Consciousness and the Two-Track Mind Chapter 3 Consciousness and the Two-Track Mind

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Consciousness and the Two-Track Mind Chapter 3

Consciousness and the Two-Track Mind

  • The Brain and Consciousness
    • Cognitive Neuroscience
    • Dual Processing

Try this….

  • 1. Lift your right foot off the floor and make Clockwise Circles.
  • 2. Now, while doing this, draw the number “6″ from top to bottom in the air with your
  • Right Hand.
  • Sleep and Dreams
    • Biological Rhythms and Sleep
    • Why Do We Sleep?
    • Sleep Disorders
    • Dreams
  • Hypnosis
    • Facts and Falsehoods
    • Explaining the Hypnotized State
    • Drugs and Consciousness
    • Dependence and Addiction
    • Psychoactive Drugs
    • Influences on Drug Use
    • Near-Death Experiences

Forms of Consciousness

  • Consciousness, modern psychologists believe, is an awareness of ourselves and our environment.
  • Bill Ling/ Digital Vision/ Getty Images
  • Christine Brune
  • Stuart Franklin/ Magnum Photos
  • AP Photo/ Ricardo Mazalan

Selective Attention

  • Our conscious awareness processes only a small part of all that we experience. We intuitively make use of the information we are not consciously aware of.

Inattentional Blindness

  • Inattentional blindness refers to the inability to see an object or a person in our midst. Simons & Chabris (1999) showed that half of the observers failed to see the gorilla-suited assistant in a ball passing game.

Change Blindness

  • Change blindness is a form of inattentional blindness in which two-thirds of individuals giving directions failed to notice a change in the individual asking for directions.
  • © 1998 Psychonomic Society Inc. Image provided courtesy of Daniel J. Simmons.

Sleep & Dreams

  • Sleep – the irresistible tempter to whom we inevitably succumb.
  • Mysteries about sleep and dreams have just started
  • unraveling in sleep laboratories around the world.

Biological Rhythms and Sleep

  • Circadian Rhythms occur on a 24-hour cycle and include sleep and wakefulness. Termed our “biological clock,” it can be altered by artificial light.
  • Light triggers the suprachiasmatic nucleus to decrease
  • (morning) melatonin from the pineal gland
  • and increase (evening) it at nightfall.

Sleep Stages

  • Measuring sleep: About every 90 minutes, we pass through a cycle of five distinct sleep stages.
  • Hank Morgan/ Rainbow

Awake but Relaxed

  • When an individual closes his eyes but remains awake, his brain activity slows down to a large amplitude and slow, regular alpha waves (9-14 cps). A meditating person exhibits an alpha brain activity.

Sleep Stages 1-2

  • During early, light sleep (stages 1-2) the brain enters a high-amplitude, slow, regular wave form called theta waves (5-8 cps). A person who is daydreaming shows theta activity.
  • Theta Waves

Sleep Stages 3-4

  • During deepest sleep (stages 3-4), brain activity slows down. There are large-amplitude, slow delta waves (1.5-4 cps).

Stage 5: REM Sleep

  • After reaching the deepest sleep stage (4), the sleep cycle starts moving backward towards stage 1. Although still asleep, the brain engages in low- amplitude, fast and regular beta waves (15-40 cps) much like awake-aroused state.
  • A person during this sleep exhibits
  • Rapid Eye Movements (REM)
  • and reports vivid dreams.

90-Minute Cycles During Sleep

  • With each 90-minute cycle, stage 4 sleep decreases and the duration of REM sleep increases.

Why do we sleep?

  • We spend one-third of our lives sleeping.
  • If an individual remains awake for several days, immune function and concentration deteriorates and the risk of accidents increases.
  • Jose Luis Pelaez, Inc./ Corbis

Sleep Deprivation

  • Fatigue and subsequent death.
  • Impaired concentration.
  • Emotional irritability.
  • Depressed immune system.
  • Greater vulnerability.


  • Frequency of accidents increase with loss of sleep

Sleep Theories

  • Sleep Protects: Sleeping in the darkness when predators loomed about kept our ancestors out of harm’s way.
  • Sleep Helps us Recover: Sleep helps restore and repair brain tissue.
  • Sleep Helps us Remember: Sleep restores and rebuilds our fading memories.
  • Sleep may play a role in the growth process: During sleep, the pituitary gland releases growth hormone. Older people release less of this hormone and sleep less.

Sleep Disorders

  • Insomnia: A persistent inability to fall asleep.
  • Narcolepsy: Overpowering urge to fall asleep that may occur while talking or standing up.
  • Sleep apnea: Failure to breathe when asleep.

Sleep Disorders

  • Children are most prone to:
  • Night terrors: The sudden arousal from sleep with intense fear accompanied by physiological reactions (e.g., rapid heart rate, perspiration) which occur during Stage 4 sleep.
  • Sleepwalking: A Stage 4 disorder which is usually harmless and unrecalled the next day.
  • Sleeptalking: A condition that runs in families, like sleepwalking.


  • The link between REM sleep and dreaming has opened up a new era of dream research.

What We Dream

  • Negative Emotional Content: 8 out of 10 dreams have negative emotional content.
  • Failure Dreams: People commonly dream about failure, being attacked, pursued, rejected, or struck with misfortune.
  • Sexual Dreams: Contrary to our thinking, sexual dreams are sparse. Sexual dreams in men are 1 in 10; and in women 1 in 30.
  • Manifest Content: A Freudian term meaning the story line of dreams.

Why We Dream

  • Wish Fulfillment: Sigmund Freud suggested that dreams provide a psychic safety valve to discharge unacceptable feelings. The dream’s manifest (apparent) content may also have symbolic meanings (latent content) that signify our unacceptable feelings.
  • Information Processing: Dreams may help sift, sort, and fix a day’s experiences in our memories.

