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Chapter 14: Social Psychology


Chapter 14: Social Psychology Michael L. Farris Psychology 101 Did you know that Revealing too much about yourself when first meeting someone can convey a ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Chapter 14: Social Psychology

Chapter 14 Social Psychology
  • Michael L. Farris
  • Psychology 101

Did you know that
  • Revealing too much about yourself when first
    meeting someone can convey a negative impression?
    (Nevid, p.482)
  • People tend to believe that attractive people
    have more desirable personality traits than
    unattractive people? (Nevid, p.492)
  • At least thirty-eight people in a quiet urban
    neighborhood heard the screams of a woman who was
    viciously attacked by a knife-wielding assailant
    but did nothing? (Nevid, p.494)
  • Most people who participated in a famous but
    controversial study administered what they
    believed to be painful and dangerous electric
    shocks to other people when instructed to do so
    by the experimenter? (Nevid, p.507)

Why First Impressions Count So Much
  • Personal disclosure We generally form more
    favorable impressions of people who are willing
    to disclose personal information about
    themselves, but revealing too much too soon can
    lead to a negative impression.
  • People who disclose too much about themselves in
    the first stages of a social relationship tend to
    be perceived as less secure, less mature, and
    more poorly adjusted than those who are more
    restrained regarding what they say about
  • Cultural differences also come into play in
    determining how much disclosure is deemed
    acceptable. People in East Asian societies, such
    as China and Japan, tend to disclose less about
    themselves than people in the West.
  • Nevid, p.482.

Why Early Impressions are Hard to Break
  • An impression is a type of social schema, a
    mental image or representation we use to
    understand our social environment.
  • We filter information about others through these
  • One reason that first impressions tend to be
    long-lasting is that we filter new information
    about people through the earlier impressions or
    social schemas we formed about them. So if
    someone about whom we hold a favorable impression
    (schema) does something to upset us, were more
    likely to look for extenuating factors that
    explain the persons behavior (He must be having
    a bad day) than to alter our existing
  • On the other hand, when we hold a negative
    impression of someone, were more likely to
    ignore or explain away any positive information
    we receive about that person.
  • Nevid, p.483.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecies
  • Self-fulfilling prophecy An expectation that
    helps bring about the outcome that is expected.
    For example If you form an impression of someone
    as being unfriendly, this belief can become a
    type of self-fulfilling prophecy if it leads you
    to be defensive and hostile when dealing with
    this person, and they respond to you in an
    unfriendly way.
  • Teachers who expect students to do poorly may
    convey their lower expectations to their
    students. Expecting less of themselves, the
    students may apply less than their best efforts,
    leading them to under-perform, just as the
    teacher expected.
  • Nevid, p.484.

  • An attribution is an assumption about the causes
    of behavior or events. When interpreting our
    social world, seek to understand the underlying
    causes of events we observe. We tend to explain
    these events by attributing them to either
    dispositional causes (internal) or situational
    causes (external).
  • Dispositional causes are internal factors, such
    as internal traits, needs, or personal choices of
    the person (actor).
  • Situational causes are external or environmental
    factors, such as pressures or demands imposed
    upon the actor.
  • Why is the pizza guy late?
  • Nevid, p.484.

  • The fundamental attribution error is a term that
    social psychologists use to describe the tendency
    to attribute behavior to internal causes, such as
    traits like intelligence or laziness, without
    regard to the situational influences that may be
  • People tend to overlook the situational
    influences when explaining other peoples
    behavior. If the pizza guy is late and you are
    waiting, you are more likely to assume that he is
    lazy or unmotivated (theoretically). If you ARE
    the pizza guy and youre late, you are more
    likely to blame external factors, like traffic or
    the weather. This tendency to blame outside
    factors for our own misfortunes, yet blame the
    person when it happens to someone else is called
    the actor-observer effect.
  • Nevid, p.484.

  • A specific type of attributional bias occurring
    in performance situations is the self-serving
  • This is the tendency to attribute personal
    successes to internal or dispositional causes and
    personal failures to external or situational
  • In other words, people tend to take credit for
    their successes but to disclaim responsibility
    for their failures.
  • If you achieve a good grade on an exam, you are
    likely to attribute it to your ability or talent
    (an internal attribution).
  • Yet you are likely to attribute (blame) a poor
    grade to an external cause beyond your control,
    such as too little time to study or unfair
    questions on the exam.
  • Self-serving biases serve to enhance our
  • Nevid, p.485.

