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States of Consciousness

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Miss Schwinge

on 2 November 2016

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Transcript of States of Consciousness

States of Consciousness
Sleep and Rhythms
Consciousness is our awareness of ourselves and our environment.
There are several states of consciousness:
Why Do We Need Sleep?
Everyone knows that getting
enough rest
is vital for our
energy and mood levels,
but what happens when we don't get enough sleep?
Dreams
REM dreams
(hallucinations of the sleeping mind),
are vivid, emotional and bizarre.
They are often
so vivid
that we may
confuse
them with reality.
Hypnosis
Hypnosis
is defined as a social interaction in which the
hypnotist
suggests to the
subject
that certain perceptions, feelings, thoughts, or behaviors will
spontaneously occur.
Drugs
Although we may not think of
sleep
as a state of consciousness, it actually is what causes our bodies to roughly
synchronize with the 24 hour cycle of day and night.
It does this through the
circadian rhythm
("
circa
" being Latin for "
about
," and "
diem
" being Latin for "
day
"). Our
circadian rhythm is our biological clock,
our regular bodily rhythms that occur on a 24 hour cycle.
Bright light
in the morning tweaks the circadian clock by
activating light-sensitive retinal proteins
. These proteins
control the circadian clock by triggering signals to the brain's suprachiasmatic nucleus
(SCN) located in the brain's
hypothalamus
.
The
SCN
causes the brain's
pineal gland to decrease its production
of the sleep-inducing hormone
melatonin
in the
morning
or
increase it in the evening.
Sleep Stages
As we sleep, our brain goes through
several stages
of activity.
REM sleep
(rapid eye movement sleep) is a
recurring sleep stage during which vivid dreams commonly occur.
Your
muscles are relaxed
aside from minor twitches at this point, but
other body systems are active.
Measured with an
EEG
, we can see the
relatively slow alpha
waves of your
awake (but relaxed)
state. The
transition
is marked by the
slow breathing and irregular brain waves of Stage 1.
During this brief
Stage 1
, you may experience fantastic images resembling
hallucinations
(like the
sensation of falling or of floating weightlessly
). You then
relax more deeply
and begin about
20 minutes of Stage 2
sleep (which is where
sleeptalking
often occurs)
Then for the next few minutes you go through the
transitional Stage 3
(in which your brain begins to emit
large, slow delta waves
) to the
deep sleep of Stage 4.
These two
slow-wave
stages last for about
30 minutes
, during which you would be
hard to awaken
(for example, sleeping through a thunder storm). It is at the
end of Stage 4
that children may
wet the bed or begin sleep walking.
However, during
REM sleep your heart rate rises, your breathing becomes rapid and irregular, and your eyes dart around
in a momentary burst of activity behind closed eyelids. Although your
brain's motor cortex is active during REM sleep, your brainstem blocks its messages
, leaving muscles so relaxed that you are
essentially paralyzed.
The sleep cycle
repeats itself around every 90 minutes
, but the
deep Stage 4 sleep gets progressively briefer
and then disappears while the
REM and Stage 2 sleep periods get longer.
By morning,
around 25%
of our average night's sleep (some 100 minutes) has been
REM sleep.

Sleep deprivation lowers productivity, decreases memory, increases hunger, suppresses our immune system, and impairs daily functions.
Sleep Theories
We still don't know the exact reason why we need sleep, but
sleep may have evolved
for 5 reasons:

1.) Sleep Protects
-
a species' sleep pattern tends to suit its ecological niche
. Animals with the greatest need to graze and the least ability to hide tend to sleep less (giraffes sleep around 2 hours a day, elephants and horses sleep 3 to 4 hours a day, whereas gorillas and cats sleep between 12 and 14 hours a day.
2.) Sleep Helps Us Recuperate
-
it helps restore and repair brain tissue
, and allows unused connections to weaken.
Amygdala and sleep deprivation:
When
sleep deprived
, the
emotional
side of the brain is much
more activated.
3.) Sleep Is For Making Memories - it helps restore and rebuild our fading memories
of the day's experiences.

