Scoring GuideWhat follows is the scoring guide prepared for the GSIs to help them grade the exam. Other answers may also be appropriate, which is why it's called a scoring guide. Based on the item analysis, I provide the percentage of the class who attempted each item, and the mean score achieved by those students.
Thanks to the GSIs for their quick grading of the final exams.
The mean score on the noncumulative portion of the exam, before editing, was 37.34 (SD = 6.17). That's an average performance of 75%, which is above the range of 65-70% correct, which I like to see as a minimum score on my exams. So far so good. However, we looked for "bad" items, employing the criteria described in the Exam Information page, and found a few.
We'll call these three items "bad". So, we added 6 points for free to everyone's score on the exam. That essentially eliminates the bad items from the exam, but also gives those students who attempted those items credit for the attempt. and then we truncated scores over 50.
That raised the average score on the noncumulative portion, after editing, to 43.11 (SD = 5.84).
Why isn't the new mean score 43.34.41 (37.34 + 6)? Because scores above 50 were truncated to 50. That's also why the standard deviation changed.
The mean score on the cumulative portion of the exam, before editing, was 33.60 (SD = 8.92). That's an average performance of 67%, which is right in the middle of the 65-70% range, and so looked OK. Again, however, we looked for "bad" items, and we found one. (Guess which one?)
So, in the same manner as we treated the "bad" items of the cumulative portion, we simply added 10 points to everyone's score on the cumulative portion, and then truncated scores to 50.
This resulted in a revised average score of 42.94 (SD = 8.26) -- remember, we truncated scores above 50.
Total Exam Score
And that yielded an average total score of 86.04 (SD = 12.87).
Note to Future Course-Takers
In the past, I have been unhappy with the shortened test formats, because they didn't allow for comprehensiveness of coverage. With the present format, there was at least one question drawn explicitly from each lecture, and at least one question drawn explicitly from each reading, so what the psychometricians call "content validity" was enhanced. Fewer than 25 questions begins to compromise content validity, so I intend to stick with the 25-question format, allowing for limited choice, in the future for midterms and the noncumulative portion of finals.
And I still reserve the right to have an identification set in some future exam.
Write your name at the top of every page.
Also, please indicate your Discussion Section # (or time, or GSI) here:_____________.
Write your answers in ink. Answers written in pencil will not be eligible for regarding. And write legibly, or we won’t be able to appreciate how wonderful your answers are.
Answer 25 of the following 32 questions, according to the instructions at the beginning of each section. Do not answer more than the required number of questions in each section. If you do, we will not grade any answers that go beyond the requirement.
Each question is worth 2 points, so that this portion of the exam totals 50 points.
Do not provide long-winded answers. You have approximately 2 minutes, on average, for each question, and we are grading accordingly. Use only the space provided for your answer. Just one or two sentences will do.
1. What are the components in modern general anesthesia?
84% of the class answered this question, M score = 1.86. Typically, general anesthesia is balanced, with separate drugs used to induce sedation (for anxiety relief), analgesia (lack of pain), anesthesia (lack of awareness), and muscle paralysis (muscle relaxation). (Lecture; Kihlstrom et al. Ch. 49)
2. What are the criteria for coma on the Glasgow Coma Scale?
73% answered, M = 1.66. No eye opening, or eye opening only to pain stimulus; no verbal response to questions, or only incomprehensible sounds or inappropriate words; no motor response, or only extension or flexion in response to pain stimulus.
3. What evidence is there of unconscious processing during general anesthesia?
79%, 1.60. There is some evidence for repetition priming from stimuli presented intra-operatively, when tested post-operatively, but no good evidence for semantic priming. Perhaps for that reason, early studied claiming positive effects of intra-operative therapeutic suggestions have not been successfully replicated. (Kihlstrom et al. Ch. 49)
4. What distinguishes the persistent vegetative state from coma, and the minimally conscious state from both coma and PVS?
87%, 1.60. In both coma and PVS, the patient is unresponsive to commands or other stimulation, but in PVS the patient appears to go through the normal sleep-wake cycle. In MCS, the patient shows some limited and inconsistent signs of specific (as opposed to reflexive) responses to stimulation.