Cognitive Dissonance
  • According to cognitive dissonance theory,
    inconsistencies between attitudes and behavior
    lead to a state of dissonance, or emotional
    discomfort. People are motivated to reconcile
    discrepancies between their behavior and their
  • For example, smokers who believe that smoking
    causes cancer but continue to smoke may reduce
    cognitive dissonance by altering their behavior
    (quitting smoking), altering their belief
    (adopting the belief that smoking isnt really
    all that harmful), or using a form of
    rationalization to explain away the inconsistency
    (cancer doesnt run in my family).
  • Perhaps the most common way of reducing
    dissonance is not to change either beliefs or
    behavior, but simply to ignore inconsistencies
    until they fade away (Ill worry about my
    smoking when I get older).
  • Nevid, p.487.

  • Nevid, p.488

  • Each one of us will spend about 25 years of life
  • Contrary to common belief, people are not totally
    unresponsive during sleep!
  • Studies show that you are more likely to awaken
    if you hear your own name spoken, instead of
  • A sleeping mother may ignore a jet thundering
    overhead, but wake at the slightest whimper of
    her child. P.127.

  • Some people can even do simple tasks while asleep
    (like attend class)!
  • Just Kidding
  • In one experiment, people learned to avoid an
    electric shock by touching a switch after a tone
  • Eventually, they could do it without waking.
  • This is much like the basic survival skill of
    turning off your alarm clock without waking.
  • Of course, sleep does impose some limitations.
    There is no evidence that you can learn math, a
    foreign language, or other complex skills while
    asleep, especially when the snooze takes place in
    class (Coon, p.228).

The Need for Sleep
  • Sleep is an innate biological rhythm (natural
    bodily cycle), so it can never be entirely
    sidestepped (Coon, p.228).
  • Sleep will give way temporarily, especially
    during times of great danger. However, there are
    limits to how long humans can go without
  • A rare disease that prevents sleep always ends
    the same way The patient falls into a stupor,
    followed by coma, followed by death (Oliwenstein,

  • In various studies, animals have been placed on
    moving treadmills over pools of water. This is
    not a good way to get to sleep. Even so, sleep
    always wins.
  • The animals soon begin to drift into repeated
    microsleeps (a brief shift in brain activity to
    patterns normally recorded during sleep).
  • When you drive, remember that a microsleep can
    lead to a macro accident. Even a driver whose
    eyes are open can be asleep for a few seconds.
    Roughly 2 out of every 100 highway crashes are
    caused by sleepiness (Coon, p. 228).
  • If you are struggling to stay awake while
    driving, you should stop, quit fighting it, and
    take a short nap. Tests show that coffee helps,

Sleep Deprivation
  • How long can a person go without sleep?
  • With few exceptions, 4 days or more without sleep
    becomes intolerable, but longer sleepless periods
    are possible.
  • The world record is held by Randy Gardner, who at
    age 17 went 268 hours (11 days) without sleep.
  • Surprisingly, Randy needed only 14 hours of sleep
    to recover.
  • It is not necessary to completely replace lost
    sleep. As Randy found, most symptoms of sleep
    deprivation (sleep loss) are reversed by a single
    nights rest.

Effects of Sleep Loss
  • What are the costs of sleep loss? Age and
    personality make a big difference (Coon, p.228).
    Randy Gardner remained clear-headed to the end of
    his vigil. DJ Peter Tripps behavior became
    quite bizarre (remember the coat of fuzzy
  • In general, people show little impairment on
    complex mental tasks after 2 or 3 days without
    sleep. But most do decline in their ability to
    pay attention. Staying alert and following
    simple routines becomes very difficult.
  • As sleep expert Wilse Webb says, Its not your
    thinking or memory that goes, its your will to
    continue you would prefer to be asleep.
  • For a driver, pilot, or machine operator, this
    may be enough to spell disaster.

