V. States of Consciousness (2–4%)



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V. States of Consciousness (2–4%)

Understanding consciousness and what it encompasses is critical to an appreciation of what is meant by a given state of consciousness. The study of variations in consciousness includes an examination of the sleep cycle, dreams, hypnosis, and the effects of psychoactive drug


AP students in psychology should be able to do the following:

• Describe various states of consciousness and their impact on behavior.

• Discuss aspects of sleep and dreaming:

— stages and characteristics of the sleep cycle;

— theories of sleep and dreaming;

— symptoms and treatments of sleep disorders.

• Describe historic and contemporary uses of hypnosis (e.g., pain control,psychotherapy).

• Explain hypnotic phenomena (e.g., suggestibility, dissociation).

• Identify the major psychoactive drug categories (e.g., depressants, stimulants)and classify specific drugs, including their psychological and physiological effects.

• Discuss drug dependence, addiction, tolerance, and withdrawal.



• Identify the major figures in consciousness research (e.g., William James, Sigmund Freud, Ernest Hilgard)

Lesson 1: Consciousness

  1. Waking Consciousness

    1. Definition of Consciousness- Consciousness is the

    2. 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 reemerged in the 1960s because of advances in neuroscience and interest in altered states of consciousness

    3. Philosophical discussion on the Nature of Consciousness

      1. Mind-body problem:

      2. Dualism:

      3. Materialism:

  2. Levels of Consciousness

    1. Mental Processes Actually Occur at Different Layers or Levels



    1. Experiments Demonstrate the Existence of Levels of Consciousness We Are Not Aware of

      1. "Priming": This is the term used for the phenomenon that

      2. "Mere-exposure effect": This is the term for the phenomenon that people like seeing



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

    1. Hypnosis, Psychoactive Drugs, Meditation, and Sleep All Produce Altered States of Consciousness

    2. Altered States of Consciousness Share Some Common Characteristics

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


  2. Other terms

    1. Biological Clocks- internal timing devices that

      1. Some set for hours, single day, monthly

      2. For humans important in regulation of sleep

      3. Also influences variations in blood pressure, alertness and body temperature. For example: body temperature peaks in the afternoon, lowest around 3-4 am

      4. Location of biological clocks

        1. Retina sends signals to small structure in the hypothalamus called the suprachaiamatic nucleus (SCN)- the SCN receives light info from a special set of ganglian cells in retina which then sends info to areas in the hindbrain that promote sleep or wakefulness

        2. The SCN signals the nearby pineal gland which secretes melatonin and plays a key role in adjusting biological clocks

      5. Circadian problems and treatments

        1. Accidents-

        2. Jet Lag-

        3. Resetting the clock-

      6. Melatonin- hormone secreted by pineal gland- increases with darkness and decreases with light

      7. Daydreaming- mildly altered state of consciousness- attention



Lesson 2: Sleeping and Dreaming

  1. Sleeping

    1. Definition of Sleep: Sleep is an altered state of consciousness in

    2. Characteristics of Sleep

      1. Human sleep patterns follow a circadian rhythm corresponding to

      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. (Babies have 50% REM sleep whereas adults have 25-30% REM sleep… REM helps us store memories, babies obviously learn more earlier on)