5. What is a plausible explanation for preserved function in the minimally conscious state, compared to coma and the persistent vegetative state?
34%, 0.98; a bad item. Coma and PVS appear to involve a disconnection of corticothalamic networks, typically resulting from damage to the reticular formation or thalamus. MCS may result from a partial or relative sparing of specific brain modules, permitting certain responses to stimulation in the absence of global integration with other modules. (Schiff, Ch. 46)
6. What are the physiological markers of nervous system activity in the different stages of sleep?
75%, 1.64. The onset of sleep is marked by autonomic signs of relaxation, accompanied by the disappearance of alpha activity. "REM" sleep is marked by high-frequency EEG activity (plus, of course, rapid eye movements). "NREM" or "Slow-Wave" sleep is marked by low-frequency EEG activity (plus, of course, the absence of rapid eye movements).
7. In what sense is dreaming a cognitive achievement, rather than merely the result of autonomous changes in brain function?
61%, 1.16. Dreaming appears to be absent during what Piaget called the sensory-motor period of cognitive development, and children’s memory for dreams is minimal for the first nine (9) years of life.
8. What are the primary cognitive effects of sleep deprivation?
71%, 1.76. Total sleep deprivation has its greatest effects on complex tasks that must be sustained over a relatively long period of time, especially if they are boring. Even chronic partial sleep deprivation has little or no effects on any kind of task performance. (Farthing, Ch. 10)
9. What are the differences between mental activity in REM and NREM?
86%, 1.76. REM dreams are "dreamy" dreams, involving complex images and temporal progression (plot). NREM dreams tend to be more "thoughtlike", less emotional and bizarre. (Farthing, Ch. 11)
10. Distinguish between Hobson’s and Foulkes’ theories of dreaming?
76%, 1.89. For Hobson (whether in the earlier activation-synthesis model described by Farthing or in the later AIM model discussed in class and in Hobson’s Ch. 7), dreams have no meaning, because they are products of random patterns of cortical activation. For Foulkes, dreams have intentional content, because they represent real or imagined external reality. (Farthing, Ch. 12)
11. Why do we forget our dreams?
60%, 1.66. For Hobson (in any incarnation), we forget our dreams because low levels of cortical activation (specifically of aminergic activity) preclude the "deep" cognitive processing required to create a lasting representation of the dream in long-term memory. Alternatively, and setting aside the neurophysiology, interference with memory processing can occur either after awakening, at the time of encoding or consolidation, or at the time of retrieval. (Farthing, Ch. 13)
12. What are the dimensions of consciousness, according to Hobson’s AIM model?
74%, 1.86. Alertness, related to level of cortical activation; Internal vs. External input source, controlled by input-output gating; Modulatory balance between aminergic and cholinergic neuron systems, affecting information-processing; and time – the dimension that gives rise to the sleep-wake cycle. (Hobson, Ch. 7)
13. What are the effects of antidepressants and psychedelic drugs, in terms of the AIM model?
40%, 1.32. Antidepressants increase activation by increasing adrenergic modulation, increasing the efficiency of the serotonin and epinephrine systems. Psychedelics induce hallucinations by a modulatory shift away from serotonergic activity, gating external sensory inputs. (Pace-Schott & Hobson, Ch. 10)
14. What is the characteristic feature of the dissociative disorders, such as psychogenic fugue, compared to the conversion disorders, such as "hysterical" blindness?
80%, 1.67. In the dissociative disorders, the disruption of consciousness affecting the patient’s awareness of "episodic" autobiographical memory and, in fugue and multiple personality disorder, "semantic" self-knowledge as well. In the conversion disorders, it affects the patient’s awareness of visual, auditory, or tactile sensation and perception, or voluntary motor activity.
