Big dreams (vivid and memorable, transformative dreams you remember for the rest of your life) are once again on the minds of psychologists as part of a larger trend toward studying dreams as meaningful representations of our concerns and

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Big dreams (vivid and memorable, transformative dreams you remember for the rest of your life) are once again on the minds of psychologists as part of a larger trend toward studying dreams as meaningful representations of our concerns and emotions.”

Think about and be prepared to discuss to following:

*What does this quote mean to you?

*What is the importance of dreams?

*What meaning, if any, do you attach to dreams?




Altered states of consciousness, shifts from our normal waking state of consciousness.


*Psychoactive drugs



In all of the above mentioned states of consciousness, critical thinking is inhibited. (a dreamer may perceive an unrealistic dream as logical while he/she is experiencing it.)

Lesson 1: Consciousness

I. Waking Consciousness

A. Definition of consciousness. Consciousness is awareness of ourselves and our environment.

B.Historical psychological perspective on the study of consciousness

1. The emergence of behaviorism lessened the emphasis on the study of consciousness.

2. Consciousness as a legitimate field of psychological study re-emerged in the 1960s because of advances in neuroscience and interest in altered states of consciousness.

C. Philosophical discussion on the nature of consciousness

1. Mind-body problem: This explores what the relationship is between the physical body and brain and the immaterial mind and consciousness.

2. Dualism: Philosopher Rene Descartes saw the mind and the brain as separate entities that interacted to produce free will.

3. Materialism: This is the view that the mind is the brain and that complex physical interactions between neurons create consciousness.

II. Levels of Consciousness

A. Mental processes actually occur at different layers or levels

1. Conscious level: This is the level at which a person is aware of mental events at a given moment.

2. Nonconscious level: This is the level at which a person does not normally perceive or control mental processing consciously (e.g., blood pressure).

3. Preconscious level: This is the level at which a person's mental events that are outside of his/her current awareness can be brought into consciousness voluntarily (i.e., by remembering).

4. Unconscious: This is a structure that Sigmund Freud theorized but did not prove to exist that holds repressed memories/desires. Carl Jung believed that the unconscious mind is connected with a collective unconscious that contains ancestral memories

B. Experiments demonstrate the existence of levels of consciousness we are not aware of

1. "Priming": This is the term used for the phenomenon that people respond more quickly and/or accurately to stimuli they have previously experienced.

2. "Mere-exposure effect": This is the term for the phenomenon that people like seeing stimuli they have previously seen more than new stimuli, even when they do not consciously remember seeing them.

III. Altered States of Consciousness. These are shifts from our normal waking state of consciousness.

A. Hypnosis, psychoactive drugs, meditation and sleep all produce altered states of consciousness

B. Altered states of consciousness share some common characteristics

1. Critical thinking is inhibited (e.g., a dreamer may perceive an unrealistic dream as logical while he/she is experiencing it)

Lesson 2: Sleeping and Dreaming

I. Sleeping

A. Definition of Sleep: Sleep is an altered state of consciousness in which people become rela- tively, but not totally, unaware of external stimulation

B. Characteristics of Sleep

1. Human sleep patterns follow a circadian rhythm corresponding to a 24-1/2 to 26 hour daily cycle in the absence of external time cues.

2. Average adults experience four to six 90-minute cycles of NREM (non-rapid eye movement) and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep per night, although the ratio of NREM to REM sleep varies as the night progresses (see Sleep Chart, Appendix A).

3. Need for sleep varies among individuals, but ranges from 20 hours for infants to 6 hours for adults in their 70s.

a. Loss of sleep results in a suppressed immune system, impaired creativity and concentration, slowed performance and misperceptions on monotonous tasks.

b. Benefits of sleep include restoration of energy, repairing of brain and body tissue, and release of growth hormones.

4. A sleeper progresses through Stages 1 through 4, then climbs back from Stage 4 to Stage 1 or 2, then experiences REM sleep.

5. Forty to 50 percent of sleep takes place in Stage 2, which dominates the transition phase after the first two-three sleep cycles.

6. The average person progresses through the stages of sleep 4 to 6 times per night.

C. Stages of sleep: Quiet Sleep and Active Sleep

1. Stage 0: A person is relaxed with eyes closed

a. EEG shows alpha waves

b. This period of falling asleep is also called the hypnagogic state.

c. The "waking" period between being asleep and wakefulness is called the hypnopompic state.

