States of Consciousness

States of Consciousness
• Does consciousness exist? If so, how do we
study it?
• Consciousness looked at as a psychological
Construct – a concept used to talk about
something we can’t see, touch or measure
2 main meanings
• 1) Consciousness as sensory awareness.
– Awareness of your environment
• 2) Consciousness as direct inner awareness
– Imagination
– Awareness of feelings, memories
Levels of Consciousness
• 1) Consciousness – regular awareness
• 2) Preconscious – not in your awareness
currently, but can recall answers if you need to
by diverting inner awareness or attention
• 3) Unconscious – also known as subconscious
– Freud suggested that the subconscious is
unavailable to awareness most of the time
– Defense Mechanisms
• 4) Non-conscious – basic biological functions
Defense Mechanisms
• Painful, problematic memories are hidden in
• Some impulses are considered unacceptable
• We bury these problems so that we are
unaware of them at a conscious level
• Repression – takes anxiety causing ideas and pushes
them into the subconscious, occasionally they burst
out in a different form.
• Rationalization – uses self-deception to justify
unacceptable behavior or ideas
– Sour grapes is a type of rationalization
• Displacement – transfer of idea or impulse
from threatening or unsuitable object to less
threatening object
– Boss yells at you – you yell at spouse – spouse
kicks dog
• Regression – return to behavior characteristic
of an earlier stage of development
• Projection – project impulses or anxieties
outward unto others. People see their faults in
• Reaction formation acting contrary to genuine
feelings to keep feelings hidden.
• Denial – refuse to accept reality
• Sublimation – Channeling aggressive or
unacceptable ideas or traits into acceptable
• Compensation – a person makes up for felt
defect (real or imagined) by striving extra hard
in another area
• Conversion – expresses emotional conflicts
through physical symptoms
• Fantasy – daydreaming, flight of fancy
• Defense mechanisms are common – abnormal
only when it is excessive
• Are they helpful or harmful?