Effects of Sleep Loss
  • It is not necessary to completely go without
    sleep to feel the effects of sleep loss.
  • One third of all adults and most college students
    get too little sleep every night.
  • Even this partial sleep deprivation leaves many
    people exhausted, groggy, and unproductive by
  • Just one hour of lost sleep can affect mood,
    memory, and the ability to pay attention (Coon,

Determining Your Optimal Sleep Needs
  • How can I tell how much sleep I really need?
  • Pick a day when you feel rested. Then sleep that
    night until you wake the next morning without an
    alarm clock.
  • If you feel rested when you wake up, thats your
    natural sleep need.
  • If youre sleeping fewer hours than you need, you
    are building up a sleep debt every day.

Sleep Deprivation Psychosis
  • Severe sleep loss sometimes causes a temporary
    sleep deprivation psychosis like DJ Peter Tripp
  • Confusion, disorientation, delusions, and
    hallucinations are typical of this reaction.
  • Hallucinations may be visual, like Tripps coat
    of furry worms, or tactile, such as feeling
    cobwebs on the face.
  • Fortunately, such crazy behavior is not common.
  • Hallucinations and delusions rarely appear before
    60 hours of wakefulness.
  • The most typical reactions to sleep loss are
    trembling hands, drooping eyelids, inattention,
    staring, increased pain sensitivity, and general

Circadian Rhythms
  • Circa (about) diem (a day).
  • Circadian rhythms (p.129) are cyclical changes in
    body functions and arousal that vary on a 24 hour
  • Every 24 hours your body undergoes a marked cycle
    of changes called circadian rhythms.
  • During the day, large changes take place in body
    temperature, blood pressure, amino acid levels,
    hormones, and other bodily processes.

Circadian Rhythms
  • These changes peak sometime each day. For
    example, output of the hormone adrenaline, which
    causes general arousal, is 3 to 5 times greater
    during the day.
  • Most people are more energetic, alert, and in a
    better mood at the high point of their circadian
  • Differences in such peaks are so basic that when
    a day person rooms with a night person, both
    tend to give their relationship a negative rating
    (p.229). This is easy to understand what could
    be worse than having someone bouncing around
    cheerily when youre half asleep, or the reverse?
  • Rhythms of sleep and waking are so steady that
    they continue for many days, even when clocks and
    light-dark cycles are removed.
  • However, under such conditions, humans eventually
    shift to a sleep-waking cycle that averages 25
    hours, not 24. This suggests that external time
    markers, especially light and dark, help tie our
    sleep rhythms to a normal 24 hour day.
    Otherwise, many of us would drift into our own
    unusual sleep cycles.

Circadian Rhythms
  • Core body temperature is a good indicator of a
    persons circadian rhythms (p. 129).
  • Most people reach a low point 2-3 hours before
    their normal waking time.
  • Both the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island nuclear
    power plant accidents occurred around 4 A.M.
    Might circadian rhythms have played a role in
    human error?
  • Rapid travel to a different time zone, shift
    work, depression, and illness can throw sleep and
    waking patterns out of synchronization with the
    bodys core rhythm. Mismatches of this kind are
    very disruptive.

Sleep Patterns
  • What is the normal range of sleep?
  • A few individuals can get by on only an hour or
    so of sleep a night, and feel perfectly fine.
    However, this is rare.
  • Only 8 of the population are short sleepers,
    averaging 5 hours of sleep or less per night.
  • On the other end of the scale we find long
    sleepers, who doze 9 hours or more and tend to be
    daytime worriers.
  • The majority of us sleep on a familiar 7 to 8
    hour per night schedule.
  • Urging everyone to sleep 8 hours would be like
    advising everyone to wear medium size shoes.
    Some need more or less sleep than the average

Shift Work and Jet Lag
  • Jet Lag (p.129) Disturbed body rhythms caused by
    rapid travel to a different time zone.
  • Basically, the peaks and valleys of a travelers
    circadian rhythms are out of phase with the sun
    and clocks.
  • Shift work has much the same effect as jet lag,
    causing fatigue, irritability, upset stomach,
    nervousness, depression, and a loss of mental
  • For major time zone shifts (5 hours or more), it
    can take from several days to 2 weeks to

