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Critical Thinking Questions

25. Healthcare professionals often work rotating shifts. Why is this problematic? What can be done to deal with potential problems?

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26. Generally, humans are considered diurnal which means we are awake during the day and asleep during the night. Many rodents, on the other hand, are nocturnal. Why do you think different animals have such different sleep-wake cycles?

27. If theories that assert sleep is necessary for restoration and recovery from daily energetic demands are correct, what do you predict about the relationship that would exist between individuals’ total sleep duration and their level of activity?

28. How could researchers determine if given areas of the brain are involved in the regulation of sleep?

29. Differentiate the evolutionary theories of sleep and make a case for the one with the most compelling evidence.

30. Freud believed that dreams provide important insight into the unconscious mind. He maintained that a dream’s manifest content could provide clues into an individual’s unconscious. What potential criticisms exist for this particular perspective?

31. Some people claim that sleepwalking and talking in your sleep involve individuals acting out their dreams. Why is this particular explanation unlikely?

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This OpenStax book is available for free at http://cnx.org/content/col31502/1.4



32. One of the recommendations that therapists will make to people who suffer from insomnia is to spend less waking time in bed. Why do you think spending waking time in bed might interfere with the ability to fall asleep later?

33. How is narcolepsy with cataplexy similar to and different from REM sleep?

34. The negative health consequences of both alcohol and tobacco products are well-documented. A drug like marijuana, on the other hand, is generally considered to be as safe, if not safer than these legal drugs. Why do you think marijuana use continues to be illegal in many parts of the United States?

35. Why are programs designed to educate people about the dangers of using tobacco products just as important as developing tobacco cessation programs?

36. What advantages exist for researching the potential health benefits of hypnosis?

37. What types of studies would be most convincing regarding the effectiveness of meditation in the treatment for some type of physical or mental disorder?

Personal Application Questions

38. We experience shifts in our circadian clocks in the fall and spring of each year with time changes associated with daylight saving time. Is springing ahead or falling back easier for you to adjust to, and why do you think that is?

39. What do you do to adjust to the differences in your daily schedule throughout the week? Are you running a sleep debt when daylight saving time begins or ends?

40. Have you (or someone you know) ever experienced significant periods of sleep deprivation because of simple insomnia, high levels of stress, or as a side effect from a medication? What were the consequences of missing out on sleep?

41. Researchers believe that one important function of sleep is to facilitate learning and memory. How does knowing this help you in your college studies? What changes could you make to your study and sleep habits to maximize your mastery of the material covered in class?

42. What factors might contribute to your own experiences with insomnia?

43. Many people experiment with some sort of psychoactive substance at some point in their lives. Why do you think people are motivated to use substances that alter consciousness?

44. Under what circumstances would you be willing to consider hypnosis and/or meditation as a treatment option? What kind of information would you need before you made a decision to use these techniques?

Chapter 4 | States of Consciousness 153



154 Chapter 4 | States of Consciousness

This OpenStax book is available for free at http://cnx.org/content/col31502/1.4



Chapter 5

Sensation and Perception

Figure 5.1 If you were standing in the midst of this street scene, you would be absorbing and processing numerous pieces of sensory input. (credit: modification of work by Cory Zanker)

Chapter Outline

5.1 Sensation versus Perception

5.2 Waves and Wavelengths

5.3 Vision

5.4 Hearing

5.5 The Other Senses

5.6 Gestalt Principles of Perception


Imagine standing on a city street corner. You might be struck by movement everywhere as cars and people go about their business, by the sound of a street musician’s melody or a horn honking in the distance, by the smell of exhaust fumes or of food being sold by a nearby vendor, and by the sensation of hard pavement under your feet.

We rely on our sensory systems to provide important information about our surroundings. We use this information to successfully navigate and interact with our environment so that we can find nourishment, seek shelter, maintain social relationships, and avoid potentially dangerous situations.

This chapter will provide an overview of how sensory information is received and processed by the nervous system and how that affects our conscious experience of the world. We begin by learning the distinction between sensation and perception. Then we consider the physical properties of light and sound stimuli, along with an overview of the basic structure and function of the major sensory systems. The chapter will close with a discussion of a historically important theory of perception called Gestalt.

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