States of Consciousness- Chapter 4

Generally psychologists divide consciousness into 2 areas
1. waking consciousness or conscious awareness
2. altered state of consciousness ASC

Consciousness: The continuous stream of perceptions, thoughts, feelings, or sensations of which we are aware from moment to moment
Altered state of consciousness: A mental state other than the ordinary waking consciousness, such as sleep, meditation, hypnosis or a drug-induced state

Circadian Rhythms: 24 hour Clock
The Biological Clock -most body functions sleep/wake,body temp, blood pressure vary predictably over day -these rhythms are our biological clock
Hormones epinephrine-causes body to go on alert peaks in late morning and declines to midnight where it drops off
melatonin-level surge at night and drop off during day -we rarely notice circadian rhythm until disturbed --fly distance-jet lag shift worker-result may be weight loss -irritability -insomnia -more than 100 of our body functions and behaviours fluctuate in 24 hour cycles, called Circadian Rhythms and are controlled by the brain: blood pressure,heart rate, appetite,digestive enzymes, sensory acuity, elimination, response to medication, learning ebb and flow, mood

Circadian Rhythms: Within each 24 hour period, the regular fluctuation from high to low points of certain body functions

examples: Normal body temperature can range between low of 36.1C between 4-5 am to a high of 37C between 5-8 pm
-we sleep best when body temperature is low and are most alert when temperature is higher
-attention/alertness decreases between 2-5 pm and between 2 am and 7 am
-studies show that subjects not exposed to environmental cues naturally fell into a 25 hour schedule
-disruptions to circadian rhythms: jet lag, shift work cause problems such as poor sleep, digestive problems, job performance-many accidents occur when person works in period called "subjective night" when their body is telling them they should be asleep

-exposure to appropriately timed light can reset a person's biological clock

-we are only aware of a small portion of what goes around
-internal and external-hot cold pressure smell equilibrium, thoughts
-to make sense we select important ones to attend to
-there is a highly selective nature of attention
-being completely absorbed can lead to altered state -zone-flow state
-we perform some tasks better when we are not aware of each movement

-takes deliberate effort to enter altered consciousness via hypnosis,drugs or meditation
-but daydreaming is universal and takes little effort-an escape
-daydreams provide mini movie where you are star/master

-1/3 of life asleep-some societies believe universal truth revealed in sleep
SLEEP don’t know why we need to sleep -some believe sleep restores effective functioning of body/brain -most researchers view sleep as a circadian rhythm
-almost everyone goes through several stages of sleep -each stage marked by brain waves, muscular activity, blood pressure and body temperature

Two major categories of Sleep:

NREM Sleep: Non-rapid eye movement sleep has four sleep stages characterized by slow regular respiration and heart rate, an absence of rapid eye movement and blood pressure and brain activity at low point of 24 hour clock
REM Sleep: Sleep characterized by rapid eye movement, paralysis of large muscles, fast/irregular heart rate, increased brain wave activity and vivid dreams

TWILIGHT STAGE: drowsy -irregular low voltage alpha waves -similar to relaxed wakefulness lying on beach
STAGE 1 -tight low amplitude waves that resemble alert -slowing of pulse-muscles relaxed-side to side eye movements -still easily aroused at this stage -lasts a few moments
STAGE 2 and 3 -increased brain wave amplitude slower -sleeper is harder to awaken -heart rate, blood pressure, body temp drop
STAGE 4 -slow delta waves -heart rate, BP, temp as low as will go in night
-delta sleep lessens with age
- -when sleep lost delta first to be made up
ONE hour after asleep sleeper moves from 4-->3-->2..>1 (40 minutes) -heart, BP increase yet muscles are more relaxed -eyes move rapidly REM SLEEP -first stage 1 REM lasts 10 minutes-followed by stage 2,3,4, non REM -normal night consists of 4-5 cycles -at first 3 and 4 dominate then stage 1 REM increases 45% is stage 2 -25% is REM

sleep cycle a cycle of sleep lasting about 90 minutes and including one or more stages of NREM sleep followed by a period of REM sleep
slow wave sleep stages 3 and 4; deep sleep
delta wave sleep the slowest brain-wave pattern; associated with stage 3 and 4
stage 4 sleep the deepest NREM stage of sleep, characterized by EEG of more than 50% delta waves

