Notebook, 1993-

Return to - Notes for a Perspective on Art Education -- NOTES on Child Development

Notes from: Coon, Dennis. Introduction to Psychology, Exploration and Application. St. Paul: West Publishing Company, 1989.

The Brain, Biology, and Behavior - Sensation & reality - Perceiving the World - States of Consciousness

Conditioning & Learning - Cognition & Creativity - Artificial Intelligence - Enhancing Creativity

Emotion - Health, Stress & Coping - ANS Effects

Theories of Personality - Dimensions of Personality - From Birth to Death - Child Development

States of Consciousness

1. STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS. The many faces of awareness.

Consciousness. State of awareness, wakefulness and alertness. It consists of all the sensations, perceptions, memories, and feelings that you are aware of at any given instant. An everchanging "stream," or flow of awareness, as WIlliam James noted.

Waking consciousness. It is organized, meaningful and clear. It is perceived as real, and it is marked by a familiar sense of time and place.

Altered state of consciousness. (ASC) Different from normal, alert, waking consciousness. A distinct change in the quality and pattern of mental activity. Typically, there are shifts in perceptions, emotions, memory, time sense, thinking, feelings of self-control, and suggestibility.

[Sleep, dreaming, and daydreaming. Consciousness related to fatigue, delirium, hypnosis, drugs, and ecstasy differ markedly from "normal" awareness. Changes in consciousness that may accompany long-distance running, listening to music, making love, or other circumstances.]

It is an innate biological rhythm essential to survival. We will spend some 25 years of life in a strange state of semi-consciousness called sleep

REM sleep.. Rapid eye movements. Usually about 1 and 1/2 hours a night. Associated with dreaming and daytime stress. Time of high emotion, heart beats irregularly, and blood pressure and breathing waver. Males and females both sexually aroused. However, the body still, immobilized, as if the person were paralyzed.

NREM sleep.. Occurs mainly during stages 2,3, and 4. Dream-free ca. 90 % of time. Associated with exercise or physical exertion. Body is not immobilized at this time.

Hypnic jerk.. Reflex muscle contraction triggered when muscles relax in stage l.

Myoclonus.. Muscles spasms in legs that occur during sleep itself causes insomnia.

Microsleep.. A brief shift in brain activity to patterns normally recorded during sleep.

Common reactions to extended sleep loss:. Inattention, staring, trembling hands, drooping eyelids, and an increased sensitivity to pain.

Sleep-deprivation psychosis.. Confusion and disorientation, delusions (false or distorted beliefs), and hallucinations in reaction to loss of sleep (more than 60 hours deprivation --more likely at 100-200 hours of loss --and more severe reactions in older adults.

Sleep Patterns.. Once a day, 2-l ratio of time awake and time asleep (7-8 hours is average). Long sleepers tend to be daytime "worriers." Short sleepers are typically "non-worriers." Need of sleep decreases from infancy (20 hours a day in 2- to 4-hour cycles) to adulthood, and people over 50 average only about 6 hours of sleep a night.

Electroencephalograph. (EEG). Brain wave machine can measure changes. Brain gives off tiny electrical signals that can be amplified and recorded --show a pattern of brain waves.

Somnambulist.. Sleepwalkers. They avoid obstacles, descend stairways, climb trees, and on rare occasions may step out windows or in front of automobiles. Eyes are usually open, but a blank face, a lack of recognition, and shuffling feet show person is still asleep. Waking does no harm. Just not necessary. Occurs during NREM sleep stages 3 and 4.

Sleeptalking.. NREM stage and appears to be an outlet for NREM "thinking."

Nightmare.. Simply a bad dream that takes place during REM sleeping.

Night terror.. Stage 4. Person suffers total panic, may sit up, scream, get out of bed, run around the room, may hallucinate frightening dream images into the room itself. Attach may last 15-20 minutes. Person awakens drenched in sweat, but only vaguely remembers the terror itself. Occurs during NREM sleep (when the body is not immobilized).

Narcolepsy.. REM sleep intrudes into waking state. Sudden irresistible sleep attacks. Fall immediately into REM sleep. From a few minutes to a half hour. May fall asleep while standing, talking, or even driving. Emotional excitement, especially laughter, commonly triggers narcolepsy.

Cataplexy.. May accompany narcolepsy --a sudden temporary paralysis of the muscles, leading to complete body collapse.

Insomnia.. Trouble getting to sleep. May be Temporary. May become drug dependent.

Sleep Apnea.. Snoring, breath-holding. Breathing stops for periods of 20 seconds to 2 minutes. Need for oxygen becomes intense. Person wakes a little and gulps air. Settles back to sleep. Breathing stops again. Cycle is repeated hundreds of times a night.

Hypersomnia.. Daytime sleepiness, caused by sleep apnea or insomnia.

SIDS.. Sudden infant death syndrone. "Crib death." Most frequent cause of death for infants under l year of age. 10,000 victims a year in U.S. Might be apnea due to immature breathing centers in the brainstem. Maybe a defect that stalls the heart during sleep. Maybe direct blockage of the nose.

Most people dream 4 or 5 times a night, but not all people remember their dreams. They are usually spaced about 90 minutes apart. The first dream lasts only about 10 minutes; the last averages 30 minutes and may run as long as 50. Occur in real time, not as a "Flash." REM rebound occurs if someone denied dreaming --it's made up! Alcohol suppresses REM sleep and sets up rebound effect.

