28th November 2012
“States of Consciousness” is an internet based Psychology article, which serves as a guide to students of Psychology. Any psychology student accessing this article will be equipped with important psychology knowledge, considering this article discusses diverse topics in psychology. However, the interest of this article review is on just one psychology topic among the different topics addressed by the article. The aspect of consciousness variation will be reviewed as presented by this article.
According to this article, the understanding of states of consciousness begins with a clear understanding of what consciousness is. This article classifies consciousness variation into two states, in which sleep plays a major role. These states are Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep and the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. The author regards the aspect of consciousness as a slippery concept, which cannot be touched or seen. That this nature of consciousness limited past psychologists from studying it, and so most were compelled to study behaviorism. At least behaviorism is observable, hence to study, unlike the unobservable consciousness, which is quite hard to study.
On the concept of sleep, the article emphasizes the importance of sleep. The author argues that the physical and psychological impact of sleeplessness is evidence that sleep is vital. The problems associated with sleeplessness are mentioned to include increased irritability, reduced alertness, and reduced attention. An important effect of loss of sleep is mentioned as sleep-deprivation psychosis, which is characterized by disorientation, confusion, hallucinations, and delusions. Nonetheless, the importance of both REM sleep and slow-wave sleep are emphasized. These have different roles they play in human body. Slow-wave sleep is vital in refreshing the body after physical fatigue. The author recommends that developing children must be offered ample time to sleep. He explains that it is during sleep that a growth hormone is produced. Therefore, the longer they sleep, the faster they will grow.
In the article, sleep is considered a biological rhythm, which cannot be sidestepped. It is like an internal clock, which is set to a 24-hour cycle. According to the author, this “clock” experiences grogginess and sometimes peaks at different times of the day, depending on temperature and neutral firings of human bodies. The hypothalamus and the pineal gland are responsible for the control of this rhythm. However, the optic nerve and melatonin hormone play crucial roles too. Optic nerve regulates amount of light entering the sensory system, while melatonin hormone induces sleep.
The article describes meditation as the transition to internal focus of attention, from the external focus of attention. The author emphasizes the health benefits of meditation to humans. The health benefits mentioned are, meditation lowers blood pressure, reduces anxiety, increases resiliency, as well as emotional stability. The author applies meditation to the case of asthmatic people. He argues that meditation, if practiced by asthmatic patients could contribute to their healing. He links this to the fact that in meditation, people learn how to breathe effectively, which is a requirement for all asthmatic people. It is believed that historically, Zen and transcendental are the origins of meditation today. The author also explains the concept of biofeedback training in relation to meditation and consciousness. This application of meditation is employed by psychologists to help people see how meditation plays the role of controlling breathing, as well as the brain waves. Normally, all this is displayed on the monitor, so that a person can decide and choose which one suits them best.
The article also addresses the concept of hypnosis as well, starting with its brief history. Anton Mesmer popularized hypnosis. He mainly used this in cases of mentally ill patients. The power of suggestion was instrumental in conducting the process on his patients. However, the methods Anton used on his patients were quite skeptical, as he passed magnets over people’s bodies in order to the animal magnetism. The author of this article however credits him for his contribution. The procedure of performing hypnosis is explained. First, hypnosis is induced, by having the subject to relax and shift their attention inwards. This process is similar to the onset of sleep. The benefits of hypnosis are identified as helping a person gather their forgotten memories, gaining super human strength, as well as helping one regress to an earlier time. Two theories of that can explain hypnosis are named as role taking theory and neo-dissociative theory.
Finally, on the psychoactive drugs, the article regards them as substances capable of affecting the central nervous system and altering a person’s consciousness. The author also briefly describes then concepts of drug tolerance and drug dependence. Three major categories of psychoactive drugs are described. First, depressants, responsible for depressing the nervous system include alcohol, tranquilizers, and barbituates. Stimulants cause stimulation of the nervous system, and include amphetamines, cocaine, nicotine, and caffeine. Finally, hallucinogens produce sensations and perceptions without stimulation by external factors, and include LSD, mescaline, psilocybin, and marijuana.
This article does not employ the author’s own practical experiment. Instead, the author bases his hypotheses on the researches and theories done by other psychologists. He uses these research findings to approve or disapprove of different psychological elements he is arguing against or for. However, the author has used this research approach to come up with useful information.
The accuracy of this page is quite commendable. However, a few important details about the page are not well represented. For instance, a reader cannot tell what institution is responsible for the creation of the page. Besides, there are no details of the author, publisher, or their contact details. The authority of this page does not also list the credential of the author; neither does it have a preferred domain. Nonetheless, the page has provides useful information for psychology students. In addition, this page has links to other psychology topics. Therefore, it is a resourceful page for psychology students. Objectivity is highly upheld by this page. There are no advertisements or any pop-outs on the page, only the information on psychology. The coverage is also clear as a reader can view the information clearly. No fee or charges are required to access the page. Additionally, for one to access the page, they do not require to have any special software or special browser. Therefore, the accessibility of the page is easy and not demanding. This makes it advantageous for students, as the access is easy.
Conclusively, despite the few flaws, this article remains resourceful as it addresses psychology concepts quite comprehensively. It brings us to the realization that consciousness varies, and that human beings can learn how to control consciousness variation by being increasing the awareness about our environment. The psychology information in the article therefore is crucial, as it can be applied to both academic use, as well as for personal psychology practice, including the awareness practice.
“States of Consciousness.” (n.d) Retrieved from
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