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1400 Consciousness

Consciousness Key Terms

Consciousness The process by which the brain creates a model of internal and external experience.
Cognitive neuroscience An interdisciplinary field emphasizing brain activity as information processing.
Nonconscious processes Any brain process that does not involve conscious processing, including both preconscious memories and unconscious processes.
Preconscious memories Information that is not currently in consciousness but can be recalled to consciousness voluntarily or after something calls attention to them.
Daydreaming A common (and quite normal) variation of consciousness in which attention shifts to memories, expectations, desires, or fantasies and away from the immediate situation.
Circadian rhythms Physiological patterns that repeat approximately every 24 hours, such as the sleep-wakefulness cycle.
Non-REM (NREM) sleep The recurring periods, mainly associated with the deeper stages of sleep, when a sleeper is not showing rapid eye movements.
Manifest content The story line of a dream, taken at face value without interpretation.
Latent content The symbolic meaning of objects and events in a dream. Latent content is usually an interpretation based on Freud’s psychoanalytic theory or one of its variants.
Activation-synthesis theory The theory that dreams begin with random electrical activation coming from the brain stem. Dreams, then, are the brain’s attempt to make sense of—to synthesize—this random activity.
Insomnia The most common of sleep disorders—involving insufficient sleep, the inability to fall asleep quickly, frequent arousals, or early awakenings.
Sleep apnea A respiratory disorder in which the person intermittently stops breathing many times while asleep.
Night terrors Deep sleep episodes that seem to produce terror, although any terrifying mental experience (such as a dream) is usually forgotten upon awakening. Night terrors occur mainly in children.
Narcolepsy A disorder of REM sleep, involving sleep-onset REM periods and sudden daytime REM-sleep attacks usually accompanied by cataplexy.
Cataplexy Sudden loss of muscle control.
Hypnosis An induced state of awareness, usually characterized by heightened suggestibility, deep relaxation, and highly focused attention.
Meditation A state of consciousness often induced by focusing on a repetitive behavior, assuming certain body positions, and minimizing external stimulation. Meditation may be intended to enhance self-knowledge, well-being, and spirituality.
Psychoactive drugs Chemicals that affect mental processes and behavior by their effects on the brain.
Hallucinogens Drugs that create hallucinations or alter perceptions of the external environment and inner awareness.
Opiates Highly addictive drugs, derived from opium, that can produce a profound sense of well-being and have strong pain-relieving properties.
Depressants Drugs that slow down mental and physical activity by inhibiting transmission of nerve impulses in the central nervous system.
Stimulants Drugs that arouse the central nervous system, speeding up mental and physical responses and increasing activity level by encouraging communication among neurons in the brain.
Physical dependence A process by which the body adjusts to, and comes to need, a drug for its everyday functioning.
Addiction A condition in which a person continues to use a drug despite its adverse effects—often despite repeated attempts to discontinue using the drug. Addiction may be based on physical or psychological dependence.
Psychological dependence A desire to obtain or use a drug, even though there is no physical dependence.
Created by: mrcronk