Altered States of Consciousness

Altered States
of Consciousness
What are Altered States of
• various states in which the mind can be aware but is
not in its usual wakeful condition
• Form of consciousness in which a persons sense of self
or sense of the world changes
- sleep
- using drugs/alcohol
- meditation
- hypnosis
Sleep is a….
Circadian Rhythms:
- biological process that guides
how we function
Examples body temperature, blood
pressure, sleepiness and
Theories of Sleep:
- Adaptive Theory: species need time to
keep out of trouble
- Conserving Theory: sleep is a time to
save energy
- Restorative Theory: time to replenish
the body’s systems
Sleep is…
- Defined by brain-wave patterns
(measured by EEG)
- Brain waves vary based on:
- awake
- relaxed
- sleeping
Types of Brain-Wave Patterns:
- Beta short & quick (awake/alert)
- Alpha slower than beta (relaxed/drowsy)
- Theta slower than Alpha (light sleep)
- Delta slowest pattern (deep sleep)
Two Types of Sleep
NREM Sleep:
- stands for Nonrapid Eye Movement
- early stages of sleep (stage 1-4)
- during this type brain electrical
activity & vital signs decline
Two Types of Sleep
REM Sleep:
- stands for Rapid Eye Movement
- brain suddenly becomes electrically
alive almost as if awake
- vital signs all rise
- eyes can be seen rapidly moving
under the lids
- most dreaming occurs here
Sleep Stages
Research states that we sleep in stages
Alpha Wave Period:
• Drowsy but awake state when
eyes are closed and relaxed
NREM Sleep Stage 1
• Transition period between
wakefulness and sleep; theta
wave appear
NREM Sleep Stage 2
• Sleep spindles occur;
muscles less tense, eyes
rest; half of all sleep is in
this state
Sleep Stages
NREM Sleep Stage 3
• Delta waves appear
NREM Sleep Stage 4
• Deepest part of sleep
REM Sleep
• Cycle now reverses through stage 4 to stage 3 to
stage 2 but instead of waking into stage 1 sleeper
goes into REM sleep
How Much Sleep?
How Much Sleep
Do We Need?
- Newborns = 16 hrs
- 1 Year Old = 14 hrs
- Teens = 9 hrs
- Adults = 7-8 hrs
Your Task:
• Break into your lab groups
• Each group will be assigned a sleep
• Use your book and smart phone to research
your assigned disorder
• Be ready to share with the class your findings!
Sleep Disorders 
• Insomnia
• Sleep Apnea
• Night Terrors • Narcolepsy
• Sleep Walking • Hypersomnia
• mostly happen during REM sleep
• can feel real or fantasy/disorganized
• happen in “real time” (feels like 5 min. = dreamed 5 min)
• three Most common dreams:
1. falling
2. being chased/attacked
3. repeatedly trying but failing at a task
Dream Theories
Psychoanalytic Theory
• developed by Sigmund Freud's in his book
“Interpretation of Dreams” in 1900
• dreams are repressed desires and a look a
suppressed feelings (unconscious wishes & desires)
• dreams are symbolic language of the
unconscious mind communicating with the
conscious mind
Manifest Content: the surface level of a dream (images, action).
Latent Content: the unconscious meaning of a dream.
Dream Theories
Activation-Synthesis Theory:
• developed by Harvard
psychologists Allen Hobson &
Robert McCarley in 1977
• dreams are by-products of the
brain’s regeneration process
• Dreams have no meaning but
we try to make sense of them
by using past memories &
Dream Theories
Information Processing Theory:
• developed by psychologist Evans
• during sleep, the brain processes
what was stored in memory
during the day
• dreams are brief glimpses of the
brain’s sorting, scanning and
searching through memories
• dreams have no meaning.
Dream Theories
Mental Garbage Theory:
• developed by psychologists Crick & Mitchinson (also
called the Housekeeping Hypothesis)
• during REM sleep, the brain jettisons mental garbage
(i.e. “we dream in order to forget”)
• clearing out of unneeded neural connections
Dream Theories
Problem-Solving Theory:
• developed by psychologist
• dreams give us uninterrupted
time to deal with emotional
issues in our lives
• when we are free of problems,
we use our dreams to express
• symbols & metaphors convey
true meaning to our dreams
• method used to narrow consciousness
so that outside stresses fade away
Additional Info:
• is self-induced
• focus on peaceful, repetitive stimulus
in order to relax (research supports)
• provides heightened awareness,
tranquility, & time of internal
• Altered state of consciousness in
which people respond to suggestions
and behave as if in a trance
Additional Info:
• Began w/ German doctor Franz
Mesmer in the late 1700’s
• brought about via techniques used by
a hypnotist
• is used for  pain control, anesthetic,
reduce anxiety, overcome fears, quit
• Treatment technique in which people are trained to improve
their health by using signals from their own body
• Provides information in which the subject was unaware of to
learn or gain ways to control physical issues/processes
Biofeedback provides info about/treats:
headaches (migraines/tension)
digestive disorders
blood pressure issues
cardiac arrhythmias
Reynaud's disease
• Alters the perceptions of reality &
causes other perceptual distortions
• Examples  LSD, PSP, marijuana
• Used to relieve pain & induce sleep
• Examples  opium, morphine, heroin
• slows the functioning & activity
of the nervous system
• Examples  alcohol, barbiturates,
• increases the functioning/activity of
the central nervous system
• Examples  nicotine, caffeine, cocaine,
• Alterations to the body’s circadian
rhythms resulting from travel (eastwest or west-east) on a plane
• imagining alternative solutions/choices
Near-Death Experiences:
• Personal experience with impending death
• Cannot be explained by psychologists