Sleep patterns change with age
-younger sleep more, more REM

Microsleep: a momentary lapse from wakefulness into sleep usually occurring when a person is sleep deprived
REM Rebound: the increased amount of sleep that comes after REM deprivation; often associated with unpleasant dreams or nightmares
REM Dreams: dreamlike story quality dream that occurs continuously during REM; vivid, visual, emotional, bizarre
NREM Dreams: Mental activity during NREM more thought like than REM dream

visual and auditory experiences minds conjure primarily in REM
-awakened during REM report graphic dreams=seem vivid because state of arousal similar to waking
-REM may be brain restoration -studies show humans spend more time in REM after learning difficult material
-interfering with REM can disrupt memory for newly learned -staying up all night before exam may alter memory

-closer to waking dreams are more on recent event -in middle of night dreams may focus on past -most dreams last as long as they would in life-stories or series of stories -external events may modify dream
Do we need to dream? -subjects awoke to prevent REM anxious testy, difficulty in concentrating -deprived of REM causes rebound- double of REM
SLEEPTALKING-walking-Night Terrors -most occur during delta sleep- more common in children-more boys sleep terrors different from nightmare-can not be recalled 4-12 Sleep Deprivation -inadequate sleep a national epidemic 1/3-->1/2 don't get enough sleep -makes it more difficult to pay attention-reaction time slows productivity declines-affect those in high risk-Three Mile Island nuclear accident

Sleep Disorders

Parasomnias-Unusual Behaviours during sleep

Parasomnias: Sleep disturbances where behaviours and physiological states that normally occur only during the waking state take place during sleep or the transition from sleep to wakefulness
Somnambulism: Sleepwalking that occurs during partial arousal from stage 4 sleep
Sleep terror: A sleep disturbance where a person partially awakens from stage 4 sleep with a scream, in a dazed, groggy, racing heart, panicky state
Nightmare: a frightening dream occurring during REM
Sleeptalking: can occur during any stage often stage 1 or 2


Narcolepsy: a serious sleep disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden uncontrollable attacks of REM sleep usually 10-20 minutes-usually has triggers
Sleep apnea: a sleep disorder characterized by periods when breathing stops during sleep and person must awaken briefly to breathe; major symptoms are excessive daytime sleepiness and loud snoring
Insomnia: a

Sensory Deprivation

-50s and 60s experiments at McGill in sensory deprivation chamber
-restricted visual auditory and tactile stimulation-released from restraints only for meals and bathroom -volunteers unable to study-irritable-hallucinate altered perceptions
-alternating states of drowsy...sleep..wakeful
-difficult to separate dream from hallucination


Meditation: A group of techniques involving focussing attention on an object, a word, breathing or body movement in order to block out distractions and achieve altered state of consciousness


Hypnosis: a trance-like state of concentrated, focused, attention, heightened suggestibility and diminished respond to external stimuli

controversy around hypnosis- no clear definition-people report different things

Hypnotic Susceptibility -people vary greatly in susceptibility-if you are easily carried away by book or movie may be susceptible -appears to be partly learned and partly inherited -parents who encourage imagination may contribute-also in restrictive environment -susceptibility varies according to age -child more susceptible -setting important

Inducing Hypnosis -focus attention on voice concentrate on object guided imagery

Clinical Application -difficult to assess not universally effective-can be more effective than morphine for certain types of pain-hypnosis may strengthen will


-since ancient times people have used drugs for social, religious, personal reasons
-wine a sacrament-marijauna alluded to in Chinese emperor herbal book in 2737 BC
-Indians in Ecuador use drugs to contact 'real world'
-north America- alcohol caffeine, tea cola, cigarettes plus illegal drugs
-problems associated with drug abuse as long as recorded
-Buddha 2500 years ago suggested avoidance of intoxicants -Greeks moderation in all things - -substance abuse costs business 100 billion a year through absenteeism 15,000 die from drugs millions injured-smoking millions of deaths

