The Psychology of Consciousness

Instructor: Barry Beyerstein
Simon Frasier University

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TABLE OF CONTENTS


SYLLABUS

Topics and Readings:

UNIT ONE

  • Differing vies on the nature of consciousness and the proper way to study it.
  • Metaphysical and epistemological controversies in the study of consciousness.
  • Magical vs. Scientific Worldviews.

Reading Assignments:

  1. Farthing: Chapters 1 & 2
  2. T. Hurka (1989)" "Moral Standing" of fetus, key to abortion debate. Toronto: The Globe and Mail, 31 October, 1989, p.A8.
  3. W. Grey (1994): Philosophy of the Paranormal. Skeptical Inquirer. v.18(2): pp.142-149.
  4. P. Kurtz (1994): The Growth of Antiscience. Skeptical Inquirer. v.18(3): pp.255-263.
  5. M. Gardner (1991): Relativism in Science. In K. Frazier (ed.), The Hundredth Monkey and Other Paradigms of the Paranormal. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, pp.377-380.
  6. M. Gardner (1996): Physicist Alan Sokal's Hilarious Hoax. Skeptical Inquirer. v.20(6): pp.14-16.

UNIT TWO

  • Consciousness and the Brain: Evolution of Consciousness and the Mind-Body Debate

Reading Assignments:

  1. Farthing: Chapters 4 & 5
  2. B. Beyerstein (1988): "The Brain and Consciousness: Implications for Psi Phenomena." Skeptical Inquirer. v.12(2): pp.163-173.
  3. P. Churchland (1984) Chapter 2: The Ontological Problem (the Mind-Body Problem). Matter and Consciousness: A contemporary Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press, pp.7-35.
  4. D. Oakley: Animal Awareness, Consciousness, and Self-Image. In D. Oakley (ed.), Brain and Mind. London: Methuen, pp.132-151.

UNIT THREE

  • Introspection, Subjective Awareness and the Control of Behavior
  • Conscious vs. Unconscious Processing of Information

Reading Assignments:

  1. Farthing: Chapters 3, 5, 6 & 7
  2. K. S. Bowers (1987): Revisioning the Unconscious. Canadian Psychology. v.28(2): pp.93-104.
  3. A. Pratkanis (1992): The Cargo-Cult Science of Subliminal Perception. Skeptical Inquirer. v.16(3): pp.260-271.
  4. K. Dillon (1993): Facilitated Communication, Autism, and Ouija. Skeptical Inquirer. v.17(3): pp.281-287.
  5. J. McCrone (1993): Good Timing. The New Scientist. 9 October 1993. pp.10-12.

UNIT FOUR

  • Imagery, Daydreaming, and Hallucinations

Reading Assignments:

  1. Farthing: Chapters 2 & 8 and pp.190-194 & pp.485-496.
  2. D. Marks (1983): Mental Imagery and Consciousness. In A. Sheikh (ed.), Imagery: Current Theory, Research, and Applications. NY: Wiley, pp.97-109; 121-130.
  3. B. Beyerstein (1996): Visions and Hallucinations. In G. Stein (ed.), The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. pp.789-797.

UNIT FIVE

  • Arousal, Attention, and Consciousness: Sleep, Dreaming, and "Alpha Consciousness."

Reading Assignments:

  1. Farthing: Chapters 10, 11, 12 & 13
  2. B. Beyerstein (1985): The Myth of Alpha Consciousness. Skeptical Inquirer. v.10(1): pp.43-59.
  3. D. Goleman (1976): Why the Brain Blocks Daytime Dreams. Psychology Today. March, 1976, pp.69-71.
  4. R. Baker (1987): (section on hypnagogic and hypnopompic sleep.) The Aliens Among Us: Hypnotic Regression Revisited. Skeptical Inquirer. v.12(2): pp.157-158.

UNIT SIX

  • Hypnosis, Multiple Personality, and Meditation

Reading Assignments:

  1. Farthing: Chapters 6, 7, 14, 15, 16 & 17
  2. S. Blackmore: Is Meditation Good For You? The New Scientist. 6 July 1991, pp.30-33.
  3. N. Spanos (1994): Multiple Identity Enactments and Multiple Personality Disorder: A Sociocognitive Perspective. Psychological Bulletin. 116(1): pp.143-165.
  4. M. Borch-Jacobsen (1997): Sybil - The Making of a Disease. The New York Review of Books. April 24, 1997: pp.60-64.
  5. M. Harris (1996): Are "past-life" Regressions Evidence of Reincarnation? Free Inquiry. Fall, 1996: pp.18-23.

MIDTERM EXAM

UNIT SEVEN

  • Altered States of Consciousness: Dissociative Phenomena.
  • Transcendence, Possession States and Mysticism.

