PSY-101: Principles of Psychology

PSY-101: Principles of Psychology

Chapter 5

Chapter 5: States of Consciousness

CONSCIOUSNESS Level of awareness of the sensations, thoughts, and feelings we experience at a given moment

● Wakefulness ● Daydreaming ● Sleep ● Intoxication ● Meditative ● Hypnotic

SLEEP Why do we spend about a third of our lives sleeping?

● A clean brain is a healthy brain ○ Waste products are removed from our brain cells

while we sleep ● Learning and memory

○ We consolidate memories during sleep to help the brain remain plastic for the upcoming day

● Physical development ○ Growth hormones released during sleep


● Waves similar to awake, but very relaxed; Easily awoken Stage 2

● Slower, more regular wave pattern; Deep relaxation Stages 3 & 4

● Heart rate and breathing slow dramatically ● Not “refreshed” if woken

REM – Rapid Eye Movement ● Paralyzed muscles; Dream state

DREAMS Freud’s take

● A window to the unconscious ●

More realistically… ● A byproduct of the memory consolidation process

SLEEP PROBLEMS Sleep debt & deprivation can lead to:

● Depression ● Stress ● Suppressed immune function ● Impairment similar to drunkenness

Insomnia ● Issues for at least 3 nights a week for at least one month ● Can be due to:

○ Use of stimulants, lack of exercise, medications, stress


● Decrease central nervous system activity ○ E.g., alcohol and the release of GABA

Stimulants ● Increase central nervous system activity

○ E.g., coffee and the release of Adenosine Opioids

● Pain relief and feelings of euphoria ○ E.g., fentanyl mimics our natural pain killing mechanisms

Hallucinogens ● Change perceptual experiences

○ E.g., marijuana and the Endocannabinoid System

DRUG ADDICTION Physical / Physiological dependence

● Brain prepares for use by giving us the opposite effect (e.g., we feel pain if addicted to an opioid) ○ Referred to as withdrawal ○ Typical dose brings us back to baseline, but then

we need an extra dose to get “high” ● Referred to as building a tolerance


● VERY misrepresented in media ● Person enters a hyper-relaxed state and becomes

susceptible to the power of suggestion

Meditation ● Refocus of attention

○ E.g., Mindfulness ● Can help manage stress, pain, and sleep problems

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