Psychoactive drug: a drug that alters normal mental functioning- mood, perception, or thought; if used medically is called a "controlled substance"

How do we tell if someone dependent?
-defined broadly to include tea caffeine then most use some type of drug -most use in moderation and have no ill effects

Signs of substance dependence 3 of 7 symptoms

1. tolerance-and increasing amount to gain desired effect

2. withdrawal symptoms-anxiety nausea convulsions hallucinations

3. using substance for longer or greater quantity than intended

4. persistent desire or repeated effort to cut back

5. spending large amount of time obtaining or using

6. giving up reducing social, occupational activities

7. continuing use in face of physical or psychological problems

Drug Dependence (physical) a compulsive pattern of drug use where the user develops a drug tolerance coupled with unpleasant withdrawal sym,ptoms when the drug is discontinued
Drug Tolerance: a condition where the user becomes progressively less affected by the drug so that larger does are necessary
Withdrawal symptoms: physical and psychological symptoms (usually opposite to those produce by drug) that occur when a regularly used drug is discontinued and that terminate when drug is taken again
Drug Dependence (psychological): a craving or irresistible urge for a drug's pleasurable effects

Four factors influence the addictive potential of a drug:
1. How quickly the effects of drug are felt
2. How pleasurable the drug's effects are
3. How long the pleasurable effects last
4. How much discomfort is felt when the drug is discontinued


Caffeine: most widely used drug, contained in coffee, tea, cola, chocolate, over the counter drugs, prescription drugs causes alertness but can lead to anxiety depression hostility used in excess
Nicotine: contained in tobacco,so strong that body develops a tolerance in hours; associated with health problems
Amphetamine: a class of central nervous system stimulants that increase arousal, relieve fatigue and suppress appetite Large doses cause confusion, paranoia, hallucination, delusion, aggression
Cocaine: Stimulant producing euphoria, stimulates brain, constricts blood vessels, raises BP, increases heart rate
Crash: Feelings of depression, exhaustion, irritability and anxiety following an amphetamine, cocaine or crack high
Crack: The most potent, inexpensive and addictive form of cocaine, smoked

CAFFEINE: naturally occurs in tea coffee cocoa
-many of stimulatory effects illusory
-often in experiments subject thinks he/she is doing better
-caffeine reduces number of sleep minutes and increase time to fall asleep
-medications-pain relievers cold allergy
-generally benign but large doses 5 cups of coffee can cause anxiety palpitations insomnia
-can interfere with prescribed medications
-can aggravate psychiatric disorders

NICOTINE -more dangerous than caffeine-naturally in tobacco
-stimulant effect but higher doses acts as depressant
-immediate effects increased heart rate constricted blood cells increased risk lung cancer cardiovascular disease and blindness
-elevation in mood increases neurotransmitters-produces craving
-shares traits with highly addictive drugs such as cocaine amphetamines withdrawal: nervousness insomnia headaches irritable craving

-reports date 500 years back-used to treat asthma and narcolepsy
-popularity stems from use in military during WWII
-students to keep awake -suppress appetite- easy to get prescription up till 70s
- potential abuse great because of effects on consciousness and behaviour
-side effect- happiness rush euphoria crash depression amphetamine psychosis-paranoid delusions aggressive
-MDMA- ecstasy loss of inhibition-long term effects on mood sleep
Ritalin children -abuse now an issue


-16th c Spanish discovered in Peru-used on workers so they worked harder-cut down on food rations -mid 19th c popular in wine and coca cola
-famous users Freud colleague used for anesthetic-Novocain -recently popular as crack cocaine-smoked
EFFECTS-mirror amphetamine but not as long lasting
-euphoria, clarity of thought, increase hear rate constriction of blood vessels-dilate pupils -as wears off some crash anxiety depression craving
-1/3 - 1/2 experience paranoia hallucination attention problem
-effects of crack are faster than amphetamines reach brain in 10 sec-as level decreases depression anxiety-birth defects-shaking premature
causes: complex combination of biological, psychological and social factors for each individual and for each substance -development of abuse does not follow established pattern


