Consciousness

Biological Rhythms and Sleep

How to Sleep Better: How Circadian Rhythm Affects Sleep

A woman sits on a sofa with alarm clock in hand. In this short clip, she defines circadian rhythms and how they affect sleep. She also explains why going to bed at a decent hour helps our processes of rejuvenation. What are circadian rhythms? Is there any truth to the adage “early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise?” Why does the speaker suggest going to bed between 9pm to 10pm?

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How To Avoid Jet Lag

This Howcast is a “how to” slide show with a female voiceover during animations. Eight steps are presented for travelers to lessen the impact of crossing time zones. Some dry humor and light-hearted images are contained in this clip. What can one do before a trip to lessen the impact of crossing time zones? At the end of the Howcast, a research finding was presented: “Hamsters who got a shot of Viagra adjusted to a new time zone faster than a control group.” What questions do you have about this research?

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EMG Test

In this clip, a female voiceover explains the reasoning for using EMG. This clip is a simulation of a doctor’s office visit including the insertion of electrodes and administration of nerve tests. Why do clinicians use EMG? What do the inserted electrodes measure? What is the rationale for examining EMG for muscle tissue at rest? How are EMGs used to better understand our sleep cycles?

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Microsleep Commercial RTA

In this PSA from the United Kingdom, Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki explains the concept of a microsleep, and why it is such a problem while driving. While the statistics he gives use the metric system, microsleeps are no less dangerous in the United States. What are microsleeps a symptom of? What other activities may be made more dangerous if you were to experience a microsleep?

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Five Stages of Sleep

In this clip from the longer documentary, Help! I Can’t Sleep: A Practical Guide to Overcome Insomnia, the five stages of sleep are discussed. What are the distinctions in brain activities between each stage? What are the distinctions in body movement? Is any one stage more important than the others in getting a “good” night’s sleep?

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Dream Hunter Rem - All About Dreams

An anime character, Rem the Dream Hunter, explains dreams in Japanese with English subtitles. The supporting cast, her kitten and puppy, are aptly named Alpha and Beta, respectively. What are some of the topics or content found in dreams according to Rem? Rem suggests nightmares may occur during Non-REM sleep. How could a sleep researcher provide evidence for this suggestion? What are the four wave patterns that occur during sleep? Which wave is typical during deep sleep?

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Lucid Dreaming: Day Residue in Dreams

Stephen Berlin talks about some of his own dreams and their contents. This clip is part of a series of dream-related videologs and focuses on day residue finding its way into dreams. Berlin acknowledges Sigmund Freud’s quote, “Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious.” What do you think that quote means?

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The Biography of Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud’s book The Interpretation of Dreams first advanced the idea that dreams are based on wish fulfillment. In this clip from his biography, we learn about the beginnings of these ideas, such as the Oedipus complex and dream symbols. How would you define these ideas? What is the difference between Freud’s psychodynamic theory and the activation-synthesis hypothesis?

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My Bad Dream Causes Me to Get Grounded

In this clip, an adolescent male talks directly to the camera about the obscure dream he had and the events following his awakening. He dreamt about his girlfriend who punched him in the mouth while he was entering a classroom. Soon after he awoke, his mother asked him to make her morning coffee. The speaker hypothesizes why he had the dream about his girlfriend Annie. What are some of his interpretations?

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The Science of Sleep Paralysis

This clip discusses sleep paralysis from a scientific standpoint. It explains why and how it occurs, and why it is often associated with the idea that someone is being abducted, or that strange, shadowy figures are in the room with you. Why is it biologically necessary for us to be paralyzed while in REM sleep? What are hypnopompic hallucinations and how are the sensations they produce explained by a carryover from NREM sleep?

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Behavioral Modifications for Sleep

A family practitioner discusses the use of behavioral therapy and sleep hygiene measures. Insomnia treatment is not solely medicinal and is often used in tandem with behavior modification principles. What are some of the recommendations for good sleep hygiene? Do you have any other suggestions to prevent insomnia?

