Altered States of Consciousness

Altered States of Consciousness
AP Psychology
• Trance-like state of heightened suggestibility,
deep relaxation, and intense focus
Practical Applications of Hypnosis
• Reduce stress and anxiety
• Treat chronic pain
• Manage pain during medical and dental
• To lose weight
• Stop smoking
• Perform in sports
Limitations of Hypnosis
• No one can be hypnotized against his or her
• Cannot make people violate their moral values
• Cannot bestow new talents or make a person
Explanations of Hypnosis
• Ernest Hilgard – Dissociation (divided
– Hypnotized subjects showed no sign of pain when
they submerged their arms in an ice bath
– When asked to lift their index finger if they felt
pain, 70% did
Explanations of Hypnosis
• Dissociation (Divided Consciousness) cont.
– Hypnosis a special state of divided consciousness
– 1 – respond to hypnotists suggestion that cold
water is not painful
– 2 – processed a second dissociated stream that
enabled them to sense the water’s temperature
Explanations of Hypnosis
• Social Influence Theory
– No such thing as a hypnotic trance
– People are enacting the socially constructed role
of the hypnotic subject
– Supports Hilgard’s findings by theorizing that his
subjects ignored the cold because they were
caught up in the role of being hypnotized
Psychoactive Drugs
• Def – chemicals that change conscious
awareness, mood and/or perception
• Agonistic drugs – enhance neurotransmitters
• Antagonistic drugs – inhibit a neurotransmitter
Psychoactive Drugs
• Withdrawal – painful experience associated
with stopping the use of addictive drugs
• Tolerance – bodily adjustment to higher and
higher levels of a drug, which leads to
decreased sensitivity
• Act on the brain and other parts of the CNS by
decreasing bodily processes, reducing reaction
times, and causing feeling of well being
• Alcohol, barbiturates and anti-anxiety drugs
(Valium) are all depressants
Depressants cont.
• Alcohol is the most used and most abused
depressant * always a depressant *
• Alcohol is strongly influenced by the user’s
• David Myers – “When people believe that
alcohol affects social behavior in certain, and
believe, rightly or wrongly, that they have
been drinking alcohol, they will behave
• Act on the brain and other parts of the CNS by
producing alertness, excitement, elevated
mood, and general responsiveness
• Caffeine, nicotine, amphetamine, cocaine
Stimulants cont.
• Each year, over 400,000 Americans dies from
smoking-related illnesses / smoking plays a
role in causing bronchitis, emphysema, and
heart disease
• Numb the senses and relieve pain
• Morphine, heroine, codeine
• Opiates are extremely addictive and
withdrawal is excruciatingly painful
• Produce sensory or perceptual distortions
called hallucinations
• Marijuana and LSD are the best-known