Consciousness is our awareness of ourselves and our environment. Conscious information processing enables us to exercise control and to communicate our mental states to others. Beneath the
surface, unconscious processing occurs simultaneously on many parallel tracks.
Our daily schedule of waking and sleeping is governed by a biological clock known as circadian rhythm. Our sleep also follows a repeating cycle. Awakening people during REM sleep yields
predictable “dreamlike” reports that are mostly of ordinary events. Freud’s view that dreams can
be traced back to erotic wishes is giving way to newer theories, for example, that dreams help ...view middle of the document...
Discuss the history of psychology’s study of consciousness, and contrast conscious and
unconscious information processing.
Psychology began as the study of consciousness, our awareness of ourselves and our environment.
But the difficulty of scientifically studying consciousness led many psychologists to turn to direct
observations of behavior, and by the middle of the twentieth century psychology was defined as
the science of behavior. By 1960, mental concepts began to reenter psychology, and today, investigating states of mind is again one of psychology’s pursuits. Advances in neuroscience made it possible to relate brain activity to various mental states—waking, sleeping, dreaming.
Conscious information processing enables us to exert voluntary control and to communicate our
mental states to others. It takes place in sequence, is relatively slow, and has limited capacity.
Beneath the surface, faster unconscious processing occurs simultaneously on many parallel tracks.
For example, when we meet someone, we instantly and unconsciously react to gender, race, and
appearance, and then become aware of our response.
Sleep and Dreams
➤ Exercises: The Sleep and Dream Information Questionnaire-Revised; The Sleep IQ Test; Larks or Owls?; Am I Sleep
Deprived?; Sleep Strategies
➤ Projects: Keeping a Sleep Diary; Telephone Screening for Daytime Sleepiness; Remembering Daydreams;
Remembering Night Dreams; Catching the Hypnagogic State; Dreaming and Problem Solving
➤ Lectures: Afternoon Naps; The Neural Basis of Biological Rhythms; Melatonin; How Long Can Humans Stay
Awake?; Sleep and Memory; Sleep Disorders; Treating Insomnia
➤ PsychSim 5: EEG and Sleep Stages
➤ Transparencies: 90 Brain Waves and Sleep Stages; 91 The Stages in a Typical Night’s Sleep; 92 Are You Sleep
➤ Videos: Modules 13, 14, and 15 of The Brain Series, 2nd ed.: Sleep and Circadian Rhythms, Sleep: Brain Functions,
and REM Sleep and Dreaming; Segments 13 and 15 of the Scientific American Frontiers Series, 2nd ed.: Catching
Catnaps and Can You Beat Jet Lag?; Segment 14 of the Scientific American Frontiers Series, 2nd ed.: What’s in a
Dream?; Module 9 of Psychology: The Human Experience: Circadian Rhythms
2. Distinguish four types of biological rhythms, and give an example of each.
Over varying periods of time, physiological fluctuations called biological rhythms affect human
functioning. For example, on an annual cycle, people may experience seasonal variations in
appetite, sleep length, and moods. Similarly, many believe that the 28-day female menstrual cycle
causes fluctuating moods. Humans also experience 24-hour cycles of varying alertness, body temperature, and growth hormone secretion. Finally, people move through various stages of sleep in
3. Describe the cycle of our circadian rhythm, and identify some events that can disrupt this
Our daily schedule of waking and sleeping is governed by a biological...