Dream Theories.. Most theorists agree that dreams reflect our waking thoughts, fantasies, and emotions. Do all dreams have hidden meanings? Probably not. Although, Many psychologists continue to believe that dreams have deeper meaning. Seems to be little doubt that dreams can make a difference in our lives --have an effect. In recent years the idea that dreams can only be interpreted by a professional has given way to acceptance of the personal nature of dream meanings.

Psychodynamic Dream Theory:. Freud's belief that Many dreams represent wish fulfillment, and conscience relaxes during sleep, allowing dreams to express unconscious desires and conflicts in disguised dream symbols. He identified four dream processes: Condensation (a single character might represent several people at once --authority figure), Displacement (wreck the car rather than person with whom one is angry), Symbolization (images that are symbolic and not literal in their meaning), Secondary elaboration (meaning is disguised-tendency to make a dream more logical).

.Activation-Synthesis Hypothesis:. The brain is turned on (activated) during sleep and then generates and integrates (synthesizes) its own sensory and motor information. The Allan Hobson and Robert McCarley view that certain brain cells that normally control eye movements, balance, and actions are activated during REM sleep. However, messages are blocked before actually reaching body, so no movement occurs. But, the cells continue to tell higher brain areas of their activities. Struggling to interpret this information, the brain searches through stored memories and manufactures a dream.

From this perspective, dreams have no "latent" or hidden meanings. They are merely a different type of thought that occurs during sleep

Findings of Calvin Hall. (A noted authority on dreams, he has collected and analyzed over 10,000 dreams) (He prefers to think of drams as plays and the dreamer as a playwright --to consider the setting, cast of characters, plot, and emotions portrayed):

Suggestion of dream researcher, Rosalind Cartwright.. Dreams are primarily "feeling statements." The overall emotional tone of a dream is a major clue to its meaning. Comical, threatening, joyous, depressing? Were you lonely, jealous, frightened, in love, or angry? Encourages use of everyday dream life as a source of varied experience and personal enrichment and considers dream explorations an avenue for personal growth.

An altered state of consciousness, characterized by narrowed attention and an increased openness to suggestion. Ca. 8 out of 10 people can be hypnotized, but only 4 out of 10 will be good hypnotic subjects. People who are imaginative and prone to fantasy are often highly responsive to hypnosis. Certain factors common to all techniques. They all encourage a person to (1) focus attention on what is being said, (2) to relax and feel tired, (3) to "let go" and accept suggestions easily, and (4) to use vivid imagination. It has no effect on physical strength. There is evidence it can enhance memory, but increasing number of false memories as well. It can relieve pain, induce relaxation, alter sense perception, and can be used as an adjunct to psychological therapy and counseling. Validity of age regression through hypnosis is doubtful. Suggestions concerning sensations are most effective --to alter color vision, hearing sensitivity, time sense, perception of illusions, smell, and many other sensory responses.

Any major reduction in external stimulation. has been one of the most widely used means of altering consciousness. When faced with limited or monotonous stimulation, these people have at times had bizarre sensations, dangerous lapses in awareness, and wildly distorted perceptions. Few subjects could take more than 2 or 3 days of total sensory deprivation without "pushing the panic button." Emerging from sensory deprivation, some people experience color distortions, heightened visual illusions, slower reactions, and a brief warping of visual lines and spaces. Also strange and vivid images were reported. Most consistent after-effects of sensory deprivation is increased sensory acuity --vision, hearing, touch, and taste are temporarily more sensitive. Is used to aid creative thinking. Another benefit is brief periods can be relaxing to most people. Can be helpful in changing habits, to quit smoking, etc. REST or Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy.

Hypnogogic images. Fanciful, dreamlike visions that sometimes do occur --similar to those that may occur just before going to sleep. Vivid and exciting, they are rarely mistaken for real objects. They are related to increase in number of theta waves produced by the brain - waves in the 4- to 7-cycle-per-second range, are usually recorded just before sleep.

Alcohol, Heroin, Amphetamines, Barbiturates, Marijuana, Cocaine, LSD, Caffeine, Nicotine.

Psychoactive drug. A substance capable of altering attention, memory, judgment, time sense, self-control, emotion, or perception. Surest way to alter human consciousness.

Addiction. Any compulsive habit pattern. A person who has lost control of his or her drug use. Accompanied by Drug tolerance. User must take larger and larger doses to get the desired effect.

Physical dependence. Compulsive use to maintain bodily comfort. Occurs most often with drugs that cause withdrawal symptoms.

Psychological dependence. User feels drug is necessary to maintain emotional or psychological well-being. Usually based on an intense craving for the drug and its rewarding qualities.

Patterns of abuse:

STIMULANTS (uppers). Amphetamines, Cocaine, Caffeine, Nicotine.

DEPRESSANTS (downers). Barbiturates and Alcohol.

Psychosomatic drug is a substance that alters consciousness --alters attention, memory, judgment, sense of time, self-control, emotions, and perceptions.

Activation-synthesis dream theory of Robert McCarley and Allan Hobson that the brain is activated during sleep and generates and integrates its own sensory and motor information. Freud's psychodynamic theory is a believe in meaningful symbolic nature of dream content. Freud recorded dream processes he labeled as condensation, displacement, symbolization, and secondary elaboration.

Addiction is any compulsive habit pattern in which a person has lost control --accompanied by a drug tolerance, more and more of a dosage is required to maintain its desired effect.

[Notes from: Coon, Dennis. Introduction to Psychology, Exploration and Application. St. Paul: West Publishing Company, 1989.]



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