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Altering Consciousness with Drugs

Drug Ad

This clip is the late 1990s follow-up to the classic “brain on drugs” campaign. The original campaign is expanded upon by Rachel Leigh Cook demolishing the kitchen with the frying pan. Her tirade continues the analogy of the effects drugs have on one’s family, friends, money, and job. What do you think of the persuasiveness of these commercials? Why did this campaign spawn so many spoofs and parodies in popular culture?

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The Enemy Ecstasy: US Military Anti-Drug Training Video PSA

This video, produced by the United States Marine Corps and Naval Media Center, focuses on club drugs. Scenes from raves, effects the morning after, and some discussion of urine analysis are included. Discharge from the military, loss of benefits, and education are mentioned as penalties for use or distribution of banned drugs. Is this military-produced propaganda different from broadly circulated public service announcements? What are some of the side effects of ecstasy use?

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Cocaine Energy Drink

This news piece from CNN features an interview with the creator of the energy drink Cocaine. While there is no cocaine in the drink, he says that it was so named because “Cocaine is synonymous with energy. That’s the main reason for using the name. We thought it was the perfect name for an energy drink.” Does this kind of thinking glamorize actual cocaine use? Based on the information presented in this interview, do you have any moral or ethical issues with the name and marketing of the drink?

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How Caffeine Works

In this clip from How Stuff Works, we get a short tutorial about how caffeine works to keep us from feeling sleepy. Caffeine inhibits the absorption of adenosine, leading to increased arousal. It starts to affect the body with doses as small as 50 milligrams, or about half a cup of coffee. What category of drugs does caffeine fall into? What are the various side effects of caffeine?

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What Happens Next: Smoking

This video from veriatv.com explains what happens to your body when you smoke a cigarette. It obviously is taking an anti-smoking stance, and moves on to explaining the positive effects on your health when you quit smoking. Considering all of the negative effects on the body, why do people smoke? What reasons are there besides the physical “high”?

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Heroin Addicts Speak

In this National Geographic clip, a cameraman follows around heroin addicts from Oslo and the American Midwest. Joaquim and Trina sell magazines in Oslo in order to score their next fix of Afgan heroin. Included is footage of Joaquim injecting his girlfriend. Faces of addiction from the American Midwest soon follow. Why is heroin called a “dirty, back alley drug?” One speaker from the Midwest group says that he never met a recreational user of heroin. Why is this so?

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Montana Meth Project TV Ads

The following public service announcements were aired on television and online as part of the Montana Meth Project. Some will consider these scenes dramatic, visually disturbing, and/or violent. Which was the most effective and least effective ad? Do you believe campaigns employing scare tactics will be effective in preventing teen and adult drug use?

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Alcohol At SJU

This is a student-produced documentary on alcohol use at St. Joseph’s University, but themes are relevant regardless of institution type. Three characters speak on binge drinking, moderation, drinking games, and related themes. Do drinking activities such as beer pong and flip cup lead to alcohol addiction? It was suggested in the documentary that more students exist who can have fun without alcohol than those who require it to enjoy themselves. What is the culture like on campus? Does this case hold true in your experience?

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Alcoholism is Not a Disease

Addiction specialist and licensed psychologist Stanton Peele responds to the question “Is alcoholism a disease?” Peele argues that alcoholism as “inbred and lifelong, and not susceptible to external factors is incorrect. All factors have an impact.” Do you agree with Peele’s conclusions? What are some of the external factors which affect problem drinking? How does social class or socio-economic status affect drinking tendencies? Is there any evidence that alcoholism can be inherited?

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Ron Paul Debates Stephen Baldwin on Legalizing Marijuana on CNN Larry King

Congressman Ron Paul and actor Stephen Baldwin debate whether or not marijuana should be legalized. Ron Paul believes that the war on drugs is pushing people toward drugs, rather than keeping them away. In his opening argument, Stephen Baldwin says that “marijuana leads to doing worse things.” The argument that marijuana leads people down a dangerous path has been popular for a long time. What are the effects of marijuana usage? Do you agree that it is a “gateway drug”?

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LSD - A Case Study

This clip is presumably a 1960’s public service announcement against LSD. A female character describes her experiences dropping acid, including a disturbing interaction with a talking hot dog. How is this commercial trying to talk people out of trying LSD? How are today’s public campaigns against drugs different from those of past decades? How does LSD affect the brain?