Shift Work and Jet Lag
  • Adaptation to jet lag is slowest when you stay
    indoors (in a hotel room, for instance), where
    you can continue to sleep and eat on home time.
  • Getting outdoors, where you must sleep, eat, and
    socialize on the new schedule tends to speed
  • A 5 hour dose of bright sunlight early each day
    in a new time zone is particularly helpful. The
    same principle can be applied to shift work. In
    this case, workers should be bathed in bright
    light during their first few night shifts on a
    new schedule.
  • The direction of travel also affects adaptation.
    If you fly west, adapting is relatively easy,
    taking an average of 4 to 5 days. If you fly
    east, adapting takes 50 longer, or more. Why?
  • When you fly east, the un rises earlier than what
    you are used to. When you fly west, the sun
    comes up later. Getting up at 7 A.M. in New York
    will be like getting up at 4 A.M. in Los Angeles.

  • Preadaptation (Coon, p.231) Matching
    sleep-waking cycles to a new time schedule before
    an anticipated change in circadian rhythms.
    Before traveling, for instance, you should go to
    sleep 1 hour earlier (or later) each day until
    your sleep cycle matches the time at your
  • If you are unable to do that, it helps to fly
    early in the day when you fly east. When you fly
    west, it is better to fly late. (Remember, the E
    in east matches the E in early).
  • Most college students have burned the midnight
    oil at one time or another, especially for final
  • However, it is wise to remember that any major
    deviation from your regular schedule will
    probably cost more than it is worth.

  • Often, you can accomplish as much during 1 hour
    in the morning as you could have in 3 hours of
    work after midnight. The 2 hour difference in
    efficiency might as well be spent sleeping.
  • If you feel you must depart from your normal
    schedule, do it gradually over a period of days.
  • In general, if you can anticipate an upcoming
    body rhythm change (when traveling, before finals
    week, or when doing shift work), it is best to
    adapt yourself to your new schedule beforehand.
  • Melatonin (p.129) A hormone released by the
    pineal gland in response to daily cycles to light
    and dark. It is normally produced at night, and
    is suppressed during daylight.

Melatonin Resetting the Bodys Clock
  • Melatonin has a strong impact on the timing of
    body rhythms and sleep cycles. As far as the
    brain is concerned, its bedtime when melatonin
    levels rise.
  • To reset the bodys clock in a new time zone, a
    small amount of melatonin can be taken about an
    hour before bedtime. This dose is continued for
    as many days as necessary to ease jet lag.
  • The same treatment can be used for rotating work
    shifts, too.

Stages of Sleep The Nightly Roller Coaster Ride
  • Sleep patterns can be measured with an
    electroencephalograph (EEG) or brain wave
  • The brain gives off tiny electrical signals that
    can be amplified and recorded.
  • Beta Waves (pgs.130,132) Small, fast brain waves
    associated with being awake and alert.
  • Immediately before sleep, the pattern shifts to
    larger and slower waves called Alpha Waves
    (large, slow brain waves associated with
    relaxation and falling asleep).
  • Alpha waves also occur when a person is relaxed
    and thoughts are allowed to drift.
  • As the eyes close, breathing becomes slow and
    regular, pulse rate slows, and body temperature
    drops. Soon after, four separate sleep stages
    can be identified, based on a combination of
    brain-wave patterns and behavioral changes.

The Four Stages of Sleep Stage 1
  • Stage 1 As you lose consciousness and enter
    light sleep, your heart rate slows even more. In
    stage 1 sleep, the EEG is made up mainly of
    small, irregular waves with some alpha.
  • Persons awakened at this stage may or may not say
    they were asleep.
  • Breathing becomes more irregular.
  • The muscles of your body relax. This may trigger
    a reflex muscle contraction throughout the body
    called a hypnic jerk.
  • This is quite normal, so have no fear about
    admitting to your friends that you fell asleep
    with a hypnic jerk.

The Four Stages of Sleep Stage 2
  • Stage 2 As sleep deepens, body temperature drops
  • Also, the EEG begins to include sleep spindles
    (Coon, p.233), which are short bursts of
    distinctive brain-wave activity that indicate a
    person is asleep.
  • Spindles seem to mark the true boundary of sleep.
    Within 4 minutes after spindles appear, most
    people who are awakened say they were asleep.

