Unit 5

States of consciousness

Terms to Remember

Consciousness: our awareness of ourselves and our environment

Sleep: periodic, natural loss of consciousness- as distinct from unconsciousness resulting from a coma, general anesthesia, or hibernation

Circadian rhythm: the biological clock; regular bodily rhythms (for example, temperature and wakefulness) that occur on a 24-hour cycle

Dreams: a sequence of images, emotions, and thoughts passing a sleeping person's mind

Manifest content: according to Freud, the remembered story line of a dream

Latent content: according to Freud, the underlying meaning of a dream

Hypnosis: a social interaction in which on person (the hypnotist) suggests the other person (the subject) that certain perceptions, feelings, thoughts or behaviors will spontaneously occur

Sleep Theories

1. Sleep protects us: our natural tendency is to sleep at night to be protected from the darkness/predators. Different animals sleep at different times for protection

2. Sleep helps us recuperate: Helps restore and repair brain tissue

3. Sleep is for making memories: restoring and rebuilding our fading memories of the day's experiences. People trained to perform tasks recall them better after a night's sleep/short nap

4. Sleep feeds creative thinking: dreams have inspires noteworthy literary artistic and scientific achievements. After working on a task, then sleeping on it, people solve problems more insightfully than do those who stay awake.

5. Sleep may play a role in the growth process: during sleep the pituitary gland releases a growth hormone.

Dream Theories

1. Freud's wish-fulfillment: Provides a "psychic safety valve"=a way to express otherwise unacceptable feelings; contains manifest content and latent content

2. Information processing: helps us sort out the days events and consolidate our memories

3. Physiological function: regular brain stimulation from REM sleep may help develop and preserve neural pathways

4. Activation synthesis: REM sleep triggers neural activity and evokes random visual memories which our sleeping brain weaves into stories

5. Cognitive development: dream content reflects dreamers' cognitive development- their knowledge and understanding

Sleep Disorders

Insomnia: recurring problems in falling or staying asleep

Narcolepsy: a sleep disorder characterized by uncontrollable sleep attacks. The sufferer may lapse directly into REM sleep often at inopportune times.

Sleep apnea: a sleep disorder characterized by temporary cessations of breathing during sleep and repeated momentary awakenings

Night terrors: a sleep disorder characterized by high arousal and an appearance of being terrified

Key People

Sigmund Freud: Believed that dreams had a hidden meaning, and were a way of expressing emotions that were otherwise unacceptable. He used manifest and latent content to describe the events that occur in dreams

Ernest Hilgard: Believed hypnosis involves not only social influence but also a special state of dissociation


Hypnosis: Ernest Hilgard tested a women by putting her hand in an ice bath, which would normally be painful. He told her she wouldn't feel pain. She didn't feel pain because of two theories: divided consciousness theory (hypnosis has caused a split in awareness), and the social influence theory (the subject is so caught up in the hypnotized role, that she ignores the cold).



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