Reading Assignments:

  1. Farthing: Chapters 6, 7 & 9
  2. S. Alaton (1994): Close Encounters of the Neurological Kind. Toronto: The Globe and Mail. 26 November 1994, p. D8.
  3. S. Blackmore (1994): Alien Abduction: The Inside Story. The New Scientist. 19 November, 1994, pp.29-31.
  4. B. Beyerstein (1988): Neuropathology and the Legacy of Spiritual Possession. Skeptical Inquirer. v.12(3): pp.163-173.
  5. B. Beyerstein (1996): Possession and Exorcism. In G. Stein (ed.), The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. pp.544-552.
  6. J. McCrone (1993): Good Timing. The New Scientist. 9 October 1993, pp.10-12.

UNIT EIGHT

  • Spiritualism, Mediumship, Chanelling, Near-Death Experiences: Evidence for disembodied consciousness and/or survival of consciousness after death?

Reading Assignments:

  1. S. Blackmore (1991): Near-Death Experiences: In or Out of the Body? Skeptical Inquirer. v.16(1): pp.34-45.
  2. H. Ebbern, S. Mulligan, and B. Beyerstein (1996): Maria's Near-Death Experience: Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop. Skeptical Inquirer. v.20(4): pp.27-33.
  3. P. Edwards (1988): The Case Against Karma and Reincarnation. In R. Basil (ed.), Not Necessarily the New Age: Critical Essays. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. pp.87-129.
  4. M. Gardner: Isness is Her Business. NY: The New York Review of Books. April 19 1987, pp.16-19.
  5. M. Harris (1986): Are "past-life" Regressions Evidence of Reincarnation? Free Inquiry. Fall 1986, pp.18-23.

UNIT NINE

  • Memory Issues, Fantasy Prone-ness, and Consciousness

Reading Assignments:

  1. Farthing: Chapter 16
  2. R. Baker (1987): The Aliens Among Us: Hypnotic Regression Revisited. Skeptical Inquirer. v.12(2): pp.148-162.
  3. R. Baker (1996): Cryptomnesia. In G. Stein (ed.), The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. pp.186-199.
  4. F. Crews (1994): The Revenge of the Repressed, Part One. The New York Review of Books. November 17, 1994, pp.54-60.
  5. F. Crews (1994): The Revenge of the Repressed, Part Two. The New York Review of Books. December 1, 1994, pp.49-58.
  6. M. Harris (1986): Are "past-life" Regressions Evidence of Reincarnation? Fre Inquiry. Fall 1986, pp.18-23.

UNIT TEN

  • Mental Effects on the Body: Faith Healing, Pain Control, the Placebo Effect, etc.

Reading Assignments:

  1. Farthing: Chapters 14 & 15
  2. L. Zusne & W. Jones (1989): Chapter 3: Psychophysiology. Anomalistic Psychology: A Study of Magical Thinking. Hillsdale, NJ: L. Erlbaum. pp.33-70.
  3. B. Beyerstein: Why do Bogus Health Products Seem to Work? Manuscript, to appear in A Guide to Alternative Medicine. W. Sampson (ed.)
  4. S. Barrett (1996): "Alternative" Health Practices and Quackery. In G. Stein (ed.), The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. pp.16-23.
  5. J. Tierney (1987): Fleecing the Flock. Discover. November, 1987. pp.50-58.

UNIT ELEVEN

  • ESP and Psychokinesis - Powers of the Mind of Delusions of the Mind?

Reading Assignments:

  1. W. Grey (1994): Philosophy and the Paranormal. Skeptical Inquirer. v.18(2): pp.143-149.
  2. S. Blackmore (1991): The Elusive Open Mind: Ten Years of Negative Research in Parapsychology. In K. Frazier (ed.), The Hundredth Monkey and Other Paradigms of the Paranormal. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. pp.125-135.
  3. J. McCrone (1994): "Psychic Powers: What are the Odds?" The New Scientist. 26 November 1994. pp.34-38.
  4. R. Hyman (1988): Psi Experiments: Do the Best Parapsychological Experiments Justify the Claim of Psi? Experientia. 44: pp.315-321.
  5. B. Beyerstein (1988): The Brain and Consciousness: Implications for Psi Phenomena.

TERM PAPERS DUE

UNIT TWELVE

  • Drugs, the Brain, and Consciousness

Reading Assignments:

  1. Farthing: Chapters 18 & 19
  2. D. Goleman (1976): Why the Brain Blocks Daytime Dreams. Psychology Today. March, 1976. pp.69-71.

FINAL EXAM


REQUIRED READING MATERIAL

  • G.W. Farthing: The Psychology of Consciousness. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall (1992).
  • B.L. Beyerstein (Ed.): Readings in Consciousness. Custom Courseware. SFU, Burnaby, B.C.