15. What are the effects of hypnotic suggestion on brain function?
66%, 1.21. In the absence of specific suggestions, hypnosis has no discernable effects on brain function. Beyond this, either of the following will do: (1) Hypnotic suggestions targeting the "suffering" component of pain reduces activity in the anterior cingulated cortex of the frontal lobe, but not the somatosensory cortex of the parietal lobe. (2) Hypnotic and suggestions for color blindness, or for color hallucination, alter activity in the "color areas" of the fusiform gyrus and the inferior temporal cortex -- but so do nonhypnotic suggestions.
16. What is the evidence concerning interpersonality transfer of explicit and implicit memory in dissociative identity disorder (formerly known as multiple personality disorder).
83%, 1.78. Almost by definition, MPD/DID involves amnesia between personalities affecting both episodic (autobiographical) memory and semantic self-knowledge (e.g., self-concept and identity), though this interpersonality amnesia may be asymmetrical. However, the interpersonality amnesia spares implicit memory, such a priming – at least on some tests. (Kihlstrom, "dissociation" chapter)
17. What is the evidence concerning the automaticity of response to posthypnotic hypnotic suggestions.
40%, 1.26. Many posthypnotic behaviors are experienced as involuntary and automatic, but they do not meet the technical definition of automaticity. For example, they are not inevitably evoked by the presentation of the critical cue, and their execution appears to consume attentional resources. (Kihlstrom, "hypnosis" chapter)
18. Compare the goals of Yoga and Buddhist meditation.
83%, 1.19. In Yoga, the goal of meditation is to release the self from its bondage to matter, and return to an original state of purity by controlling and suppressing mental activity and ending one’s attachment to objects (Samadhi). In Buddhism, the goal of meditation is release from egocentricity and desire, and achieving a state of tranquility, peace, emptiness, and the extinction of individual consciousness (nirvana). Which, I suppose, amount to pretty much the same thing, except in Zen there is the further emphasis on satori, a sudden breakthrough to enlightenment.
19. Compare the physiological effects of Yoga and Zen meditation.
76%, 0.94. Most studies find an increase in EEG alpha activity, which may be an artifact of eye closure and "not looking". Early studies claimed that yogis failed to show the reflexive "alpha blocking" orienting response, while Zen meditators failed to habituate; but later studies failed to replicate this difference.
20. What is the difference between ideational and nonideational meditation? Give an example of each.
74%, 1.52. In ideational meditation, such as Christian meditation on the life of Jesus, or Tibetan Buddhist meditation on compassion, the meditator focuses attention on an idea or group of ideas, which s/he uses as a springboard for intellectual activity. In nonideational meditation, such as Transcendental Meditation (or the "relaxation response", the meditator focuses on a mantra, or on breathing, with the goal of stopping cognition altogether. (Fontana, Ch. 11)
21. What is the difference between transcendent and immanent mysticism? Give an example of each.
42%, 1.10; a bad item. In transcendent mysticism, there is an awareness of a power outside and greater than oneself, such as the direct experience of God in the Christian tradition. Immanent mysticism, in Buddhism and Hinduism, is a further stage of spiritual development in which the self disappears into the "essential unity of all existence". (Fontana, Ch. 12)
22. What is the difference between "first-person" and "third-person methodologies for the study of consciousness? Give an example of each.
75%, 1.71. Third-person methodologies attempt to collect objective scientific data, such as Stroop interference, explicit-implicit dissociations, or physiological or brain-imaging studies. First-person methodologies are essentially introspective in nature, as in descriptions of samadhi, nirvana, or satori, pure (contentless) consciousness, the merging of self and object, or – perhaps – research on qualia. (Shear, Ch. 54)
23. Distinguish between consciousness and self-consciousness.
89%, 1.90. Consciousness is generally construed as one’s awareness of other things, such as objects and events in the stimulus field. Self-consciousness is one’s awareness of oneself, and entails both the possession of a concept of the self and an ability to think about oneself.
24. Distinguish between perception-based and meaning-based mental representations of the self.
79%, 1.59. Perception-based representations of any object of knowledge, including the self, consist of analogical, nonverbal, or image-like knowledge of the physical appearance of objects and events, the arrangement of their features, and their spatio-temporal relations with other objects and events. Meaning-based representations of any object of knowledge, again including the self, consist of declarative, propositional, or semantic knowledge concerning the meanings and implications of objects and events, and their conceptual relations with other objects.
