We all consider ourselves conscious but the scientific definition of it is something most of us are unaware. The chapter defines it as a state of awareness about what is happening in the outside world and what is happening inside a person. For me, this is a comprehensive definition as it provides me two perspectives about being aware. First is to be aware of what is happening around me. In other word understand my physical world. Second is to understand my own feelings and emotions. I think that consciousness is also related to a control of your response to the outside and inside world. If one is unable, the state of consciousness is not in its full capacity.
States of consciousness alter in my life. I mean these states are different when I am performing different tasks. For example if I have to drive, I have to raise my consciousness but when I sleep, I have to lower my consciousness. I made it sound like I push some buttons to do so but in fact our brain learns to alter these states and they are most often automatic process which are involuntary.
For a healthy life, altering the states of consciousness are necessary. From my personal experience I can tell that if I don’t sleep enough, I may not be able to be fully conscious and respond to different stimuli effectively when I am performing different tasks. Having said that, sleep should not be considered as a form of unconsciousness as we do respond to critical situations even in sleep and sleep itself is a collection of different forms of consciousness.
The adaptive theory in the chapter explains the different sleep stages effectively as it says that we have evolved to a sleeping patterns which would keep us in a form of consciousness so as we can respond to different threats that could compromise our safety.
Overall, the chapter is a great addition to understanding human behavioral responses during the state of consciousness.
Chapter 7 Reflection: Cognition: thinking, intelligence, and language
As humans, we need to learn different processes which are critical for our existing. These processes are learnt after they have been through different trials and tests in our brain. Human cognition relates to the processing of information in the human brain. After I have studied this chapter, I have realized that my learning has been influenced by different internal and external factors. There has always been a debate going on about nature and nurture in the scientific community related to human cognition and learning. I personally believe that human cognition works in the light of both nature and nurture.
When we are born, we do not have a clear awareness of the world around us but still we know that we need to eat in order to survive. This instinct that has already been learnt by humans at the time of birth is related to natural causes and the transfer of information from generation to generation.
When we grow up, we look around us and observe information related to different things. Some of the information is stored in long term memory and the mind processes, learns it and retain it as it might be of use to us in the coming life. While other information is not given information. I have been making decision on different stages of my life but was not aware of how much the processing of information in the higher brain is important in these decisions. I have realized that these decisions are made in the light of information in front of me and some information stored in my brain.
As we grow, our intelligence may improve and we learn different languages. Intelligence and language both improve with time and by the acquisition of new information. Language is important as it is the source of transferring information from one to another human. In fact this is the main difference between humans and animals.
Chapter 8 Reflection: Development across the Life Span
This chapter provides a profound overview of research designs like longitudinal and cross-section. During my childhood, some researchers used to come to our school and ask our class some questions related to our behavior. These researchers used to come periodically asking almost the same questions. I have now realized that they were doing some kind of longitudinal research related to human development.
The chapter discusses different developmental stages that provided me an overview to focus on my own life and compare it to these stages. I think that I have also been through almost the same state of mind at different stages of life and have become who I am now. Especially the four stages of cognitive development by Piaget were of special interest to me. What I remember about my life and what my mom tells me is that at about 7 years of age, I had started to become very interested in knowing about different situations that would happen around me. Piaget called it concrete operations stage where a child starts to logically analyze concrete events.
The discussion about different behaviors being inherited while other being learned from the environment was also of interest to me. Especially how different psychological and physical diseases may travel through families via genes. And some psychological issues may be acquired from the environment. For example, I my hometown, there is a family and quite a few people from it suffer from schizophrenia. It is a genetic disorder and is very difficult to manage. On the other hand, some behavioral disorders that can be classified as learned experiences can be treated easily and effectively with psychological interventions like psychological therapies.