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Dock Ellis and the LSD No-No

Doc Ellis, who passed away in 2008, pitched one of only 263 no-hitters in the history of major league baseball, and he did so while high on LSD. This short animation is set to an account he gave to a radio station of just how this came to happen. Why does the animation in this video fittingly depict his descriptions? How does it compare to the description of LSD use in the previous video (LSD – A Case Study)? Would Ellis have been able to accomplish this feat if he had taken a different type of drug? In what ways were his perceptions affected by the drugs?

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Suboxone Withdrawal is the Worst Ever!

In this clip, a man speaks to the camera about various ways to stop an addiction. One of the options he describes is suboxone, a medication similar to methadone, which can help wean someone off of opiates. If you search for “withdrawal” in YouTube, you can find dozens of videos of people who are going through withdrawal and detoxification from many different types of drugs. Do all drugs cause physical dependence? Can you suffer from withdrawal symptoms if a drug only causes psychological dependence?

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Hypnosis

Mesmer

Alan Rickman stars as Dr. Franz Mesmer, whose name gave us the term "mesmerize," and whose studies led to the development of hypnosis. In this clip, Mesmer’s methods are contrasted with a popular healing method of the time – bleeding the patient. Mesmer’s treatments involved magnets, but actually relied upon the power of suggestion, not magnetism. Assuming the depictions in the film are accurate, how are Mesmer’s methods the same and different from hypnotherapists today?

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Justin Tranz Hypnotist Las Vegas Stage Hypnosis Show

This video shows clips from a Las Vegas hypnosis show featuring Justin Tranz. Right at the beginning he proclaims, “There is no such thing as hypnosis per se — it’s all the power of suggestion.” Do you agree with him? He goes on to explain how hypnosis works. Is this an accurate description of stage hypnosis? Of all hypnosis?

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Hypnosis – Can You Be Hypnotized?

This video demonstrates a quick and simple hypnotic convincer to show how susceptible to hypnosis some people are. Michael Watson discusses hypnosis and embedded commands with a small group. He has them pretend they are holding a balloon in one hand, and a heavy bucket in the other. Those whose hands rise when they imagine they are holding a balloon, and fall when they imagine when they are holding a bucket are the most susceptible to being hypnotized. Is it possible to be hypnotized against your will? What are some of the criterion on the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale?

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Covert Pain in Hypnotherapy

Certified clinical hypnotherapist Scott Sandland talks about how Hilgard and Hilgard discovered the phenomenon known as “the hidden observer.” This phenomenon proves that although people don’t always remember it, they are constantly aware while being hypnotized. How has this phenomenon been used to study pain and pain control?

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Other Altered States of Consciousness

How to Meditate

A male voice instructs viewers on how to meditate. New age music is played in the background while computer-generated characters demonstrate the various poses, breathing techniques and meditative states. What did you think of the meditation methods demonstrated in the video? Was it effective? Which aspect of meditation exercise did the speaker emphasize most?

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Sensory Overload

This clip, shown from the viewpoint of the person experiencing sensory overload, combines the images with an urgent piano track in an attempt to put us in the sensory overload mind frame. How does sensory overload qualify as an altered state of consciousness? What sorts of situations might trigger it?

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How To Tell if You Are Experiencing Highway Hypnosis

In this clip from OneMinuteU.com, Debbie Friedman explains the condition called “highway hypnosis.” How does she describe it and how does she suggest you try avoiding it? How does it qualify as an altered state of consciousness? How is it the same or different from what we generally understand as being “hypnotized”?

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Sylvia Plath Reads ‘Fever 103’

This video features a montage of clips and photos as Sylvia Plath reads her poem “Fever 103.” Throughout the video, the images are accompanied by white and blue flames. How does a high fever qualify as an altered state of consciousness? How might such an altered state lead to the creation of art, such as this poem?

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What Happens When Giguere Suffers from Dehydration

In this short clip, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, the goalie for the professional hockey team the Anaheim Ducks, discusses what happens to him when he becomes dehydrated. How does dehydration qualify as an altered state of consciousness? Are the symptoms similar to those of any other types of altered states?

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