4.) Sleep Feeds Creative Thinking
-
a complete night's sleep gives us a boost in insight and allows us to discern connections
among different novel pieces of information.
5.) Sleep May Play A Role In The Growth Process
-
during deep sleep, the pituitary gland releases a growth hormone
, and as we age we release less of this hormone and spend less time in deep sleep.
Sleep Disorders
However, no matter what their normal need for sleep, around
25%
of the population suffers from
insomnia (a recurring problem in falling or staying asleep)
Narcolepsy
(from narco, "numbness," and lepsy, "seizure")
sufferers experience periodic, overwhelming sleepiness
. Attacks usually last less than 5 minutes, but sometimes occur at the most inopportune times.
Sleep apnea
(apnea = "with no breath") is a sleep disorder characterized by
temporary cessations
(stops)
of breathing during sleep and repeated momentary awakenings.
It affects around
1 in 20
Americans, and leads to
sleepiness and irritability
during the day.
Night terrors
target mostly children during
Stage 4
of sleep, where they may
sit up, walk around, talk incoherently, have a doubling of heart and breathing rate, and appear terrified.
Sleepwalking
and
sleeptalking
are also
Stage 4 sleeping disorders
that are usually harmless and often run in families.
Sigmund Freud
referred to the remembered story line of a dream (which incorporates traces of previous days' experiences and preoccupation) as its
manifest content.
Sensory stimuli
in our sleeping environment
may also intrude
(for instance, the ringing of your cell phone may become
integrated
into your dream)
William Dement and Edward Wolpert would spray cold water on dreamers' faces.
Compared with sleepers who did not get this treatment were
more likely
to dream about water. This shows us that even in REM we maintain
some awareness
of changes in our external environment.
Why Do We Dream?
There are several
dream theories
as to why we dream:
-
To satisfy our own wishes.
Freud believed that
a dreams' manifest (literal) content is a censored, symbolic version of its latent content
(which consists of unconscious drives and wishes)
For example, Freud would view a dreamt image of a gun as a disguised representation of a penis.
-
To file away memories.
Researchers who see dreams as
information processing
believe that
dreams may help sift, sort, and fix the day's experiences in our memory.
It has been proven that
stress
during the day will
increase
the number and intensity of dreams during the night; this may imply that the
brain is dealing with daily stress and information during REM dreams.
This may also be why
babies need more REM
sleep than adults: they're processing
so much new information
every day.
-
To develop and preserve neural pathways
. Some researchers believe that
dreams
give our sleeping brains
periodic simulation
, which helps keep our neuronal pathways healthy and happy.
-
To make sense of neural static
. Other theories propose that dreams erupt from
neural activity spreading upward from the brainstem.
According to one version,
activation-synthesis theory
, this
neural activity is random
, and dreams are the brain's attempt to make sense of it. This
stimulation originating within the brain
can
activate
brain areas that process
visual images
(NOT the visual cortex).
-
To reflect cognitive development
. Some researchers believe dreams have to do with the brain's
maturation and cognitive development.
They overlap with waking cognition, and feature coherent speech, as well as draw on our concepts and knowledge
Although psychologists cannot agree on a reason why we dream, they can agree on a phenomenon known as
REM rebound
; during which
the tendency for REM sleep increases after interrupted REM sleep
(also known as REM sleep deprivation)
This occurs in
most other mammals
, which suggests that the causes and functions of REM sleep are
deeply biological
.
This MRI scans show
brain shrinkage
in women with alcohol dependence.
With
repeated exposure
to a psychoactive drug,
the drug's effect lessens
. Thus it takes
bigger doses
to get the desired effect. This is known as
drug tolerance
.
To an extent, everyone is susceptible to hypnosis.
Daydreaming
is a form of
hypnosis.
Sway Test!
Hypnotherapists try to help patients harness their own healing powers through posthypnotic suggestions.
It's been shown to alleviate headaches, asthma, and stress related skin disorders (but so have placebos).
Nearly
10%
of us can become so
deeply hypnotized
that we can even
undergo major surgery without anesthesia.
Dissociation
is a split in consciousness, which allows some thoughts and behaviors to occur
simultaneously
with others.
Psychological dependence is not the same as physical dependence.
Physical dependence is a physiological need for a drug, marked by unpleasant withdrawal symptoms
when the drug is discontinued.
Psychological dependence
often refers to stress relieving drugs (like marijuana) that are not physically addictive, yet
can become an important part of the user's life as a way of relieving negative emotions.
Hypnotic pain relief may also result from another form of dual processing known as
selective attention
.
Support for this view comes from PET scans showing that
hypnosis reduces brain activity in a region that processes painful stimuli, but not in the sensory cortex
(which receives raw sensory input). This means
hypnosis does not block sensory input, but may block our attention to those stimuli.
Hallucinations without the shrooms
Full transcript