25. Distinguish between direct and propositional awareness of the self.
48%, 0.88; a bad item. In direct awareness of anything, including the self, the object of awareness is a particular thing – like a car, or the color red, or the self; it entails the ability to discriminate that thing from other things. In propositional awareness, the direct object of awareness is a proposition, such as that the car is a Pontiac, or that the red is highly saturated, or that the oneself is a neurotic extravert, which is not necessarily a product of direct awareness (the knowledge might come from the results of a psychological test, for example). (Bermudez, Ch. 36)
26. The left hemisphere is conscious but the right hemisphere is not: Comment.
83%, 1.50. In most people, the left hemisphere has a capacity for language and interpretation that the right hemisphere largely lacks, and there are other functional asymmetries that suggest that the consciousness of the right hemisphere differs from that of the left. But the right hemisphere has conscious experiences (and can report them manually), and can engage in voluntary motor actions, so there’s no question but that it is conscious as well. (Colvin & Gazzaniga, Ch. 14)
27. What is the primary criterion for a conscious machine.
58%, 1.26. Full credit for Self-awareness, or "A demonstrable representation of a multi-featured world with the organism within it" (p. 86) or "Perception of oneself in an ‘out-there’’ world" (p. 95) – which is why this chapter was assigned, and tested, in the section on the self.
One point for any of the other criteria listed on those pages, such as emotional evaluation of the contents of consciousness, or evidence of volition and planning.
28. Chimpanzees pass the mirror self-recognition (MSR) test, just as human infants do, suggesting that both species have self-awareness.
88%, 1.34. Passing the MSR test indicates that the organism has an internal mental representation of itself, and can match its conscious perceptual experience with that representation. But while MSR is universal among human infants by about 24 months, only a minority of chimpanzees pass the test, so it’s not clear that self-awareness is characteristic of chimpanzees as a species.
29. What is the significance of the "false-belief" (FB) test, with respect to consciousness?
85%, 1.78. Passing the false-belief task indicates that the individual recognizes that its mental states are representations of reality, and that others’ mental states may differ from one’s own. Passing the FB test indicates that the organism recognizes mental states as just that – mental.
30. What evidence is there for consciousness in the human fetus, in utero?
32%, 1.29. Actually, there isn’t much. In the embryo and early fetus, the biological potential for consciousness is in formation, as the central nervous system develops. In the later weeks of gestation, conscious mental life appears to be latent: there is some touching of the fetus’ own body, and that of a twin (if present), and a special sensitivity to the mother’s voice (and, probably, the voices of others who talk to the fetus), but there’s no evidence that any of this activity goes on consciously. (Trevarthen & Reddy, Ch. 3)
31. What is the "similarity argument" for animal consciousness and why is it weak?
74%, 1.19. Based on Darwin’s doctrine of descent from common ancestry, morphological, physiological, and behavioral similarities between humans and other species support the argument that those species are conscious as well. But arguments from analogy are inherently weak, and the same considerations might be used to argue that humans, like nonhuman animals, are not conscious either – or, at least, that consciousness is epiphenomenal. (Allen & Bekoff, Ch. 4)
32. Consciousness evolved as a human trait through a process of adaptation through natural selection. Discuss in two sentences.
80%, 1.03. Even if consciousness is a natural trait, it may not be an adaptation, because there are lots of different mechanisms for evolution besides natural selection. Consciousness might have emerged as a chance effect, or through self-organization, or as a "spandrel", an outgrowth of a trait that did evolve through natural selection. (Polger, Ch. 5)
Answer each of the following questions, which are worth 10 points each (there is no choice). Your answers can be more expansive than in the noncumulative portion, as appropriate, but they should still be very brief. You have approximately 10 minutes, on average, for each question, and we are grading accordingly. Use only the space provided for your answer. For some questions, just one or two sentences will do.
1. What are the features that distinguish one altered state of consciousness (ASC) from another? Illustrate your answer with references to three (3) different ASCs.
