9 thoughts on “Modern trends in Psychology”

  1. Consciousness means ‘being aware’. It happened to be a major topic in early philosophy as well as early psychology eg introspection method. Freud to used consciousness based techniques like hypnosis and free association in his therapy. However, with rise of scientific approach in psychology it took a back seat and we saw new fields like beahviourism. Recantly with new technology like EEg, PET, MRI etc the interest in consciousness studies has surged again. It is studied through altered states of consciousness (ASC).

    Some further developments are:

    1. Our brain has different brain wave patterns in different altered states of consciousness (sleep, wake, meditation) even within each of these states the pattrrn varies.
    2. Drug induced hypnosis has been exploited in investigation where drugs helps lower resistance.
    3. Use of drugs like LSD, are throwing light on physiology of consciousness where it has been found that LSD has similar structure as that of neurotransmitter serotonin. Alteration in concentration of LSD or to that cause serotonin has shown dramatic effects in consciousness.

    Meditation is founding increasing space in modern psychotherapy. It is a deliberate attempt to enter an ASC where using focussed or non focused techniques an individual is able to eventually stop conscious thought process.
    Meditation state reveals a unique brain wave pattern and psychologically it creates a general soothing experience, considerably lowers anxiety and acts as a destressor, providing much needed relaxation.
    Contemplative meditation allows a person to look deep and resolve conflicfs,
    mindfullness meditation allows a person to live in present lowering anxiety,
    transcedetal meditation is a higher level where person witness out of body experience etc.

    1. More emphasis should be given on the development of studies. You rightly mentioned the names of different lines of studies but elaborated upon the findings inadequately.
      Consciousness is not just being aware. It’s much more. Awareness is not only less or more but varies in quality also. A meditative consciousness is blissful. It associates with it several emotions , cognition and flow that are not present in ordinary happiness due to sensual pleasure.
      Rest is great..👍

  2. consciousness can be defined as the awareness of internal and external world at a point of time. William james was one of the earliest pioneers to study consciousness,followed by a series of star psychologists ,few being allen hobson,herbert benson ,anton mesmer and sigmund freud.
    The research in consciousness has gone through wax and wane starting with a boom in the era of william james with introspection method which thwarted psychologists interest because of immense subjectivity linked to the method ,though with invention of new technology like EEG and growing interest of psychologist in conscious altering drugs,hypnosis and meditation techniques it has been brought back to limelight.

    some of the salient development in this field are-
    1.major breakthrough in sleep research after the invention of EEG machine as it helped to identify the depth ,stage,of sleep with considerable pragmatics and accuracy.
    Today we know that sleep has 4 NREM STAGE distinguished on the basis of neural activity in brain specifically on basis of waves detected from brain and 1REM stage which has become the easy recognised sign for dream sleeping due to connected physiological activity ,such as rapid eye movements and relaxed state of muscle tone.
    The study of sleep has helped in understanding and treating various sleep related disorders like insomnia,sleep walking,narcolepsy .

    2.State and Non state theories have been developed for hypnosis ,one considers hypnosis
    as an altered state of consciousness and other as a result of motivation to comply and imaginative ability.Though EEG results show no such altered state of a hypnotic mind,both the theories have helped psychologists in treating humans on a subconscious level naturally without using drugs and sedatives .

    3.Extreme research has been done on psychoactive drugs that produce an altered conscious state by altering brain’s normal activity due to treat people specially soldiers during world war days and later for being used as a recreational drug by youth .

    meditation is a natural technique to reach an altered state of mind through forced attention , it has been preached by all the religion from centuries though it became part of scientific research from 1930’s .As stated by herbert benson mediatation has both physiological aswell psychological effects,the latter one being sense of calmness and peace ,feeling of enlightenment,release of stress , well being and even increased focus and attention in real life .
    As said by renowned meditator Dandapani, awareness and mind is different when one meditates he can take his awareness away from his present place to anywhere through his mind .Hence,meditation is a beautiful technique which can be used by any age group human to bring peace,calmness and enlightenment in his life .

  3. Psychology was developed as a branch of human consciousness . James made profound observation about conscious experience . He described ‘walking consciousness’ is one of the many possible form of consciousness .

    But james idea consciousness lacks scientific validity as he use introspection technique . Introspection method yields only subjective evidence , so it lacks scientific method of validation. With the scientific development research on conscious gain its popularity again.

    The major breakthrough in the research with the use of EEG machine for recording the brain electrical activity during sleep. With the help of sleep and dream analysis research can conclude different pattern of consciousness. As For example during sleep we are in the altered state of consciousness will differed from consciousness during meditation .
    Use of drug induced hypnosis or hypnosis gave breakthrough in research of consciousness.

    Meditation is a method for voluntarily producing a state of consciousness distinct both and normal waking consciousness. Meditation usually report a sense of calmness . detachment while meditating that may continue into their daily activities. It helps lower anxiety .