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

        • Loss of sleep results in



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

      2. Forty to 50 percent of sleep

      3. The average person progresses through the stages of sleep



    1. Stages of sleep: Quiet Sleep and Active Sleep



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



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

        • Stage 1

        • Stage 2

        • Stage 3

        • Stage 4

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

        • Nearly all dreams occur in REM

        • Dreams that occur during REM are more

        • Periods of REM sleep typically increase during the night, from

        • REM sleep causes atonia which is

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

      3. REM Sleep Function

        • During REM, hormones are released that influence

        • REM rebound is a phenomenon

      4. NREM Sleep Function.



  1. Dreaming

    1. Definition of Dreaming- Dreaming is a series of thoughts,

      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

    2. Theories of Dreaming



  1. Sleep Disorders

    1. Insomnia



    1. Narcolepsy



    1. Sleep apnea



    1. Parasomnias

      1. SIDS



      1. Night terrors:



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

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

        • Causes: Disruption of normal sleep patterns is one cause

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

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

      4. Bruxism is severe teeth grinding during sleep

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

Lesson 3: Hypnosis and Meditation

  1. Hypnosis

    1. Definiton of Hypnosis- Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness that is

    2. History of Hypnosis

      1. Franz Anton Mesmer (late 1700s)

        1. Mesmer was an Austrian physician.

        2. Mesmer originated "Mesmerism" which is a procedure for physical disorders

          1. In this procedure, afflicted body parts were thought to be cured by passing magnets over the body

          2. Some patients fell into a trance and awoke feeling better

          3. There was little scientific basis; investigated by two commissions that concluded results were due to imagination

      2. James Braid (1795-1860)

        1. Braid was an English surgeon.

        2. He coined "hypnosis" from the Greek "hypnos" (sleep)

        3. He explored hypnosis as a deep sleep-like state

      3. Jean Charcot (1825-1893)

        1. Charcot was a French neurologist.

        2. He explained hypnosis as a hysterical condition with three stages (lethargy, catalepsy, somnambulism)

      4. Hippolyte Bernheim (1840-1919)

        1. Bernheim was a professor of internal medicine.

        2. He explored hypnosis as a nonpathological state in which hypnotic phenomena are primarily the result of suggestion

        3. A major debate and disagreement ensued between Bernheim's followers and Charcot's followers

      5. Clark Hull (1920s)

        1. Hull was a professor and researcher at the University of Wisconsin and Yale University.

        2. He established the first experimental hypnosis lab at University of Wisconsin, Madison

        3. He was the first to demonstrate hypnotic phenomena were robust in the lab

      6. During the WWI and II eras, hypnosis was used as a psychological intervention

    3. Hypnotic Ability and Susceptibility



    1. Effects of Hypnosis on Memory

      1. Age regression is one effect

        1. Hypnotized people are not more childlike than nonhypnotized people who are asked to feign childlike behavior

        2. Inaccurate memories are common



      2. False recollections and increased confidence in false memories often occur



      3. Normal rules of memory formation, storage, and retrieval apply

      4. Hypnotically induced memories may be unreliable, which many therapists fail to appreciate

      5. Posthypnotic amnesia is a condition in which



    1. Changes Exhibited During Hypnosis Changes include:



      1. Redistributed attention



      2. Increased role-testing

      3. Reduced reality testing

    2. Performance of Acts Against One's Will During Hypnosis

      1. Hypnotized people are

      2. An authoritative person in a

    3. Controversy About Hypnosis as an Altered State

      1. Role and social influence theories suggest that:

        1. Hypnosis is not a special or altered state of consciousness, but merely a

        2. Hypnosis is not a unique physiological state

        3. Nonhypnotized persons can duplicate many aspects of behavior of hypnotized persons

      2. Altered state/divided consciousness theories suggest that:

        1. Existence of phenomena such as

        2. Divided consciousness, also known as the Hidden Observer Theory



    1. Uses of Hypnosis

      1. Some clinicians use posthypnotic suggestion to help patients control undesired symptoms and behaviors; a posthypnotic suggestion is a



      1. Hypnosis is used for pain control

      2. Hypnosis is used as part of treatment therapies

        1. It is used in the treatment of headaches, asthma, warts, stress-related skin disorders, self-control problems such as smoking, weight control, and nail biting

        2. It is unclear whether the benefits of hypnosis surpass the benefits of mere positive suggestion without hypnosis

  1. Meditation

    1. Meditation is a technique

    2. Physiological Effects



    1. Correlates

    2. Mechanism

      1. It is unclear what causes the health and emotional effects

      2. The same effects can also be attained by biofeedback, hypnosis, and simple relaxation


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