Project Plan #1 - What does it mean to be conscious?

Hi everyone! 

My inquiry question for my first project plan on Butterfly Effect is "What does it mean to be conscious?"  

To me, as I mentioned in my first post, this is personally a very hard topic. Since I believe that there are many levels of consciousness, it is hard to define it. The level and types of activities that occur in the brain evidently varies from time to time which leads me to believe that consciousness is transitionary. Another reason why this topic intrigues me is because people experience perceptions, sensations, emotions and thoughts, and the question we need to ask ourselves is are the experiences and emotions that we are sensing real? Are we thinking we feel something when in reality we are not? Could we be living in a stimulation? The concept is that consciousness is a phenomenon we all experience independently of each other. This type of question is something that science can’t necessarily explain. That is, consciousness can’t be figured out and answered by numbers and electronic impulses. It’s not something that’s a part of our brain. There could only ever be theories about this topic, but there will never be an law of consciousness. That is why it’s so fascinating. As a result, I'll be looking into all sorts of topics relating to consciousness such as sleep, dreams and injuries during my first cycle. By choosing these topics for my first cycle, I aim to bring into light on the fact that we can be positively or negatively affected by consciousness.  Nonetheless, I hope that during the next cycle and research rounds I would also be able to touch base other topics. I would like to try to do some research round on hypnosis, mediation, hallucinations and psychoactive drugs/substances. If anyone has any ideas of what I could also investigate or which one of these topics interests you the most, please feel free to leave any suggestions and answers! They are always appreciated. I’ve enclosed some potential websites that I might be using for my project if anyone is curious to learn more about consciousness.  

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Research Round 1: States of consciousness 
In particulars, here is a list of topics I would like to research: 

-Overview of what is consciousness and what defines unconsciousness 

-What happens in the brain when we lose consciousness (i.e. in sleep or when we receive a head injury) 

-->Biological and psychological perspectives 

-->Neural & psychological aspects and connections 

-How do mental experiences arise from physical presence 

-Neural Correlates of Consciousness (NCC) 

-What are the different ways we lose consciousness or become unconscious (ex. fainting, comas, hallucinations, etc.)  

-->overview

https://opentextbc.ca/introduc...es-of-consciousness/ 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2552427/ 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16864477  

 

Research Round 2:  Dreaming and sleeping 

In particulars, here is a list of topics I would like to research: 

-Why do we need sleep? 

-How do we fall asleep? 

-What happens in our brain when we fall asleep/unconscious? 

-The Stages of Sleep 

-->phases of REM and NREM 

-Sleep Deprivation 

-Circadian Rhythms (which are changes that effect people physically, mentally and behaviorally, and it influences bodily functions such as sleep-wake cycles and body temperature) 

-->how does it determine sleep patterns such as when we are alert or sleepy 

-Purpose of dreaming 

-Daydreaming (what is it, why does it happen, what happens in the brain) 

-->known to be a mild form of dissociation 

https://www.livescience.com/19462-fall-asleep.html  

http://healthysleep.med.harvar...leep/why-do-we-sleep 

https://www.sleepfoundation.or...why-do-we-need-sleep  

 

Research Round 3: Injuries 

In the particulars for this topic, I was hoping to do some research about why head inquiries happen, and what could their long-term effects be. Here is a list of topics I will like to research: 

-What causes head injury 

-Examples of some major types (ex. concussion) 

-Head injury symptoms 

-Treatments 

-What happens after to the loss of consciousness 

-Why do we lose consciousness when we get a serious injury 

-How does it affect and what it does to the brain 

-How does the structure of the brain change after facing head trauma 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2923650/  

https://www.healthline.com/health/head-injury  

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC155414/  

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Again, all suggestions are valued! Thank you for reading. 

-Alison

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Hey Alison!

Wow! What a profound question! Although broad, I think you did a great job of narrowing down the subject of your research for each round. I am especially excited to read about the "purpose of dreaming" in round 2!

Here are some sources that may be of use to you:

https://www.psychologytoday.co...1502/why-do-we-dream

https://www.psychologytoday.co...hat-is-consciousness

https://www.verywellmind.com/w...onsciousness-2795922

Good luck with your upcoming research! 

Hey @Alison Wu (Charles Best)

Interesting topic to take a look at! Sounds pretty cool. The mind is definitely deeper than everyone else gives it credit for. There's been accounts that people overcome physical restrictions because of the mind. Where physical and mind is not the same but very well connected makes it super cool. 

An good source of information would be at our school we have textbooks on psychology. 
I believe its: Myers, David G., Myers, David G.Straub, Richard O. (2008) Exploring psychology in Modules / David G. Myers.New York, NY : Worth Pub

Also take a look at this ted talk!

That's all! Keep it up~

~JIm
CBSS
CA

Hey Alison,  I think your topic is super interesting and intriguing! Your second round of research is really similar to my topic and the science behind all that is something I am also interested by and will be looking into as well! Maybe something you could look into is our brain and conscious state during hypnosis as you aren't really asleep nor awake and your obeying commands without thinking so that would be super interesting for you to look into. Here is a website to help you with your first round of research:

https://www.livescience.com/14...onsciousness-3d.html 

Good luck

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