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Consciousness, pt 2.
Jason Bell Consciousness Lecture May 22


Sleep and its stages:

• “Sweet, mysterious sleep. We spend much of our lives in this altered state,
relinquishing conscious control of our thoughts, dreaming and remembering
little of it upon waking” (Ch6, p207 of your Passer text).

• In this second lecture on consciousness, we will delve into the nature of

sleep- how it is reflected in brain activity and what happens in its different
• What are the stages of sleep?
• What changes in the brain during sleep and between stages?
• When/why do we dream?

Stages of Sleep

• Circadian rhythms promote a readiness for


• Stages of sleep:
• We cycle through stages approximately every 90 minutes.
• Research on sleep tends to occur in laboratories where sleepers’
physiological responses are recorded.
• EEG recording of brain waves are one of the primary measures.
• Beta waves are present when you are awake and alert
• Alpha waves are present when you are feeling relaxed and
Stages of sleep

• Stage 1: Light sleep from

which you can be easily
• Brain wave pattern becomes
more irregular
• Sleep spindles begin to appear
• Presence of slower theta waves
Stages of sleep

• Stage 2: Deeper level of sleep

that is characterised by sleep
• Breathing and heart rate slow

• Muscles are more relaxed

• Dreams may occur

• More difficult to be awakened

Stages of sleep

• Stage 3: Slow and large delta

• Stage 4: The deepest level of
sleep, dominated by delta waves
• Stages 3 and 4 are referred to as
slow-wave sleep
• Body is relaxed
• Hard to wake
Stages of sleep

• REM sleep: rapid eye movements,

high arousal and frequent

• REM sleep paralysis: an inability to

move muscles

• Paradoxical sleep: the body is highly

aroused, yet there is very little

How much do we sleep?

• Changes that occur with age:
• We sleep less as we grow older

• REM sleep decreases during infancy/ childhood

but remains stable after

• Time spent in stages 3 and 4 declines with age

• Sleep deprivation
The use of sleep

• At a biological level sleep restores the body, but does it

have a cognitive use?

• Sleep and memory consolidation:

• REM-rebound effect: a tendency to increase the amount of REM sleep after
being deprived of it

• Memory consolidation: process by which the brain transfers information into

long-term memory

• Some researchers suggest that REM sleep keeps the brain healthy.
The nature of dreams

• When do we dream?
• Dreams can occur during any sleep stage, with an estimated 25% of vivid
dreams occurring outside of REM periods.

• The hypnagogic state is the transitional state from wakefulness through early
Stage 2 sleep.

• Dreaming most often occurs during REM sleep.

• What do we dream about?

• Most dreams are not as strange as they are stereotyped to be.

• Most take place in familiar settings and involve familiar people.

• They commonly contain negative content (aggressive acts, misfortune, negative

emotions, etc.).

• Life experience and current concerns shape content.

The nature of dreams

• Why do we dream?
– Freud’s psychoanalytic theory

• Wish fulfillment – the gratification of our unconscious desires and needs

• Manifest vs latent content

• Includes sexual and aggressive urges that are too unacceptable to be consciously

– Cognitive theories
• Problem-solving dream models can help us find creative solutions to our problems.
• Cognitive-process dream theories focus on the process of how we dream.
– Activation-synthesis theory
• Dreams do not serve any specific function.
• Brain is bombarded with random neural activity during REM sleep and the cerebral
cortex creates a plausible story from these random firings.
• This explains why many dreams seem bizarre.

Summary of Unit

• I hope the assessment & requirements in this course were clear.
• We give away 17% of the marks for participating in your learning during semester:
• Research participation helps you to understand research methods and current
questions in the field.
• Quizzes are marked on participation- we simply want you to learn at the rate we
teach, and provide feedback on your level of knowledge
• Lab classes are the chance for that small scale interaction and to reinforce learning

•Your lab report research project (the VR body experiment)

• I am so proud of what we presented to you: a world first study that no one in the
world knew the answer to.
• I will present our findings in Japan in July, at the Asia Pacific Conference on Vision
• Importantly, I believe that this project tied back in with the core content of the unit-
i.e. perception lectures and the role of context in our perceptual experience.
• We implemented a modern teaching aid, Virtual reality to try and enhance the
learning experience and make it fun

Summary of unit contd.

The exam
• Multi choice exam (2 hours)

Covers all of the content in the assigned readings

• This means chapters 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 & 11
• Not just the lecture content

The exam represents these chapters approximately evenly

– Each chapter is assessed

How do I test my knowledge?

• The quizzes from semester will be re-opened on Monday
• These quizzes draw from a pool, so you can/should take them more than
• This pool has all the exam questions, so you will see some exam Qs- the
more you practice, the more exam Qs you will see…
• + use Learnsmart modules on Connect, for each Chapter 1

Thank you for your participation in Psyc1101
• You are an important part of our research credentials and achievements

The knowledge gained in 1101 is of direct relevance to Psyc1102

• 1102 has the bits you probably thought of when you thought of psych:
developmental, abnormal, personality, social etc…
• All those aspects of individuals relate to the structure and function of the

My interests lie in visual perception, so I hope to see you all in Sensation

and Perception in 2021 or Cognitive Neuroscience in 2020

SURF and SPOT. Please take the time to give feedback on the unit + the
lecturers and tutors in the course.
To do SPOT, click on the SPOT icon on the left hand side of our LMS page
(open now till end of exam period). You will also have a chance to do
SPOT in your lab. ALSO… If you enjoyed the unit, please consider
nominating it/us for an award. 1