Consciousness Do you exist?
Descartes • Believed that the Mind and the Brain were two separate things • The mind is not made of matter, it is akin to the soul or the spirit • This position became known as Dualism • According to Descartes our ability to think proved our existence – Cogito Ergo Sum – ‘I think therefore I am’ • Likewise the ability to conceive of god must itself constitute the existence of God
Problems with Cartesian Dualism • Brain damage leads to a change in phenomenology – conscious experience • Drugs effect conscious experience • Exactly how the mind (non material) interacts with the brain (material) cannot be demonstrated – magic is not a scientific answer • What is the mind made of? • If we have a Mind why do we need a brain? • Studies show that neural activity precedes conscious awareness of such activity – your brain ‘thinks’ then you become aware of it!
Try these mind benders on for size! • How do you know what you think until you ‘hear’ yourself think it? • Where do your thoughts come from? Or who decides to think your thoughts? • Who are you? A body? A brain? A spirit? A Soul? • What can you think without language?
Is consciousness an illusion?
There goes the rug from under your feet…. • Research shows that neural activity consistently precedes the conscious will to act • Libet’s research (1985) • Participants looking at a clock with a moving dot • Asked to state the position of the dot whenever they consciously decided to move their fingers • Results showed that brain activity started before the participants were conscious of the desire to move!
William James • Consciousness can be likened to a stream • Continuous, Flowing, changing, with many levels • Essays in Radical Empiricism (1912) he set out the metaphysical view most commonly known as “neutral monism,” according to which there is one fundamental “stuff” that is neither material nor mental. • Reality or Pure experience, as he called it comes about when two bodies or minds interact, and reality is only accessible in the relations into which they enter
Normal Waking Consciousness Its um normal right?
Characteristics of NWC • Attention • Selective attention • Divided Attention • Content Limitations • What you think about is normal, logical and ordered • Controlled Processes (tasks) • Require selective attention • Automatic processes (tasks) • Can be completed with divided Attention
The Stroop Effect • Tendency is to automatically read the word • Reading is an automatic process • Takes much longer to state the colour of the ink as we have to prevent automatic processing and impose controlled processing • Conclusion – automatic processing takes precedence over controlled processing
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The Stroop Effect – research methods • SAC 2 will be on Stroop’s research • You will need to make sure you are very familiar with this study • You need to know… • IV and DV • Extraneous variables • Experimental and control group • Research design • Counter balancing • Results • Conclusions • So what the hell is all that? And why learn about research methods?