The Four Stages of Sleep Stage 3
  • In stage 3, a new brain wave called delta
    (p.130-132) begins to appear.
  • Delta waves are very large and slow brain waves
    that occur in deeper sleep (stages 3 and 4).
  • The presence of delta waves signals deeper sleep
    and a further loss of consciousness.

The Four Stages of Sleep Stage 4
  • Stage 4 Deep Sleep (the deepest level of normal
    sleep) is reached after about an hour.
  • In stage 4, brain waves become almost pure delta
    (large and slow), and the sleeper is in a state
    of oblivion.
  • If you make a loud noise during stage 4 sleep,
    the sleeper will awaken in confusion and may not
    remember the noise.
  • After spending some time in stage 4, sleepers
    return through stages 3 and 2 to stage 1.
    Further shifts between deeper and lighter sleep
    occur throughout the night.

Rapid Eye Movement (REM)
  • REM or Rapid Eye Movement (p.131) Swift eye
    movements during sleep, strongly associated with
  • About 85 of the time, people awakened during REM
    sleep report vivid dreams.
  • In addition to rapid eye movements, REM sleep is
    marked by a return to fast, irregular EEG
    patterns similar to stage 1 sleep.
  • REM sleep is easy to observe in pets, such as
    dogs and cats. Watch for eye and facial
    movements and for irregular breathing.
  • You can forget about your pet iguana, though.
    Reptiles show no signs of REM sleep. Theyre
    LIVIN the dream, baby!

What is the purpose of REM Sleep?
  • Early in life, dreaming may stimulate the
    developing brain.
  • Newborn babies spend a hearty 8 or 9 hours a day
    in REM sleep. Thats about 50 of their total
    sleep time.
  • In adulthood, REM sleep increases after learning,
    so it may help restore brain chemicals needed for
    learning and memory.
  • Dreams may prevent sensory deprivation during
    sleep and aid the processing of emotional events.
  • REM sleep also seems to help sort and integrate
    memories formed during the day (p.131).
  • Speaking very loosely, it is as if the dreaming
    brain reviews messages left during the day, in
    order to decide which are worth keeping.
  • Although we have much to learn, it is clear that
    REM sleep and dreaming are valuable for keeping
    the brain in good working order.

REM Sleep Deprivation
  • How important is dream sleep? Is it essential
    for normal functioning?
  • To answer these questions, researcher William
    Dement awakened volunteers each time they entered
    REM sleep.
  • He was punched in the face repeatedly.
  • Just kidding.
  • Soon, it seemed that their need to dream was
    growing more urgent.
  • By the fifth night, many had to be awakened 20 or
    30 times to prevent REM sleep.

REM Sleep Deprivation
  • When the volunteers were finally allowed to sleep
    undisturbed, they dreamed extra amounts. This
    effect, called a REM Rebound, explains why
    alcoholics often have horrible nightmares after
    they quit drinking.
  • Alcohol suppresses REM sleep and sets up a
    powerful rebound when it is withdrawn.
  • It is worth remembering that while alcohol and
    other depressant drugs may help a person get to
    sleep, they greatly reduce the quality of sleep.
  • Dements volunteers complained of memory lapses,
    poor concentration, and daytime anxiety. For a
    while, it looked like people deprived of REM
    sleep might go crazy. But this is now known as
    the REM myth.
  • Later experiments showed that missing any sleep
    stage can cause a rebound for that stage. In
    general, daytime disturbances are related to the
    total amount of sleep lost, not to the type of
    sleep lost.

NREM SLEEP Somnambulism
  • NREM (Non Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep (p.131)
    Sleep characteristic of stages 2, 3, and 4.
  • Somnambulism (sleepwalking) and sleeptalking
    occur in NREM sleep, stages 3 and 4.
  • Being deeply asleep probably explains why
    sleeptalking makes little sense and why
    sleepwalkers are confused and remember little
    when they are awakened.