8.22. It is possible to think of each different ASC as representing a different value of one or more of four features: (1) an induction technique, (2) a change in subjective experience, (3) changes in objective behavior, and (4) physiological changes. For example, anesthesia is induced by certain drugs, while hypnosis is induced by verbal suggestion. Anesthesia involves a loss of consciousness, while REM sleep involves dreaming. In meditation the person sits motionless, while in hypnosis the person may behaviorally respond to the suggested experience. In anesthesia there are reductions in autonomic activity indexed by the PRST score, while in NREM sleep delta waves predominate in the EEG.
An alternative answer might focus on qualia, intentionality, and subjectivity. For example, certain psychedelic drugs alter the appearance of various sensory stimuli. States like anxiety and depression don’t seem to involve intentionality. And states of absorption or meditation appear to blur the distinction between subject and object.
Score: 4 points for listing plausible elements, plus 2 points for each of the 3 ASCs.
2. Consider Jackson’s thought experiment concerning "Mary the Color Scientist": Devise a test to determine whether Mary would be surprised when she first stepped out of her monochromatic environment.
9.12. Give 5 points for free; then add up to 5 points for any reasonable, thoughtful test. Full credit if the student thinks to control for brightness and saturation. Zero (0) credit – not even the "free" points – if the student selects a red object as the sole test color without having a very good solution to the problem (see Thinks…, pp. 164-165).
3. All of the following pertain to David Lodge’s Thinks…: 8.15 for parts 1-d combined.
a. What is the goal of Messenger’s experiment with the Pearlcorder and Voicemaster? (2 points)
Ralph’s goal is to study consciousness as a first-person phenomenon (p. 172), in order to determine whether it is "a stream as William James said or as he also rather beautifully said like a bird flying through the air and then perching for a moment then taking flight again…" (p. 1).
b. How does Helen relate the Genesis story of Adam and Eve to consciousness?
Before tasting the Forbidden Fruit, Adam and Eve were not self-conscious. But after the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, we pay "the terrible price of self-consciousness" – to be distressed and to know why we are distressed (pp. 107-108).
c. What is the structure of the novel? (2 points)
There are roughly three-dozen chapters (actually, precisely 34), alternating between Ralph’s (mostly) first-person dictations (with one foray into writing), Helen’s first-person writing in her journal (with one foray into the third person), and the third-person descriptions of "an omniscient and sometimes intrusive narrator" (p. 340), relieved by the "Bat" and "Mary" exercises by Helen’s students, and the initial e-mail exchanges between Ralph and Helen.
d If you were the Director of the Holt-Belling Centre for Cognitive Science, what image would you add to Max Karinthy’s mural, and why? (4 points)
Give 2 points for the image. Any relevant image, plausibly defended, will do -- except for the following, which are already represented in the mural (see pp. 50-55).
Thomas Nagel’s bat
Altruism (empathy is different, and OK)
The Prisoner’s Dilemma
Searle’s Chinese Room
Lawrence Davis and Ned Block’s "Chinese Nation"
Mary the Color Scientist
Also exclude representations of individual philosophers, psychologists, and other cognitive scientists as such -- even Descartes and William James! – except when they’re used to refer to something other than themselves, as when David Chalmers is depicted as a zombie twin and Roger Penrose as a Magician.
Then give another 2 points for the rationale for the image. Here, though, give up to 2 points even if the image is already on the mural (see list above), depending on the quality of the rationale (the student may have forgotten that the image was already there).
My own choice would be Thomas Eakins’ depiction of the first successful use of ether for anesthesia. Philosophers are always citing pain as an example of qualia or some other feature of consciousness, and W.T.G. Morton was hailed as the man who "abolished pain" – and the rest of consciousness with it!
4. Consider the problem of other minds as applied to nonhuman animals, extraterrestrial beings, plants, robots, or even thermostats. Based on what you’ve learned in this course, what test would you use to determine whether that entity is consciousness, the way you (apparently) are?
