Learning Objectives

Describe the nature of consciousness and the selectivity of what we attend to and are aware of in our environment.

  • Define consciousness.
  • Explain whether people can attend selectively to one stimulus among many and the mechanism by which stimuli we try to block out still register on the mind.
  • Outline the mechanism that enables people to divide their attention so that they can engage simultaneously in more than one activity.
  • Discuss how we are influenced by stimuli that never register in our awareness.

Explain why sleep is a necessary function for many mammals, including humans.

  • Discuss whether people, like animals, are influenced by biological rhythms or whether they are flexible in their sleeping schedules.
  • Outline how researchers study sleep in the laboratory.
  • Differentiate among the stages of sleep and identify what makes REM sleep so special.
  • Explain what dreams are, why we have them, and what they mean.
  • Distinguish among common sleep disturbances and approaches suggested to address them.

Explain the phenomenon of hypnosis and how it is used in therapy.

  • Describe what hypnosis is and explain why it has always been controversial.
  • Summarize the current thinking regarding susceptibility to hypnosis.
  • Distinguish between common myths and realities related to hypnosis.
  • Relate how hypnosis can be useful in therapy.
  • Elaborate on the debate over whether hypnosis is an “altered” state of mind.

Identify psychoactive and addictive drugs and the effects of drug use on consciousness and long-term health.

  • Identify drugs that are considered psychoactive and addictive, and explain their mechanism of action.
  • Describe the effects on consciousness of alcohol and tobacco.
  • Relate the long-term health effects of illicit drugs.
  • Discuss whether people can control what is in the spotlight of consciousness.