Night Terrors Nightmares
  • Night Terrors (Coon, p.235) More intense than
    ordinary nightmares. A state of total panic where
    a person may hallucinate frightening dream images
    into the room. Most children outgrow the problem
    by adolescence. (Nevid, p.137)
  • Night terrors occur during NREM sleep.
  • Since night terrors occur when the body is not
    immobilized, the person may sit up, scream, get
    out of bed, or run around.
  • Victims remember little afterward. Other family
    members, however, may remember the incident for
    quite some time!

Night Terrors Nightmares
  • Night terrors are most common in childhood, but
    they continue to plague some adults throughout
    their lives.
  • Nightmares (p.137) A bad dream that occurs
    during REM sleep.
  • Most people have about 2 nightmares a month.
    Nightmares are much less severe than Night
    Terrors. People are more susceptible to
    nightmares when they are under emotional stress,
    have high fevers, or are suffering from sleep

How to Eliminate a Nightmare
  • A bad nightmare can be worse than any horror
    movie. You can leave a theater, but often we
    remain trapped in our most terrifying dreams.
  • Yet, bad as they may be, most nightmares can be
    banished by following three simple steps
  • Write down your nightmare, describing it in
  • Next, change the dream any way you wish, being
    sure to spell out the details of the new dream.
  • The third step is imagery rehearsal (Coon,
    p.235), in which you mentally rehearse the
    changed dream before you fall asleep again.

How to Eliminate a Nightmare
  • Imagery rehearsal may work because it makes
    upsetting dreams familiar while a person is awake
    and feeling safe.
  • Or perhaps it mentally reprograms future dream
  • In any case, the technique has proved helpful for
    many people (Krakow et al., 1996).

Sleep Disturbances Things That go Wrong in the
  • Hypersomnia Excessive daytime sleepiness. This
    can result from depression, insomnia, narcolepsy,
    sleep apnea, sleep drunkenness, periodic limb
    movements, drug abuse, and other problems.
  • Insomnia Difficulty in getting to sleep or
    staying asleep also, not feeling rested after
  • Narcolepsy Sudden, irresistible, daytime sleep
    attacks that may last anywhere from a few minutes
    to a half hour. Victims may fall asleep while
    standing, talking, or even driving.
  • Nightmare Disorder Vivid, recurrent nightmares
    that significantly disturb sleep.
  • Periodic Limb Movement Syndrome Muscle twitches
    (primarily affecting the legs) that occur every
    20 to 40 seconds and severely disturb sleep.
  • For more information, please refer to Coon p.236
    or Nevid p.136.

Sleep Disturbances Things That go Wrong in the
  • REM behavior disorder A failure of normal muscle
    paralysis, leading to violent actions during REM
  • Restless Legs Syndrome An irresistible urge to
    move the legs in order to relieve sensations of
    creeping, tingling, prickling, aching, or
  • Sleep Apnea During sleep, breathing stops for 20
    seconds or more until the person wakes a little,
    gulps in air, and settles back to sleep this
    cycle may be repeated hundreds of times per
  • Sleep Drunkenness A slow transition to clear
    consciousness after awakening sometimes
    associated with irritable or aggressive behavior.

Sleep Disturbances Things That go Wrong in the
  • Sleep Terror Disorder The repeated occurrence of
    night terrors that significantly disturb sleep
  • Sleep-Wake Schedule Disorder A mismatch between
    the sleep-wake schedule demanded by a persons
    bodily rhythm and that demanded by the
  • Sleepwalking Disorder Repeated incidents of
    leaving bed and walking about while asleep.

Dream Interpretation
  • How meaningful are dreams? Calvin Hall, a noted
    dream expert, collected and analyzed over 10,000
    dreams (Hall et al., 1982).
  • Hall found that most dreams reflect everyday
  • The favorite dream setting is usually a familiar
    room in a house.
  • Action usually takes place between the dreamer
    and two or three other emotionally important
    people friends, enemies, parents, or employers.
  • Dream actions are also mostly familiar running,
    jumping, riding, sitting, talking, and watching.
  • For more information, please see Coon p. 237 or
    Nevid pgs. 132-134.

Dream Interpretation
  • About half of all dreams have sexual elements.
  • Dreams of flying, floating, and falling occur
    less frequently.
  • Hall also found that if you are dreaming more
    now, you may be enjoying it less.
  • Unpleasant emotions such as fear, anger, and
    sadness are more common in dreams than pleasant
    emotions (Coon, p.237).
  • Most theorists agree that dreams reflect our
    waking thoughts, fantasies, and emotions. How
    deep should we dig in interpreting dreams?

