Biological Rhythms


  1. Discuss the nature of consciousness and its significance in the history of psychology.

  2. Contrast conscious and subconscious information processing.

  3. Discuss the content and potential functions of daydreams and fantasies, and describe the fantasy-prone personality.

  4. Discuss the importance of seasonal, monthly and daily biological rhythms.

  5. Describe the cyclical nature and possible functions of sleep.

  6. Identify major sleep disorders.

  7. Discuss the content and possible functions of dreams.


Consciousness Our awareness of ourselves and our environments

Fantasy-prone personality Someone who imagines and recalls experiences with lifelike vividness and who spends considerable time fantasizing

Biological rhythm Periodic physiological fluctuations

Circadian rhythm The biological clock; regular bodily rhythms (for example, of temperature and wakefulness) that occur on a 24- hour cycle

REM sleep Rapid eye movement sleep, a recurring sleep stage during which vivid dreams commonly occur. Also known as paradoxical sleep because the muscles are relaxed (except for minor twitches) but other body systems are active

Alpha waves The relatively slow brain waves of a relaxed, awake state

Sleep Periodic, natural, reversible loss of consciousness Ėas distinct from unconsciousness resulting from a coma, general anesthesia, or hibernation

Hallucinations False sensory experiences, such as seeing something in the absence of an external visual stimulus

Delta waves The large, slow brain waves associated with deep sleep

Insomnia Recurring problems in falling or staying asleep

Narcolepsy A sleep disorder characterized by uncontrollable sleep attacks. The sufferer may lapse directly into REM sleep, often an innoppurtunate times

Sleep apnea A sleep disorder characterized by temporary cessations of breathing during sleep and consequent momentary reawakenings

Night terrors a sleep disorder characterized by high arousal and an appearance of being terrified; unlike nightmares, night terrors occur during stage 4 sleep, within 2 or 3 hours of falling asleep, and are seldom remembered

Dream A sequence of images, emotions, and thoughts passing through a sleeping personís mind. Dreams are notable for their hallucinatory imagery, discontinuities, and incongruities, and for the dreamerís delusional acceptance of the content and later difficulty remembering it

Manifest content According to Freud, the remembered story line of a dream (as distinct from its latent content)

Latent content According to Freud, the underlying meaning of a dream (as distinct from its manifest content) Freud believed that a dreamís latent content functions as a safety valve

REM rebound The tendency for REM sleep to increase following REM sleep deprivation (created by repeated awakenings during REM sleep)