States Of Consciousness Term Paper

Length: 2 pages Sources: 1+ Subject: Psychology Type: Term Paper Paper: #11736261 Related Topics: Sleep Deprivation, Hypnosis, Self Awareness, Psychodynamic Theories
Excerpt from Term Paper :

¶ … consciousness has been studied actively since the 1960s. Interestingly, Taylor (2003) notes, "Consciousness is a subtle phenomenon, which has so far resisted all attempts to understand it." Taylor's statement may be an exaggeration, as the author of this assigned reading goes on to discuss a number of facets of consciousness that have been well studied. These include biological rhythms, facets of waking consciousness, automatic vs. controlled processing, shifts in self-awareness, sleep, and drugs that alter consciousness.

This article notes that circadian rhythms can be either short-term or longer term, and are simply biological rhythms that occur as regular changes in our bodily functions and processes. The pineal gland plays an important role in long-term biological rhythms like hibernation through its production of melatonin. Human differences between day and night people is a common example of biological rhythms in humans.

The author then moves on to examine common disturbances in circadian rhythms, including jet lag and shift work. Jet lag occurs when we have trouble adjusting our internal clock to a change in location. Importantly, light can act to reset our internal clocks, thus alleviating symptoms of disturbed circadian rhythms seen in shift workers and those suffering from jet lag.

The author then provides an excerpt titled "counteracting the 'drowsy driver' syndrome. This article suggests a number of ways to increase driver alertness, including drugs, caffeine, and environmental stimuli, including sounds and pleasant fragrances.

Waking states of consciousness are then examined,...


Controlled processing occurs when thought and behavior are largely consciously controlled, while automatic processing occurs when little conscious attention occurs (such as when we tie our shoelaces). Our attempts to control our own thoughts and actions are underscored by an intentional operating process (which occurs when our mind looks for mental information that produces a state we want and an ironic monitoring process (which looks for a mental construct that fails to achieve the state we desire).

Self-awareness is then examined, including the stimuli that lead to self-awareness and what changes occur when we become self-aware. During heightened self-awareness, the author notes "we compare our current states (our behavior, feelings, and thoughts) to internal standards" (p. 132). Morin (2002) describes self-awareness as "a higher form of consciousness." Self-awareness often occurs when we pass a mirror or have a photograph taken. Reflection occurs when self-awareness is motivated by curiosity, while rumination occurs when self-awareness is motivated by fear. The author notes that the common experience of choking under pressure can occur when we become self-aware, interfering with automatic processing, or increasing arousal.

Sleep is then discussed in the context of a change in consciousness. Revonsuo and Valli (2000) note that dreaming involves complex "sequences of subjective experience." Psychologists study sleep by measuring electrical activity in the brain. Sleep is characterized by a number of electrical measurements, including…

Sources Used in Documents:


Morin, Alain. 2002. Self-awareness review part 1: Do you 'self-reflect' or 'self-ruminate'? SCR, December, No. 1. 26 August 2004.

Chapter: States of Consciousness. p. 121 -154.

Revonsuo, Antti and Valli, Katja. 2000. Dreaming and Consciousness: Testing the Threat Simulation Theory of the Function of Dreaming. PSYCHE, 6(8), October 2000. 26 August 2004.

Tart, Charles T. 1975. States of Consciousness. First published by E.P. Dutton & Co., New York, in 1975. ISBN 0-525-20970-0. August 26, 2004.
Taylor, John G. 2003. An Attention-Based Control Model of Consciousness (CODAM). Science & Consciousness Review, 2003. August 26, 2004.

Cite this Document:

"States Of Consciousness" (2004, August 26) Retrieved June 30, 2022, from

"States Of Consciousness" 26 August 2004. Web.30 June. 2022. <>

"States Of Consciousness", 26 August 2004, Accessed.30 June. 2022,

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