Defining the Conscious State Essay

Defining the Conscious State Essay

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I have been asked to answer the following questions; how do psychologists define conscious states? How can these conscious states be measured?
In order to do so, I shall be looking at different sources and reviewing various definitions and interpretations of consciousness and distinguishing the methods approached to the study of the topic in the way it is measured.

The original source of the concept of consciousness is considered to come from the English Philosopher John Locke who perceived the term to be “the perception of what passes in a man’s own mind” (Locke 1690). The challenge of defining the term is even considered daunting as it is still found to be difficult in giving a specific definition. Although, most psychologists appreciate that there is a basic broad understanding of the term, that being: the general awareness of an individual whilst awake. There has not yet been an ultimate and concluding definition. This is demonstrated by Francis Crick and Christoff Koch (as cited in Güzeldere, 1997) who stated ‘they need not provide a precise definition of consciousness since everyone has a rough idea of what is meant by consciousness', this was written in 1990, a far more recent indication of consciousness still being free from complete human understanding, even the greatest minds have struggled with Sigmund Freud (as cited in Güzeldere, 1997) declaring “What is meant by consciousness we need not discuss; it is beyond all doubt.”

Much like Freud’s attitude to the understanding of consciousness, Stuart Sutherland seems accepting of the fact that regardless of psychologists perceptions and interpretations of what consciousness is, it is somewhat worthless trying to depict the true definition of the theory, as there is no...


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...define consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 16(5), p139-156
Williams, J. (1892) The Stream of Consciousness. Journal of Cosmology, volume 14
Williams, J. (1904) Does ‘Consciousness’ Exist?. Journal of Philosophy, Psychology, and Scientific Methods, 1, p477-491
http://www.markbancroft.com/info/what-is-consciousness
http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/35140/title/Measuring-Consciousness/
Definitions of consciousness. Retrieved January 24th 2014, from http://www.consciousentities.com/definitions.htm
The basics of General Anesthesia. Retrieved February 13th 2014, from http://science.howstuffworks.com/anesthesia4.htm
What is Introspection. Retrieved February 13th 2014, from http://psychology.about.com/od/historyofpsychology/fl/What-Is-Introspection.htm
http://www.mind.ilstu.edu/curriculum/consciousness_sci_of/consciousness_sci_of.php

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