Chapter 5: States of Consciousness

Definitions of Consciousness

Consciousness: All the sensations, perceptions, memories, and feelings you are aware of in any instant – Waking Consciousness: Normal, clear, organized, alertness Altered State of Consciousness (ASC): Changes that occur in quality and pattern of mental activity


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Innate, biological rhythm Microsleep: Brief shift in brain-wave patterns similar to those during sleep

Figure 6.4


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Sleep Deprivation: Sleep loss; being deprived of needed amounts of sleep Sleep-Deprivation Psychosis: Confusion, disorientation, delusions, and hallucinations that occur because of sleep loss Sleep Patterns: Daily rhythms of sleep and waking


• Circadian Rhythms: Bodily changes that • • • •

occur every 24 hours Biological Rhythm: Any repeating cycle of biological activity Day person vs. Night person-hard to change Shift work, lack of light/winter Body temperature can indicates rhythm (lowest just before optimum waking time, warmest at awake peak)

Measuring Sleep Changes

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Electroencephalograph (EEG): Brain-wave machine; amplifies and records electrical activity in the brain Beta Waves: Small fast waves associated with being alert and awake Alpha Waves: Large, slow brainwaves associated with relaxation and falling asleep

Stage 1 Sleep

Small, irregular waves produced in light sleep (people may or may not say they were asleep) – Hypnic Jerk: Reflex muscle contraction

Stage 2 Sleep

Deeper sleep; sleep spindles (bursts of distinctive brain-wave activity) appear

Stage 3 Sleep

Deeper sleep; Delta waves appear; very large and slow

Stage 4 Sleep

Deepest level of normal sleep; almost purely Delta waves

Two Basic Kinds of Sleep

Rapid Eye Movements (REM): Associated with dreaming; sleep is very light – Body is very still during REM sleep – Lack of muscle paralysis during REM sleep is called REM Behavioral Disorder – REM happens in “Stage One” but usually not the first Stage One…

Non-REM (NREM) Sleep

• Occurs during stages 1, 2, 3, and 4; no rapid
eye movement occurs – Seems to help us recover from daily fatigue – EEG patterns return to Stage 1

Some Sleep Disturbances

Insomnia: Difficulty in getting to sleep or staying asleep – Sleeping pills exacerbate insomnia; cause decrease in REM and Stage 4 sleep and may cause dependency Drug-Dependency Insomnia: Sleeplessness that follows withdrawal from sleeping pills

Types and Causes of Insomnia

Temporary Insomnia: Brief period of sleeplessness caused by worry, stress, and excitement – Avoid fighting it and read a book, for example, until you’re struggling to stay awake

Some More Sleep Concerns

• Chronic Insomnia: Exists if sleeping troubles •
last for more than three weeks -Adopt regular schedule; go to bed at the same time each night, for example Tryptophan: Amino acid (chemical) that produces sleep -Eat something starchy prior to bed

Sleep Disturbances

• •

Sleepwalking (Somnambulism): Occurs in NREM sleep during Stages 3 and 4 Sleeptalking: Speaking while asleep; occurs in NREM sleep

Some Other Sleep Disturbances

• Nightmares: Bad dreams that occur during

REM sleep – May occur once or twice a month; brief and easily remembered – Imagery Rehearsal: Mentally rehearse the changed dream before you go to sleep again; may help to eliminate nightmares

Night Terrors

Night Terrors: Total panic and often hallucinations of frightening dream images may occur – Occurs during Stage 4 sleep – Most common in childhood; may occur in adults – Not remembered

Physiological Sleep Problems

Sleep Apnea: Repeated interrupted breathing during sleep; cause of very loud snoring – Hypersomnia: Extreme daytime sleepiness – Apnea can be treated by • Surgery • Weight loss • Breathing mask

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

• •

Sudden, unexplained death of an apparently healthy infant (infants should sleep on back or on side to try to prevent) Also known as Crib Death