7.29. Almost any reasonable answer should start out with 5 points, including the obvious choices of mirror self-recognition and the false-belief test (at least in a nonverbal version). But there are other possibilities, including (but not limited to) many of the tests described in the Trevarthen & Reddy chapter), but excluding criteria like merely adaptive or complex behavior, such as those rejected by Romanes or Washburn. Add up to 5 more points, depending on the quality of the rationale.
5. Identify the authors of each of the following 10 quotations (1 point each).
2.81, a bad item. You knew I was going to do this again, didn’t you? Next time I do it, I’ll up the ante by garnering a different selection of quotes. However, this time we gave students credit for coming close, even if they didn't identify the author precisely. So, for example, the quote in 5a properly belongs to Gilbert Ryle, but it could just as easily have been said by any behaviorist, including Dan Dennett. The quote in 5b properly belongs to Thomas Nagel, but the same sentiment could have been expressed by any Mysterian (which Nagel isn't, exactly).
a. "The ghost in the machine"
Gilbert Ryle: This is the classic statement of philosophical behaviorism, forerunner to contemporary functionalism, and it identifies consciousness with behavior.
b. "Consciousness is what makes the mind-body problem really intractable. Without consciousness, the mind-body problem would be much less interesting. With consciousness, it seems hopeless."
Thomas Nagel: This can be interpreted as mysterianism, but the real point is that it’s easy to build an information-processing machine, but a lot harder to build one that has consciousness.
c. "’You,’, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules."
Francis Crick: This is the statement of his "astonishing hypothesis", which is nothing more than down-home materialism; perhaps what makes it astonishing is that most people, deep in their heart of hearts, are dualists.
d. "On the view that I am tentatively putting forward, consciousness would be some manifestation of this quantum-entangled internal cytoskeletal state and of its involvement in the interplay... between quantum and classical levels of activity."
Roger Penrose: He is invoking one mystery, quantum theory, to explain another – consciousness.
e. "Even if mental events are not among the data of science, this does not mean we cannot study them scientifically.... The challenge is to construct a theory of mental events, using the data that scientific method permits. Such a theory will have to be constructed from the third-person point of view, since all science is constructed from that perspective."
Daniel Dennett: This is a contemporary version of Ryle’s philosophical behaviorism. Experience is private, and so it cannot be scientifically studied. The science of consciousness is going to have to be a science of public behavior.
f. "Whether the organization is realized in silicon chips, in the population of China, or in beer cans and ping-pong balls does not matter. As long as the functional organization is right, conscious experience will be determined."
David Chalmers: In his dual-aspect theory of consciousness, Chalmers seeks to adopt a materialist stance while continuing to take consciousness seriously.
g. "’The problem of consciousness’ is the problem of explaining exactly how neurobiological processes in the brain cause our subjective states of awareness or sentience; how exactly these states are realized in the brain structures; and how exactly consciousness functions in the overall economy of the brain and therefore how it functions in our lives generally."
John Searle: Here Searle insists that consciousness cannot be studied by leaving out its subjective, first-person aspect; and also that consciousness has causal powers, and is not merely epiphenomenal.
h. "Just as the stomach is an organ designed to produce digestion, so the brain is an organ designed to produce thought"
Trick question. The actual quote comes from Pierre Jean George Cabanis, an 18th-century French philosopher, and is a classic statement of materialist monism. But John Searle has written much the same thing, and he denies that he’s a materialist. For him, the statement is an expression of biological naturalism. Either answer gets full credit.
i. "The essential feature of consciousness is its secrecy, the fact that our thoughts are known only to ourselves".
Ralph Messenger (slightly edited), in an e-mail to Helen Reed in Thinks… (p. 187).
j. "Understanding consciousness.. is to modern science what the Philosopher’s Stone was to alchemy: the ultimate prize in the quest for knowledge.
Helen Reed, in her "Last Word" speech at ConCon, also from Thinks…, and an irresistible way to end this exam, and the course!
The scoring guide used to grade the exam
will be posted to the course website as soon as possible after the exam.
Exam grades will be posted on the course website
as soon as possible after May 21.