brain and Consciousness a. Consciousness: our awareness of ourselves and our environment. b. Cognitive neuroscience : the interdisciplinary study of the brain activity linked with our mental processes. i. “The mind is what the brain does,” (Minsky, 1986), we just don’t know how it does it. ii. May be the key to “reading minds” c. Dual Processing i. The principle that information is often simultaneously processed on separate conscious and unconscious tracks d. Two-track mind i. “We know more than we know we know.” ii. A visual perception track enables us to unconsciously create mental “furniture” that lets us think about the world. A visual action track guides our conscious, moment-tomoment actions. iii. It seems, our brains are ahead of our minds. 1. Hollow face illusion 2. Neural activity actually precedes consciousness of it iv. Selective attention: the focusing of conscious awareness on a particular stimulus. 1. Your five senses take in 11,000,000 bits of information per second 2. You consciously process about 40 3. Cocktail party effect 4. Selective attention and accidents a. Texting while driving 5. Selective inattention a. Inattentional blindness: failing to see visible objects when our attention is directed elsewhere b. Change bias: failing to notice changes in the environment c. Choice-blindness blindness Sleep and dreams a. Biological rhythms and sleep i. Circadian rhythm: the biological clock; regular bodily rhythms that occur on a 24-hour cycle. 1. Light influences the onset or delay of sleep a. Suprachiasmtic nucleus (SCN) b. Sends messages to the pineal gland through the hypothalamus to decrease sleep hormone, melatonin. ii. Sleep Stages 1. REM Sleep: Discovered by mistake by Armond Aserinsky, also known as paradoxical sleep a. Heart rate rises b. Breathing becomes rapid and irregular c. Eye dart around (closed) d. The body is internally aroused and externally calm 2. Sleep Waves: 3. Alpha: the relatively slow brain waves of a relaxed, awake state. 4. Delta waves: the large, slow brain waves associated with deep sleep. iii. Hallucinations: false sensory experiences, such as seeing something in the absence of an external visual stimulus. iv. Sleep spindles: bursts of rapid, rhythmic brain-wave activity. b. Why do we sleep? i. The effect of Sleep Loss 1. Effects mental functioning 2. Effects moods 3. Effects personal relationships 4. Make you fatter!!! 5. Suppress immune cells that fight infection 6. Increased mistakes and accidents ii. Sleep Theories 1. A species’ sleep pattern tends to fit it’s ecological niche 2. Reduces free radicals; molecules that are toxic to neurons. 3. Sleep is for making memories III. 4. Feed creative thinking, better a solving difficult problems after sleeping 5. Plays a growth in the growth process: the pituitary gland releases a growth hormone during deep sleep. c. Sleep Disorders i. Insomnia: an inability to fall or stay sleep ii. Narcolepsy: uncontrollable sleep attacks iii. Sleep apnea: a sleep disorder characterized by temporary cessations of breathing during sleep and repeated momentary awakenings. iv. Night terrors: characterized by high arousal and an appearance of being terrified; unlike nightmares, night terrors occur during Stage 4 sleep, with in two or three hours of falling asleep and are seldom remembered. d. Dreams i. What We Dream 1. We spend six years of our life in dreams 2. 80% of dreams are at least partially negative ii. Why We Dream 1. To satisfy our own wishes (Freud) a. Dreams are key to understanding our inner conflicts b. Manifest content: the remembered story line of a dream c. Latent content: underlying meaning of a dream 2. To file away memories a. See as a way of information processing b. But, memory consolidation may occur independent of dreaming, including non-REM sleep 3. To develop and preserve neural pathways 4. To make sense of neural static a. Dreams are the brain’s attempt to make sense of random neural activity (activationsynthesis theory) 5. To reflect cognitive development a. Younger children’s dreams seem more like a slide show and less like a story Hypnosis a. Facts and Falsehoods i. Can anyone experience hypnosis? 1. Hypnotic suggestibility ii. Can hypnosis enhance recall of forgotten events? 1. These memories combine fact with fiction 2. Testimony from hypnosis is generally banned in courts 3. UFO claims iii. Can hypnosis force people to act against their will? IV. 1. An authoritative person in a legitimate context can induce people – hypnotized or not—to perform some unlikely acts. iv. Can hypnosis be therapeutic? 1. Hypnotherapists 2. Posthypnotic suggestion: made during a hypnosis session, to be carried out after the subject is no longer hypnotizes; used by some clinicians to help control undesired symptoms and behaviors. 3. No conclusive evidence that it is effective v. Can hypnosis alleviate pain? 1. Yes 2. 10% of us can become so hypnotized that we can even undergo major surgery without anesthesia. b. Explaining the hypnotized state i. Hypnosis as a social phenomenon 1. Social influence theory: hypnosis is an extension of everyday social behavior, rather than something unique. ii. Hypnosis is divided consciousness 1. Dissociation: a split in consciousness, which allows some thoughts and behaviors to occur simultaneously with others. 2. Selective attention a. Does not block sensory input but rather our attention to that input Drugs and consciousness a. Dependence and addiction i. Psychoactive drug: a chemical substance that alters perceptions and moods ii. Tolerance: the diminishing effect with regular use of the same dose of a drug, requiring the user to take larger and larger doses before experiencing the drug’s effect. (neuroadaptation) iii. Withdrawal: the discomfort and distress that follow discontinuing the use of an addictive drug. iv. Dependence 1. Physical 2. Psychological v. Misconceptions about addiction 1. Myth 1: Addictive drugs quickly corrupt 2. Myth 2: Addictions cannot be overcome voluntarily; therapy is required 3. Myth 3: We can extend the concept of addiction to cover not just drug dependencies, but a whole spectrum of repetitive, pleasure-seeking behaviors b. Psychoactive Drugs: i. Depressants 1. Alcohol V. a. Disinhibition b. Slowed neural processing c. Memory disruption d. Reduced self-awareness and self-control e. Expectancy effects (kind of like placebo) 2. Barbiturate: drugs that depress the activity of the central nervous system, reducing anxiety but impairing memory and judgment 3. Opiates (opium, morphine, heroin) a. Highly addictive ii. Stimulants 1. Methamphetamine a. Men have higher rates of addiction because they release more dopamine when they take it 2. Caffeine 3. Nicotine 4. Cocaine 5. Ecstasy/ MDMA: releases stored serotonin and blocks it’s reabsorption iii. Hallucinogens: distort perceptions and evoke sensory images in the absence of sensory input 1. LSD 2. Marijuana a. Experience can vary with the situation c. Influence on Drugs Use i. Biological Influences 1. Evidence says that it is addition and dependence is highly genetic ii. Psychological and Socio-cultural influences 1. Low life prospects increase drug use 2. Females with history of depression, eating disorders, or sexual abuse are at a higher risk 3. Urban environemtns increase drug use Near Death Experiences a. Possible biological cause: oxygen deprivation b. What do you think?