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Consciousness and the Two-Track Mind - Psychology

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Response Paper - Consciousness and the Two-Track Mind

In reading Chapter 3: Consciousness and the Two-Track Mind, I started to realize how much more there is to our consciousness, and sleeping. I’ve associated some of the readings on the Dual Processing mind, to my own personal experiences, answering a few questions I had always pondered but never bothered to find out.

Consciousness, as the book stated, really can be a funny thing. As I delved into Chapter 3, my consciousness immediately began to drift away. I was telling myself in my head how “I have to try to read as much of this chapter tonight, so I could focus on the writing the next day”. Funny thing is I didn’t actually notice what was happening until I read “And then there are those times when consciousness seems to split. Reading Green Eggs and Ham to my preschooler for the umpteenth time, my obliging mouth could say the words while my mind wandered elsewhere.” However, I also had to reread a chunk of the text because even though my eyes were reading, my mind didn’t quite grasp any of what I’d just read while I was pondering about the reading and writing assignment.

At first, I couldn’t quite comprehend what the book was talking about when it mentioned The Two-Track Mind or spoke of Dual Processing. But suddenly I saw it from a different perspective and it just clicked. Computers have different kinds of processors; dual-core processors boost the system’s multitasking computing powers. So the same must be true for dual processing, allowing us to do more things at once.

However, dual-core processing computers are able to efficiently handle intensive tasks, where we are limited; according to this passage on The Two-Track Mind “Serial conscious processing, though slower than parallel processing, is skilled at solving new problems, which require our focused attention… Tap a steady beat three times with your left hand while tapping four times with your right hand. Both tasks require attention, which can be in only one place at a time.” This is true, for I have noticed that I’m unable to perform at my usual skill level on video games when trying to hold a conversation. The conversation, just as much as the video game requires my attention, so I must sacrifice my attention on one in order to do the other. Likewise, the reason I wasn’t able to comprehend what I read earlier, while my consciousness drifted, was because of something called Selective Attention.

I’ve always been disturbed with the fact that most of us will spend a third of our entire lives sleeping. I’d always thought of sleep as a waste of time, but something that the body needed in order to function properly. But now I’m intrigued with the mystery that lies in that 3rd of our lives. “Thirty-seven percent of people report rarely or never having dreams that they can remember the next morning”(Moore, 2004). Unknown to those people, they spend about 600 hours a year experiencing some 1500 dreams, or more than 100,000 dreams over a typical lifetime—dreams swallowed by the night but never acted out, thanks to REM’s protective paralysis.

“While sleeping, you may feel dead to the world, but you are not. Even when you are deeply asleep, your perceptual window is not completely shut.” This is very true, I’ve noticed there are certain things, mainly sounds, that even when asleep, I tend to respond to. Such as hearing my name, as the book states, but even sounds like the meow of my cat. But, it’s also mentioned how “The occasional roar of passing vehicles may leave your deep sleep undisturbed.” Which makes me wonder why some sounds and not others, is it dependent on something simple such as the volume or pitch of the sound, or perhaps something more complicated and deeper such as how they are related to us, past experiences, or their importance in our lives?

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