Why We Dream

  • Physiological Function: Dreams provide the sleeping brain with periodic stimulation to develop and preserve neural pathways. Neural networks of newborns are quickly developing; therefore, they need more sleep.

Why We Dream

  • Activation-Synthesis Theory: Suggests that the brain engages in a lot of random neural activity. Dreams make sense of this activity.
  • Cognitive Development: Some researchers argue that we dream as a part of brain maturation and cognitive development.
  • All dream researchers believe we need REM sleep. When
  • deprived of REM sleep and then allowed to sleep,
  • we show increased REM sleep called REM Rebound.

Dream Theories

  • Summary


  • Hypnos: Greek god of sleep
  • A social interaction in which one person (the hypnotist) suggests to another (the subject) that certain perceptions, feelings, thoughts, or behaviors will spontaneously occur.

Facts and Falsehood

  • Those who practice hypnosis agree that its power resides in the subject’s openness to suggestion.
  • Can anyone experience hypnosis?
  • Yes, to some extent.
  • Can hypnosis enhance recall of forgotten events?
  • No.

Facts and Falsehood

  • Can hypnosis be therapeutic?
  • Yes. Self-suggestion can heal too.
  • Can hypnosis alleviate pain?
  • Yes. Lamaze can do that too.
  • Can hypnosis force people to act against their will?
  • No.

Explaining the Hypnotized State

  • Social Influence Theory: Hypnotic subjects may simply be imaginative actors playing a social role.
  • Divided Consciousness Theory: Hypnosis is a special state of dissociated (divided) consciousness (Hilgard, 1986, 1992).
  • (Hilgard, 1992)
  • Courtesy of News and Publications Service, Stanford University

Both Theories

  • Mimi Forsyth

Drugs and Consciousness

  • Psychoactive Drug: A chemical substance that alters perceptions and mood (affects consciousness).

Dependence & Addiction

  • Continued use of a psychoactive drug produces tolerance. With repeated exposure to a drug, the drug’s effect lessens. Thus it takes greater quantities to get the desired effect.

Withdrawal & Dependence

  • Withdrawal: Upon stopping use of a drug (after addiction), users may experience the undesirable effects of withdrawal.
  • Dependence: Absence of a drug may lead to a feeling of physical pain, intense cravings (physical dependence), and negative emotions (psychological dependence).

Misconceptions About Addiction

  • Addictive drugs quickly corrupt.
  • Addiction cannot be overcome voluntarily.
  • Addiction is no different than repetitive pleasure-seeking behaviors.

Psychoactive Drugs

  • Psychoactive drugs are divided into three groups.
  • Depressants
  • Stimulants
  • Hallucinogens


  • Depressants are drugs that reduce neural activity and slow body functions. They include:
  • Alcohol
  • Barbiturates
  • Opiates


  • Alcohol affects motor skills, judgment, and memory…and increases aggressiveness while reducing self awareness.
  • Drinking and Driving
  • Daniel Hommer, NIAAA, NIH, HHS
  • Ray Ng/ Time & Life Pictures/ Getty Images


  • 2. Barbiturates: Drugs that depress the activity of the central nervous system, reducing anxiety but impairing memory and judgment. Nembutal, Seconal, and Amytal are some examples.


  • 3. Opiates: Opium and its derivatives (morphine and heroin) depress neural activity, temporarily lessening pain and anxiety. They are highly addictive.


  • Stimulants are drugs that excite neural activity and speed up body functions. Examples of stimulants are:
  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine
  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy
  • Amphetamines
  • Methamphetamines

Caffeine & Nicotine

  • Caffeine and nicotine increase heart and breathing rates and other autonomic functions to provide energy.

Why Do People Smoke?

  • People smoke because it is socially rewarding.
  • Smoking is also a result of genetic factors.
  • Russel Einhorn/ The Gamma Liason Network

Why Do People Smoke?

  • Nicotine takes away unpleasant cravings (negative reinforcement) by triggering epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, and endorphins.
  • Nicotine itself is rewarding (positive reinforcement).


  • Cocaine induces immediate euphoria followed by a crash. Crack, a form of cocaine, can be smoked. Other forms of cocaine can be sniffed or injected.


  • Ecstasy or Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is a stimulant and mild hallucinogen. It produces a euphoric high and can damage serotonin-producing neurons, which results in a permanent deflation of mood and impairment of memory.


  • Hallucinogens are psychedelic (mind-manifesting) drugs that distort perceptions and evoke sensory images in the absence of sensory input.
  • Ronald K. Siegel


  • LSD: (lysergic acid diethylamide) powerful hallucinogenic drug that is also known as acid.
  • THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol): is the major active ingredient in marijuana (hemp plant) that triggers a variety of effects, including mild hallucinations.
  • Hemp Plant


  • Summary

Influences on Drug Use

  • The graph below shows the percentage of US high- school seniors reporting their use of alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine from the 70s to the late 90s.

Influences on Drug Use

  • The use of drugs is based on biological, psychological, and social-cultural influences.

Marijuana Use

  • The use of marijuana in teenagers is directly related to the “perceived risk” involved with the drug.

Influence for Drug Prevention and Treatment

  • Education about the long-term costs
  • Efforts to boost people’s self-esteem and purpose
  • Attempts to modify peer associations and teaching refusal skills

Near-Death Experiences

  • After a close brush with death, many people report an experience of moving through a dark tunnel with a light at the end. Under the influence of hallucinogens, others report bright lights at the center of their field of vision.
  • (From “Hallucinations” by R.K. Siegel. Copyright
  • © 1977 Scientific American, Inc. All rights reserved.)

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