• Psychodynamic (Freudian) Theory: • •

Emphasizes internal conflicts, motives, and unconscious forces Wish Fulfillment: Freudian belief that many dreams are expressions of unconscious desires – Much evidence to refute this Dream Symbols: Images that have a deeper symbolic meaning

More on DREAMS: Freud made some findings on dream design: Four dream processes (mental filters) that hide true meanings of dreams: • SECONDARY ELABORATION: Making a dream more logical and adding details while remembering it • SYMBOLIZATION: Non-literal expression of dream content • DISPLACEMENT: Directing emotions or actions toward safe or unimportant dream images • CONDENSATION: Combining several people, objects, or events into a single dream image

One suggestion: focus on the emotional content for insight into the meaning of your dreams. How did you feel vs. plot or content?

Activation-Synthesis Hypothesis: • Dream content may be affected by motor commands in the brain during sleep that are not carried out Perl’s View: • Most dreams are a special message about what is missing in our lives, what we avoid doing when awake, or feelings that we need to re-own • Dreams fill in gaps in our personal experience


• Altered state of consciousness characterized
by intensely narrowed attention and increased openness to suggestion – Mesmer: Believed he could cure diseases by passing magnets over body; true “animal magnetism” (“mesmerize” means to hypnotize) – Must cooperate to become hypnotized

Hypnotic Susceptibility

• •

How easily a person can be hypnotized Basic Suggestion Effect: Tendency of hypnotized people to carry out suggested actions as though they were involuntary

Table 6.2

Hypnosis Can

• Help people • •

relax Reduce pain Get people to make better progress in therapy

Hypnosis Cannot

• • • •

Stage Hypnosis: Simulation of hypnotic effects, done to entertain Produce acts of superhuman strength Produce age regression Force you to do things against your will

Tricks of the Hypnosis Trade

• Waking Suggestibility: People on stage do not • •

want to spoil the act, so they will follow any instruction Selection of Responsive Subjects: Any “volunteer” who does not get hypnotized in the stage group and does not follow instructions is removed The Hypnosis Label Disinhibits: On stage, once you are “in a hypnotic trance,” your responsibility for actions is removed; you can do whatever you want!

More Stage Hypnosis “Tricks of the Trade”

• Hypnotist as Director: Once they are in a • •

trance, the “volunteers” are suddenly the show’s stars, and they will act like it; the hypnotist only needs to direct them Stage Hypnotists Use Tricks: Stage hypnosis is 50% deception and 50% taking advantage of the situation Conclusion: Stage hypnotists entertain; they rarely hypnotize

• •
Mental exercise designed to focus attention and interrupt flow of thoughts, worries, and analyses Concentrative Meditation: Attention is paid to a single focal point (i.e., object, thought, etc.) – Produces relaxation response and thus works to reduce stress Receptive Meditation: Based on widening attention span to become aware of everything experienced at a given moment

More on Meditation

Mantra: Word(s) or sound(s) repeated silently during concentrative meditation Relaxation Response: Occurs at time of relaxation; innate physiological pattern that opposes body’s fight or flight responses

Sensory Deprivation (SD)

• Any major reduction in amount or variety of •
sensory stimulation Benefits – Sensory enhancement – Relaxation – Changing habits – Benefits called REST: Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy

Figure 6.12

Open, nonjudgmental awareness of current experience-being “in the moment” and “open” or “empty” of expectations…

Drugs and Altered States of Consciousness

• •

Psychoactive Drug: Substance capable of altering attention, judgment, memory, time sense, selfcontrol, emotion, or perception Stimulant: Substance that increases activity in body and nervous system Depressant: Substance that decreases activity in body and nervous system


Physical Dependence: Addiction based on drug tolerance and withdrawal symptoms – Drug Tolerance: Reduction in body’s response to a drug – Withdrawal Symptoms: Physical illness following withdrawal of the drug Psychological Dependence: Drug dependence based on psychological or emotional needs

Figure 6.13


Amphetamine: Synthetic stimulants that excite nervous system – Dexedrine and Methamphetamine are two types of stimulants Amphetamine Psychosis: Loss of contact with reality because of amphetamine use; user tends to have paranoid delusions

