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States of consciousness Part 2
Goals of the day
drugs and consciousness
What is hypnosis?
The common perception of hypnosis is that it is
a trance-like, socially induced altered state of
Is it really an altered state of consciousness?
Does it work? Would you undergo hypnosis
rather than Novocain to deaden pain before
getting a cavity filled or during child birth?
Hypnosis is . . .
a social interaction in which one person
suggests to another that certain
perceptions, feelings, thoughts, or
behaviors will spontaneously occur
 posthypnotic amnesia: a temporary
memory loss (you forget what happened to
you when you were under hypnosis)
Some basic facts about hypnosis
Can it work for anyone?
no, the power of hypnosis resides in subjects
openness to suggestion
some people are more susceptible to hypnotic
suggestion than others
people who are more responsive to hypnotic
suggestion tend to have a rich fantasy life
virtually anyone will experience hypnotic
responsiveness of led to expect it (“your eyes are
getting heavy”--everyone’s eyes do when they
stare a light)
 Can it enhance recall of forgotten events?
no, it cannot change the rules by which we form,
store, and retrieve memories
 Can hypnosis force people to act against their will?
it can only induce behavior well within normal limits
 Can hypnosis be therapeutic?
no. the "benefits" of hypnosis are not due to
hypnosis (e.g., rather due to having people relax and
form positive images)
Is Hypnosis an altered state of
Social influence theory says: no
“hypnotized" people are just acting the role
of "good hypnotic subjects”
doing what's expected, and getting caught
up in the role: imaginative actors caught up
in playing the role of hypnotic subject
Divided consciousness theory says: yes
dissociated consciousness (mind split; talking on phone while
doing dishes)
accentuated form on normal cognitive dissociation
pain reduction
• concentrate on something else (how to stop your head
from hurting, put a pebble in your shoe)
• Lamaze method of childbirth: breathing and
concentration techniques that draw attention away from
• TV sets in dentist's office or in grocery store check out
Drugs and consciousness
 Psychoactive drugs: chemicals that change perceptions
and moods
legal drugs: caffeine, tobacco, tranquilizers, diet
pills, sleeping pills, alcohol
illegal: heroin, cocaine, etc., etc.
 Psychoactive drugs produce:
physical dependence
psychological dependence
Why do many people like
the effects drugs produce?
mismatch between our ancient brain mechanisms
(that evolved 1000s and millions of years ago)
most drugs of abuse act on neural mechanisms
associated with positive emotions that evolved to
mediate incentive behavior (food, sex): dopamine,
serotonin, and norepinephirne
drugs create a signal in the brain that indicates,
falsely, the arrival of a fitness benefit (just like we like
high fat, sugar, salt foods--junk food)
Disease or bad habit?
By viewing it as a disease, addicts tend to
feel powerless to overcome the addiction
Bad habit: many people can stop using
drugs without professional help
Social factors and drug use
drug's psychological effects are powerfully
influenced by the user's expectations
social factors influencing drug usage
feeling that life is meaningless, hopelessness, few
significant stress, failure, depression
large influence of peer group
• peer association is strongest predictor of adolescent
drug use
Conscious experiences are in harmony
with one another
The sense of effortless action that people
have during exceptional moments in life,
“peak experiences”
Functions of flow
Focuses psychological energy
Motivates action
Directs energy towards goals