2. Quiet Sleep: This is NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep

a. Stage 1 lasts from 30 seconds to 10 minutes (Note: All times are approximate and vary considerably in duration from person to person during a night's sleep) and is characterized by sensory images and slow rolling eye movements and recognized by the appearance of theta waves on an EEG.

b. Stage 2 lasts about 20 minutes and is recognized by the appearance of theta waves, sleep spindles and K-complexes on an EEG.

c. Stage 3 is the transition to Stage 4 sleep, recognized on an EGG by the beginning of delta waves.

d. Stage 4 is deep sleep lasting about 30 minutes, recognized by 20-50% delta waves in an EEG reading. (Note. The amount of time spent on Stages 3 and 4 varies as the night progresses. See Sleep Chart  in Appendix A.)

3. Active Sleep: This is REM (rapid eye movement) state of consciousness following a cycle of NREM sleep.

a. Some researchers consider REM to be a separate state of consciousness rather than a stage of sleep.

b. Nearly all dreams occur in REM.

c. Dreams that occur during REM are more vivid and story-like than dreams that occur in sleep Stages 2 or 3.

d. Periods of REM sleep typically increase during the night, from less than a minute to almost an hour, and they total about 25% of an average night's sleep.

e. REM sleep causes atonia which is temporary paralysis of the body during REM.

f. The brain seems to be active and awake while the body shows loss of muscle tone.

4. REM Sleep Function

a. During REM, hormones are released that influence the thinking process and counteract fatigue, irritability and inattention.

b. REM rebound is a phenomenon of increased REM sleep following a period of REM deprivation.

5. NREM Sleep Function During NREM sleep: the body replenishes itself physically in several ways for example, the pituitary gland releases growth hormones, and body tissues are restored.

ll. Dreaming

A. Definition of Dreaming: Dreaming is a series of thoughts, images or emotions usually occurring in story-like form during sleep.

1. Duration of dreaming ranges from a few seconds to a few minutes to as long as an hour.

2. Organization of dreaming is usually somewhat logical and story-like.

3. Lucid dreaming is a state of dreaming where the sleeper can direct the dream or is aware that she/he is dreaming.

B. Theories of Dreaming

1. Sigmund Freud viewed dreams as wish fulfillment in which the manifest content is a censored version of the latent content.

2. Activation-synthesis theory states that the dream story results from the brains trying to interpret meaningless, periodic, random neural firings occurring during REM.

3. Problem solving/information processing theory states that dreams are caused by peoples reviewing problems they faced during waking hours.

lll. Sleep Disorders

A. Insomnia: This is the inability to sleep that causes daytime fatigue.

1. Causes: Causes of insomnia includes depression and anxiety disorders, stress, diet, genetics and abnormal sleeping patterns.

2. Treatments: Treaments include sleeping pills, sleep restriction therapy, and stress management.

B. Narcolepsy: This is daytime sleeping disorder characterized by a sudden lapse into REM sleep and loss of muscle tension.

1. Cause: Research indicates that genetic factors may play a role and that medica- tion often helps treat narcolepsy. Because narcoleptics fall into REM sleep immediately, the brain mechanisms that suppress REM sleep may be part of the cause of the disorder.

2. Treatments: Stimulants and napping

C. Sleep apnea: This is a disorder in which the sufferer briefly stops breathing during sleep, wakes to resume breathing, and sleeps until the next stoppage, sometimes hundreds of times a night, resulting in daytime fatigue; more often found in men than women.

1. Causes: Causes include obesity, alcoholism and genetic factors.

2. Treatments: Treatments include weight loss and use of the nasal mask (C-PAP) while sleeping which provides a steady stream of air.

D. Parasomnias

1. SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) is a disorder in which a sleeping infant stops breathing and dies.

a. Causes: Causes are unknown, a possibility is problems in how the brain regulates breathing.

b. Treatments: Treatments include placing infants on their backs or sides during sleep.

2. Night terrors: There are intense frightening dreams during Stage 4 sleep, most prevalent among young boys.

a. Causes: Causes are unknown
b. Treatments: Treatments include medication

3. REM behavior disorder is characterized by the sleeper's physically acting out dreams, sometimes violently.

a. Causes: Causes are unknown

b. Treatments: Medication is one treatment

4. Jet lag is a temporary pattern of fatigue, irritability, inattention and sleeping problems caused by a change in the normal sleep routine.

a. Causes: Disruption of normal sleep patterns is one cause.

b. Treatment: Jet lag can be prevented or lessened by altering sleeping habits before changing sleep routine and by avoiding stimulants such as caffeine.

5. Sleepwalking (Somnambulism) is a delta-sleep parasomnia most common among young children.

6. Bruxism is severe teeth grinding during sleep.

7. Myclonus is the condition of sudden muscle contractions that a sleeper may experience soon after falling asleep.

lV. Activities

A. Activity 2.1: The Role of Prior Information in Dream Analysis

B. Activity 2.2: Sleep Disorders

C. Activity 2.3: To Sleep, Perchance To Dream

D. Activity 2.4: Relating Body Temperature and Circadian Rhythms

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