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Social Sci LibreTexts

5: States of Consciousness

  • Page ID
    38224
    • Contributed by No Attribution
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    • 5.1: Sleeping and Dreaming Revitalize Us for Action
      The lives of all organisms, including humans, are influenced by regularly occurring cycles of behaviors known as biological rhythms. One important biological rhythm is the annual cycle that guides the migration of birds and the hibernation of bears. Women also experience a 28-day cycle that guides their fertility and menstruation. But perhaps the strongest and most important biorhythm is the daily circadian rhythm that guides the daily waking and sleeping cycle in many animals.
    • 5.2: Altering Consciousness With Psychoactive Drugs
      A psychoactive drug is a chemical that changes our states of consciousness, and particularly our perceptions and moods. These drugs are commonly found in everyday foods and beverages, including chocolate, coffee, and soft drinks, as well as in alcohol and in over-the-counter drugs, such as aspirin, Tylenol, and cold and cough medication. Psychoactive drugs are also frequently prescribed as sleeping pills, tranquilizers, and antianxiety medications.
    • 5.3: Altering Consciousness Without Drugs
      Although the use of psychoactive drugs can easily and profoundly change our experience of consciousness, we can also—and often more safely—alter our consciousness without drugs. These altered states of consciousness are sometimes the result of simple and safe activities, such as sleeping, watching television, exercising, or working on a task that intrigues us. In this section we consider the changes in consciousness that occur through hypnosis, sensory deprivation, and meditation.
    • 5.4: States of Consciousness (Summary)