    While meditating some may also experience sensation of floating or even being detached from their body. Though such shift in consciousness not always pleasant for some people

  4. Consciousness simply refers to awareness aspect of individual (both internal and external events). Conscious experiences range from sensations, thoughts, feelings to mental images. Consciousness studies have focussed upon how consciousness affects behaviour of individual.
    1. Early psychologists like William James in his studies considered consciousness to be of dynamic nature such that each individual experiences streams of consciousness and that consciousness is an ability that enhances survival of person by limiting input using attention (searchlight of consciousness) as a means to select only useful stimuli of which one wishes to be aware of.
    2. Freud in his studies considered consciousness to be distinct from subconscious (preconscious and unconscious processes) part of human mind and suggested that unconscious processes had profound impact on person’s conscious activities.
    3. Photographic theory of consciousness acknowledges fact that it is impossible for an individual to attend to innumerable stimuli and selective attention is a mental process that limits information. Shadowing experiments strengthen this finding.
    4. Extended shadowing experimental studies showed how information at unconscious levels influenced conscious information processing.
    5. Current view holds that both conscious (effortful) and unconscious (automatic) level processing occurs simultaneously and one’s behaviour reflects influence of both processes.

    Meditation is also a form of consciousness and its effect on psychological functioning is supported by following observations.
    1. Meditation induces state of calmness where a person narrows focus of attention to limited area of interest.
    2. Research study has found that meditators performed better on all measures of attention. Results from same study indicate that attentional performance and cognitive flexibility are positively related to meditation practice and levels of mindfulness.
    3. Another research study has found that mindfulness meditation reduces anger, anxiety, depression, emotional irritability and lowers intensity of total mood disturbances and habitual patterns of stress.
    Consciousness is integral in determining human behaviour and complex psychological phenomenon .

  5. In psychology there has been many major studies to understand various categories and dimensions of consciousness.

    Waking states of Consciousness – There are broadly three states when we are awake depending upon the psychological resources allocated and awareness about them.
    1)Controlled processing – when we are fully aware of the task.
    2)Automatic processing- when we are not aware of the thinking or behavior.
    3)Unconscious processing – these can not be normally be bring to awareness.For example – the unconscious motives in our Id or the phenomena of Priming.

    Sleep – Various studies have shown that sleeping involves different conscious state and there is pattern in it.Sleep involves two states i.e. REM sleep and NREM sleep.NREM itself has four stages according to the type of electrical activity in the brain and other physiological state involved.

    Hypnosis – The subject think,feel and behave according to the suggestion of the hypnotist.

    Psychoactive drugs – The user passes into different state and may be relaxed,stimulated or perceptually distorted.For example – Marijuana

    Meditation – It is a self induced state which makes a person mentally and physiologically relaxed which is generally enduring.

    Effects of meditation on psychological functions –
    Cognitive functions – Better critical reasoning and decision making.
    -Better perceptual faculties in short and long run.
    -Better attention and concentration ability hence fosters mindfulness.For example – reduced stereotyping.

    Emotional functions – Reduction in stress and anxiety.
    -Increased emotional regulation.
    -Enhanced subjective well being.

  6. Consciousness is anything that an individual is aware of at any given moment(Schneider).It includes both external stimuli(Ex : Sensation ) as well as internal mental events (Ex : feelings, thoughts). Development of Consciousness studies hitherto rested upon behavioral studies.
    1. In 19th century William james attempted to theorise the structure of Consciousness as he said Waking Consciousness is but one part of consciousness. He even concluded the basis of consciousness is survival.But his studies relied on Introspection method (individual’s experience) and hence lacked scientific validity.
    2. Sigmund Freud’s Free Association studies made consiousness distinct from subconsciousness and unconciousness.It triggered research on dreams and sleep.
    3. Photographic theory of consciousness held attention as the limiting factor on one’s consciousness. It led to furthur research into selective attention.
    4.shadowing experiments furthur gave credence to freud’s theory of consciousness and validated the fact that individual’s behaviour is sum total of conscious and unconscious processing of information. It lent insight into cognitive processing.
    5.However recent advancements in biological sciences and technology has generated interest in psycologists to look for scientifiic basis of consciousness. Techniques like EEG (electro Encephelogram),PET(Positron Emission Tomography) have led to development of Biopsychological model of consciousness. Differing Brain wave patterns (from PET) have led to research on altered state of consciousness like sleep, hypnosis and meditation.
    6. Today Consciouness studies have evolved to such an extent that even Artifical Intelligence studies are depending on them in emulating a true Human behaviour. Ex: Research to produce a true Humanoid(Machine as a Human) relies heavily on consciousness studies.

    Hence consciouness studies are still evolving due to vagues and mystery still shrouding the term “Consciouness”.

    Meditation is a deliberate attempt by an individual to enter into an altered state of consciousness through various techniques(Ex: Yoga). Its effects on one’s psycological functions have been observed through :
    scientific analysis –
    1. Brain wave pattern(PET scan)suggest state of calmness equivalent to deep sleep during meditation.
    2. EEg (Electroencephelofram) measuring skin response shows no arousal during meditaion validating state of relaxation.
    Subjective Experience(indiviudal’s experience) –
    1. Feeling of pleasantness.
    2. Zero Negativity in one’s thoughts.
    3. Minfulness experience helping individual to concentrate on one thing.
    4. Cognitive appraisal tends to be more appropriate.
    5. Awareness is holistic.
    6. Emotions are easily controllable suggesting improved emotional intelligence.
    7. Enhancement in problem solving due to improved focus and holistic awareness.

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