Interaction of Dopamine and Amphetamines


Central Nervous System stimulant derived from leaves of coca plant; also used as local anesthetic – From 1886-1906, CocaCola did indeed have cocaine in it! – Highly addictive drug – Anhedonia (Inability to Feel Pleasure): Common after cocaine withdrawal

Interaction of Dopamine and Cocaine


• •

Most frequently used psychoactive drug in North America; present in colas, chocolate, coffee, tea Causes tremors, sweating, talkativeness, tinnitus, suppresses fatigue or sleepiness, increases alertness – May be hazardous to pregnant women if used excessively; may cause birth defects


Physiological dependence on caffeine – Symptoms include: Insomnia, irritability, loss of appetite, chills, racing heart, elevated body temperature


• • • •

Natural stimulant found mainly in tobacco; known carcinogen In large doses it causes stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, tremors Addictive Smoking responsible for 97% of lung cancer deaths in men, 74% in women


Understanding Addiction

Sedatives, MDMA

Sedatives: Barbiturates: Sedative drugs that depress brain activity – Seconal and Amytal are two types MDMA (Ecstasy): Chemically similar to amphetamine; created by small variations in a drug’s structure – May cause severe liver damage and fatal heat exhaustion – Repeated use damages serotonergic brain cells

Interaction of GABA and Barbiturates


GHB (GammaHydroxybutyrate): Central Nervous System (CNS) depressant that relaxes and sedates; combination of degreasing solvent and drain cleaner – Sedative effects may result in nausea, loss of muscle control, and either sleep or a loss of consciousness – Inhibits gag reflex, so some choke to death on their own vomit – Addictive and deadly


Tranquilizers: Lower anxiety and reduce tension – Valium, Xanax, Halcion, and Librium are four types – Rohypnol: Related to Valium; lowers inhibitions and produces relaxation or intoxication; larger doses can induce short-term amnesia and sleep • Date rape drug because it’s odorless and tasteless (“Roofies”)

Dramatic Health Declines Result From Polysubstance Abuse: Drug Interactions


Ethyl Alcohol: Intoxicating element in fermented and distilled liquors – NOT a stimulant but DOES lower inhibitions – Depressant

Binge Drinking

Consuming five or more drinks in a short time, or four or more for women – Serious sign of alcohol abuse – May lead to up to 10 percent loss of brain power, especially memory

How a Drinking Problem may Develop (Jellinek, 1960)

• • •

Initial Phase: Social drinker turns to alcohol to relieve tension or feel good Crucial Phase: Person begins to lose control over drinking Chronic Phase: Person is now alcohol dependent

Treatment: Alcohol Abuse and Dependence
Detoxification: Withdrawal of the person from alcohol; occurs in a medical setting and is tightly controlled; oftentimes necessary before longterm treatment begins

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

• Worldwide self-help organization composed

of recovering alcoholics; emphasizes admitting powerlessness over alcohol usage and wanting to recover – Spiritual component – Free; around for over 70 years! Rational Recovery, and Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS): Nonspiritual AA Alternatives

Devastating Consequences…

Table 6.3a

Table 6.3b

Some Hallucinogens

• • • •

Hallucinogen: Substance that alters or distorts sensory impressions Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD): Hallucinogen that can produce hallucinations and psychotic disturbances in thinking and perception Mescaline (Peyote) and Psilocybin (Magic Mushrooms) PCP (Angel Dust): Initially can have hallucinogenic effects; also an anesthetic and has stimulant and depressant effects

Marijuana (Pot)

Cannabis Sativa (Marijuana; Pot): Leaves and flowers of the hemp plant – Active chemical: THC – Effects: Relaxation, time distortion, perceptual distortions – Psychologically, NOT physiologically, addictive

Some Health Risks of Using Marijuana

• • • •

Can cause precancerous changes in lung cells Can suppress immune system, increasing risk of disease Activity levels in the cerebellum are lower than normal in pot users Pot may damage some of the brain’s memory centers- “Pothead”

Recovery Awaits!