Cognitive Science 102/Psychology 129
Scientific Studies of Consciousness
Answer one (1) question within each of the following categories. This examination is worth 100 points total. Except in Category 8, you are not expected to write extensive essays, but do write complete sentences. In Category 8, remember to defend your views by referring to the scientific literature. In any event, confine your response to the space provided.
Category 1: Anesthesia and Coma (10 points)
1. Define a hallucination, and distinguish between hallucinations and illusions. Describe the theory of hallucinations proposed by Siegel and Jarvik (1975), as it applies to the effects of major psychedelic drugs, such as LSD.
2. Define state-dependent learning or state-dependent memory as produced by psychoactive drugs. In what sense is the drug state merely another discriminative stimulus for learning, or cue for memory retrieval?
3. Define "balanced anesthesia". What is the evidence for information-processing during general anesthesia? Does this count as evidence of awareness?
4. Are there any reasons to think that information processing persists in coma or the persistent vegetative state? Outline an experimental procedure that could be used to determine whether comatose individuals process information from the environment and/or retain memories of environmental events.
Category 2: Hypnosis (10 points)
1. What is the role played by suggestion in hypnosis? How does hypnotizability relate to other forms of suggestibility?
2. Define posthypnotic amnesia. How is it similar or different from other forms of amnesia you have studied? In what sense does posthypnotic amnesia constitute an alteration in conscious awareness?
3. What is the evidence for the effectiveness of hypnotic suggestions for analgesia? In what sense does hypnotic analgesia constitute an alteration in conscious awareness?
4. What is the evidence that hypnotic suggestions for hypermnesia and age regression actually enhance memory for past events?
Category 3: Meditation and De-Automatization (10 points)
1. Describe Deikman's concept of de-automatization. How does meditation attempt to accomplish this outcome?
2. What is the evidence that people can enter meditative states by learning how to enhance levels of EEG alpha activity?
3. What are the effects of meditation on attention. What kind of evidence would be necessary In order to demonstrate that meditation produces de-automatization?
4. What are the effects of meditation on physiological functioning. In what sense, if any, does meditation differ from ordinary relaxation?
Category 4: Consciousness in Humans, Nonhuman Animals, and Computers?
1. What is the hypothesis of evolutionary continuity, as applied to consciousness? Compare and contrast Romanes's, Morgan's, Throndike's and Skinner's resolutions of the continuity hypothesis.
2. Describe Gallup's "mirror test" experiments. How does their procedure and results bear on the question of animal awareness?
3. What is Searle's position on the mind-body problem? How does it differ from that of Dennett?
4. What is Searle's position on the mind-body problem? How does it differ from that of Chalmers?
Category 5: Conclusion (10 points)
1. Is the view that the self mediates conscious awareness necessary to understand automatic and preconscious processing?
2. Why does evidence of subconscious processing in hypnosis and "hysteria" seem to require something more than activation and attention to distinguish between conscious and unconscious processing?
Category 6: Cumulative 1 (10 points)
1. Thomas Nagel (1979) has argued that there is something it is like to be conscious. What are the implications of his view for purely materialist approaches to consciousness?
2. Why do Nisbett and Wilson (1977) argue against introspective access to higher-level mental processes?
3. Distinguish between the early-selection and late-selection models of attention. What experimental findings motivated each model?
4. What are the characteristics of automatic processing? For each characteristic, give a definition and an example.
Category 7: Cumulative 2 (10 points)
1. In what sense can the right cerebral hemisphere be considered to be "unconscious"?
2. Distinguish between explicit and implicit expressions of memory, and give an example of each kind of memory task. What evidence shows that these two expressions of memory can be dissociated?
3. Distinguish between explicit and implicit expressions of perception, and give an example of each kind of perceptual task. What evidence shows that explicit and implicit perception can be dissociated?
4. Why do we tend to forget our dreams?
Category 8 (30 points)
1. What light does research on hemispheric specialization, sleep and dreams, or psychedelic drugs shed on the mind-body problem?
2. Can cognitive psychology and cognitive science really get along perfectly well without taking any interest in consciousness at all? Defend your answer with respect to some specific domain (e.g., sleep, hypnosis drugs) discussed in the course.
3. Characterize each of the following classical approaches to the mind-body problem: (1) substance dualism, (2) interactionist dualism, (3) property dualism (the dual-aspect theory), (4) psychophysical parallelism, (5) epiphenomenalism, (6) behaviorism, (7) the identity theory, and (8) eliminative materialism. At the end of the course, which seems to be the most viable approach for the future? Why?
4. Characterize each of the following classical approaches to the mind-body problem: (1) substance dualism, (2) interactionist dualism, (3) property dualism (the dual-aspect theory), (4) psychophysical parallelism, (5) epiphenomenalism, (6) behaviorism, (7) the identity theory, and (8) eliminative materialism. Defend the proposition that the old categories of dualism and monism are outmoded, and offer an alternative conceptual approach to the mind-body problem is required.
5. What do studies of brain damage, sleep, or hypnosis have to contribute to understanding the relations between conscious and unconscious mental life?