Hallucinogens: category of drugs, sometimes called psychedelics that alter perception and mood and can cause hallucinations
LSD a powerful hallucinogen with unpredictable effects ranging from perceptual changes and vivid hallucinations to states of panic and terror
Marijuana: a hallucinogen with effects ranging from relaxation and giddiness to perceptual distortions and hallucinations
THC The principal psychoactive ingredient in marijuana and hashish

-many occur in natural form mushroom -cactus LSD- interest in 40s pharmacologist reported kaleidoscope of colours 60s decline then increase in interest
-hallucinogens no withdrawal effects but tolerance grows -users tend to get tired of it-bad trips flashbacks-panic, paranoia aggression

-lengthy history in China Greece India -popular this Century in NA -popular in 20s then lost popularity in 30s revived in 60s
-estimated that 50 million Americans have tried it 4th most popular drug for students after alcohol, caffeine and nicotine-usage in youth increasing -ingredient THC less potent than hallucinogens but shares some properties
EFFECTS: euphoria gaiety-relax veg, munchies
PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECTS: dilates blood vessels in eyes -dry mouth increased thirst and hunger mild muscular weakness -potential respiratory and cardiovascular damage -distortion of time -alteration of attention and memory 1/3 of trauma victims in one hospital had THC in blood -panic attack temporal disintegration- forget in mid stream -apathy- diminished capacity

Medical Use: recently legalized in Canada for terminal disease, severe illness (April 2001)


Depressants: drugs that decrease activity in the central nervous system, slow down bodily functions and reduce sensitivity to outside stimulation
Downers: slang term for depressants
Alcohol: a central nervous system depressant
Barbiturates: A class of central nervous system depressants used as sedatives, sleeping pills, and anesthetics, addictive, and in overdose can cause coma or death
Tranquilizer (minor) A central nervous system depressant that calms the user (valium, Librium, Xanax)
Narcotics: derived from the opium poppy, a class of depressant drugs that have pain relieving calming effects
Heroin: A highly addictive partly synthetic narcotic derived from morphine

-alcohol consumption increasing among young-social costs high auto accidents-spousal abuse, child abuse-during pregnancy-fetal alcohol syndrome
-40% of heavy drinkers die before 65-even moderate to light drinking correlated to shorter life -popular due to short term effect-depressant calms-relieves stress
-paradoxically alcohol can inhibit brain centres and be experienced as stimulant-impulsive behaviour -long term consequence
-alcohol affects frontal lobes which relate to impulse/reasoning
-as it increases cerebellum affected- motor control -eventually affect is on spinal cord: breathing, body temp heart rate
-compromises perception, motor and memory depth perception, time
-heavy drinker blackouts -also people are affected by their own expectation
-men and women are affected differently party weight difference but also a stomach enzyme -highly addictive devastating long-tern affects
LONG TERM ALCOHOL ABUSE -memory loss, decreased sexual drive, kidney liver damage cancers anxiety brain damage -alcohol use tends to run in families-genetic basis- not sure of exact role -self esteem-environment

-downers-amytal Nembutal seconal -first prescribed as sedative anti convulsant -sometimes prescribed for insomnia anxiety epilepsy arthritis -prescribed to sleep but disrupt natural sleep patterns
EFFECTS- similar to alcohol-lightheaded silly-poor coordination -slurred speech, loss of inhibition -increase in aggression -during pregnancy birth defects -may enhance memory sometimes-may cause amnesia -small dose as truth serum

OPIATES -use may go back 6000 years-a medicine for ancients a poison for ancient kings -widely used in syrups and potions in 19 th century and early 20 th century-by end of 19th century addiction recognized as problem
EFFECTS: euphoria well-being relaxation pleasant side effects short lived replaced by undesirable changes in mood or behaviour -in advanced stages it is a painkiller to ward off symptoms of withdrawal withdrawal: restlessness, yawning, chills hot flash -goose bumps "cold turkey" -prolonged sleep cramps -vomiting diarrhea, convulsions sweating about a week -illegal and expensive-results often in criminal activity-violence



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copyright 2001 Karen E.Hamilton