Psychodynamic Dream Theory
  • Some theorists believe that dreams have deeply
    hidden meanings. Others regard dreams as
    practically meaningless.
  • Psychodynamic Theory (p.134) Emphasizes internal
    conflicts, motives, and unconscious forces.
  • Freuds book The Interpretation of Dreams in
    1900 first advanced the idea that many dreams are
    based on wish fulfillment (an expression of
    unconscious desires).
  • Freud believed that the contents of our dreams
    reflect internal conflicts and unconscious
  • While many of Freuds ideas are attractive, there
    is evidence against them. For example,
    volunteers in a study of starvation showed no
    particular increase in dreams about food or
  • Freuds response would probably have been that
    dreams rarely express needs so directly. One of
    Freuds key insights is that ideas in dreams are
    expressed as images or pictures, rather than in

Psychodynamic Dream Theory
  • Freud believed that dreams express unconscious
    desires and conflicts as disguised dream symbols
    (images that have deeper symbolic meaning).
  • Death might be symbolized as a journey, children
    by small animals, or sexual intercourse by
    horseback riding or dancing.
  • Similarly, a woman sexually attracted to her best
    friends husband may dream of stealing her best
    friends wedding ring and placing it on her own
    hand, an indirect symbol of her true desires.

The Activation-Synthesis Hypothesis
  • Scientists Allan Hobson and Robert McCarley have
    a radically different view of dreaming.
  • After studying REM sleep in cats, Hobson and
    McCarley believe that dreams are made in this
  • During REM sleep, brain cells are activated that
    normally control eye movements, balance, and
    actions. However, messages from the cells are
    blocked from reaching the body, so no movement
    occurs. Nevertheless, the cells continue to tell
    higher brain areas of their activities.
  • As it struggles to interpret this information,
    the brain searches through stored memories and
    manufactures a dream. Hobson and McCarley call
    this view of dreaming the Activation-Synthesis
  • Hobson explains that the brain is turned on
    (activated) during sleep, and then generates and
    integrates (synthesizes) its own sensory and
    motor information.

The Activation-Synthesis Hypothesis
  • How does the Activation-Synthesis Hypothesis help
    explain dream content? Lets use the classic
    chase dream as an example.
  • In such dreams we feel we are running but not
    going anywhere. This occurs because the brain is
    told the body is running, but it gets no feedback
    from the motionless legs.
  • To make sense of this information, the brain
    creates a chase drama. Viewed this way, dreams
    have no hidden meanings. They are merely a
    different kind of thinking that occurs during

The Activation-Synthesis Hypothesis
  • This hypothesis seems to account for some dream
    experiences, but it does not explain why dreams
    tend to be more about a persons current concerns
    than other topics.
  • Many psychologists continue to believe that
    dreams have deeper meaning.
  • If you would like to collect and interpret your
    own dreams, the Applications section (Coon, p.
    260 and Nevid, p.134) offers some suggestions for
    getting started.

  • Hypnosis (p.139) An altered state of
    consciousness, characterized by a narrowed
    attention and an increased openness to
  • Some psychologists define hypnosis as a blend of
    conformity, relaxation, imagination, obedience,
    suggestion, and role-playing.
  • Either way, the point is that hypnosis can be
    explained by normal psychological principles. It
    is not mysterious or magical.

Hypnotic Susceptibility
  • Interest in hypnosis began in the 1700s with
    Franz Mesmer, whose name is the basis for the
    term Mesmerize (to hypnotize).
  • EEG records made during hypnosis do not match
    those seen during sleep (p.139). Hypnosis is not
  • Can anyone be hypnotized? Hypnotic
    susceptibility (ones capacity for being
    hypnotized) about 8 people out of 10 can be
    hypnotized, but only 4 out of 10 will be good
    hypnotic subjects.

Hypnotic Susceptibility
  • People who are imaginative and prone to fantasy
    are often very hypnotizable. But people who lack
    these traits can also be hypnotized.
  • If you are willing to be hypnotized, chances are
    good that you could be. Hypnosis depends more on
    the efforts and abilities of the hypnotized
    person than the skills of the hypnotist.
  • Make no mistake People who are hypnotized are
    not merely faking their responses.

Hypnotic Susceptibility
  • Hypnotic susceptibility refers to how easily a
    person can become hypnotized. It can be measured
    by giving suggestions and counting the number to
    which a person responds.
  • A typical hypnotic test is the Stanford Hypnotic
    Susceptibility Scale (shown on Coon page 239).
    It lists suggested behaviors (like eye closure
    without forcing, hand lowering, and
    immobilization), along with the criterion of
    passing each task. If a subject voluntarily
    complies, and becomes immobile upon request, or
    closes the eyes as soon as it has been suggested,
    they are deemed good candidates for hypnosis.
  • If you were to score high on the scale today, you
    probably would score the same years from now.
    Hypnotizability is very stable over time (Coon

Inducing Hypnosis
  • All hypnotic induction techniques encourage a
  • person to
  • Focus attention on what is being said.
  • Relax and feel tired.
  • Let go and accept suggestions easily.
  • Use vivid imagination.
  • Notice that a person must cooperate to become
    hypnotized. Thats
  • why all hypnosis may really be self-hypnosis (or
  • From this perspective, hypnotists act as guides.
    They basically
  • help another person follow a series of
    suggestions. These, in turn,
  • alter sensations, perceptions, thoughts,
    feelings, and behaviors.

Effects of Hypnosis
  • Many abilities have been tested during hypnosis,
    leading to the following conclusions
  • Superhuman acts of strength hypnosis has no more
    effect on physical strength than instructions
    that encourage a person to make his or her best
  • Memory there is some evidence that hypnosis can
    enhance memory. However, it frequently increases
    the number of false memories, as well. For this
    reason, many states now bar people who have been
    hypnotized from testifying in court.
  • Amnesia A person told not to remember something
    heard during hypnosis may claim not to remember.
    In some instances, this may be nothing more than
    a deliberate attempt to avoid thinking about
    specific ideas. However, a recent study
    concluded that brief memory loss of this type
    actually does occur.

Effects of Hypnosis
  • Pain relief hypnosis can relieve pain (p.140).
    Therefore, it can be especially useful in
    situations where chemical painkillers cannot be
    used or are ineffective. One such situation is
    control of phantom limb pain (recurring pains
    that amputees sometimes feel coming from the
    missing limb).
  • Age regression Given the proper suggestions,
    some hypnotized people appear to regress to
    childhood. However, most theorists now believe
    that age-regressed subjects are only acting out
    a suggested role.

Effects of Hypnosis
  • Sensory Changes Hypnotic suggestions concerning
    sensations are among the most effective. Given
    the proper instructions, a person can be made to
    smell a small bottle of ammonia and respond as if
    it were a wonderful perfume. It is also possible
    to alter color vision, hearing sensitivity, time
    sense, perception of illusions, and many other
    sensory responses.
  • Hypnosis is a valuable tool. It can help people
    relax, feel less pain, and make better progress
    in therapy. In general, hypnosis is more
    successful at changing subjective experience than
    it is at modifying behaviors such as smoking or
    overeating. Thus, hypnotic effects are useful,
    but seldom amazing.

  • Meditation is one way to elicit the relaxation
    response (the pattern of internal bodily changes
    that occurs during times of relaxation). This
    relaxation response is an innate physiological
    pattern that opposes the bodys fight-or-flight
  • Meditation takes two major forms
  • Concentrative Meditation Attention is given to a
    single focal point, such as a thought, an object,
    or ones own breathing.
  • Receptive Meditation Open or expansive in this
    case, attention is widened to embrace a total,
    non-judgmental awareness of the world. An
    example is losing all self-consciousness while
    walking in the wilderness with a quiet and
    receptive mind.
  • Receptive meditation is more difficult to attain
    than concentrative meditation.
  • Relaxation can be mental as well as physical.
    Meditation may be beneficial for people who find
    it difficult to turn off upsetting thoughts
    when they need to relax. Instructions for simple
    concentrative meditation are found on Coon page
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