Thursday, 13 October 2011

Introduction to counseling psychology

Course description:
Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behaviours of living organisms. Counseling, a branch of psychology, is the application of psychological principles to prevent illness or facilitate healing, hence the relevance of this course.
a.       Definition of psychology
b.      Historical development of psychology
c.       Schools of psychology
2.       EMOTION
a.       Definition of emotion
b.      Components of emotion
c.       Classification of emotion
d.      Types of emotions
e.      Theories of emotion
f.        Implication for counseling
a.       Definition of motivation
b.      Types of motivation
c.       Theories of motivation
d.      Employee motivation
e.      Application of motivation
a.       Introduction
b.      Hunger
c.       Subjection
d.      Fear
e.      Emotion and Intellect
f.        Reason and Logic
g.       Divine and human reasoning
h.      Cosmic consciousness
a.       Consciousness
b.      Unconsciousness
c.       Altered consciousness
d.      Sleep altered coconsciousness
e.      Hypnosis
f.        Drug altered consciousness
a.       Definition of Cognition
b.      Cognition as a social process
c.       Definition of intelligence
d.      Theories of intelligence
e.      Social and emotional intelligence
f.        Key factors influencing intelligence
7.       LEARNING
a.       Definition of learning
b.      Classical conditioning theory of learning
c.       Operant conditioning theory of learning
a.       Definition of memory
b.      Types of memory
c.       Forgetting
d.      Retrieval
e.      Techniques of memory improvement
a.       Definitions
b.      Senses
c.       Perceptual process
d.      Perception of pain
Module Author: Agnes Nthangi
i) Define psychology
ii) Trace the historical development of psychology
iii) Discuss the various schools of psychology
iv) Define motivation and emotion
v) Discus the various theories of motivation and emotion
vi) Discuss different types of altered consciousness
vii) Identify the seven states of consciousness
viii) Define intelligence and cognitions
ix) Identify the basic principles of classical and operant conditioning
x) Discuss different types of memory
xi) Identify different retrieval cues
xii) Discuss the counseling implications of each topic
i) Define the term psychology
ii) Trace the history and origin of psychology
iii) Discuss the schools of psychology
iv) Identify the various branches of psychology
v) Discuss the counseling implications of the topic.
What is psychology?
Psychology literally means, "Study of the soul". It derives from Ancient Greek: “psyche” (meaning "breath", "spirit", or "soul"); and “logia” (translated as "study of"). Psychology was therefore the study of the soul. The Latin word psychologia has likely origins in mid-16th century Germany. The earliest known reference to the English word psychology was by Steven Blankaart in 1693 in The Physical Dictionary which refers to "Anatomy, which treats of the Body, and Psychology, which treats of the Soul."

Psychology is today defined as the scientific study of the mental processes and behaviour of humans and other animals. Psychology also refers to the application of such knowledge to various spheres of human activity, including problems of individuals' daily lives and the treatment of mental illness. In this field, a professional practitioner or researcher is called a psychologist.

Psychologists are classified as social or behavioural scientists - meaning that they are interested in behaviour of organisms both in isolation and in groups.

Key terms used in the definition of psychology:

Psychology as a scientific discipline
Psychology does not consist of mere casual observation. While it‘s true that psychologists do make casual observations like everybody else, they also conduct careful scientific studies using valid and reliable instruments in order to discover things that would not be apparent on the basis of casual observations. In other words, psychologists employ empirical methods to determine causal and correlational relationships between psychosocial variables such as stress, gender, leadership among others. This implies that psychologists use systematic methods to observe, describe, predict and explain. In addition to this scientific approach, psychologists sometimes rely upon symbolic interpretation and other inductive techniques but within given contexts. This is because different cultures use different symbols which hold different meanings.

Psychologists also study existing bodies of psychological research and devote more thought to psychological issues in everyday life. Psychological research can be considered either basic or applied.

Basic psychology, is concerned with answering questions about behaviour through psychological theory and research while applied psychology utilizes this knowledge to actively intervene in the treatment of individuals with mental or emotional disorders, and is also employed in business, education, and governance among other sectors.

The concept of the (mind)
While the brain is an organ, mind is a state encompassing both conscious and unconscious mental
states. It is the aspect of intellect and consciousness experienced as combinations of thought, perception, memory, emotion, will and imagination, including all unconscious cognitive processes. The
term is often used to refer, by implication, to the thought processes of reason. Mind manifests itself
subjectively as a stream of consciousness, (the continuous flow of ideas, thoughts and feelings forming the content of an individual’s consciousness).

Psychology is thus concerned with the study of an organism‘s mental processes resulting from both conscious and unconscious states. Mental processes includes the thoughts feelings and motives that each of us experience privately that cannot be observed but can be inferred from behaviour.

 The concept of (behaviour)
Behaviour is the actions or reactions of a human or animal in response to external or internal
stimuli. Behaviour can be overt (behaviour that is open and observable) for example a frown, or covert,
(Behaviour that is not directly observable but may be inferred from overt behaviour), for example an
increase in heart beat. Psychologists are interested in behaviour, both covert and overt.

The history of psychology as a scholarly study of the mind and behaviour dates back to the Ancient Greeks. There is also evidence of psychological thought in ancient Egypt. Psychology borders on various other fields including physiology, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, sociology, anthropology, as well as philosophy and other components of the humanities.

 Psychology was a branch of philosophy until 1879, when psychology developed as an independent
scientific discipline in Germany and the United States. Psychology as a self-conscious field of
experimental study began in 1879, when Wilhelm Wundt founded the first laboratory dedicated
exclusively to psychological research in Leipzig Germany. Wilhelm Wundt was a German Professor
who used experiments to study psychology. He is regarded as the father of experimental psychology.
Other important early contributors to the field of psychology include Hermann Ebbinghaus (a
pioneer in the study of memory), William James (the American father of pragmatism), and Ivan Pavlov
(father of classical conditioning). Soon after the development of experimental psychology, various
kinds of applied psychology appeared. Stanley Hall brought scientific pedagogy to the United States from Germany in the early 1880s. John Dewey's educational theory of the 1890s was another hallmark in the development of psychology. In the 1890s, Hugo Münsterberg began writing about the application of psychology to industry, law, and other fields. Lightner Witmer established the first psychological clinic in the 1890s. James McKeen Cattell generated the first program of mental testing in the 1890s. Later in 1900s, psychology became a new independent science that was systematically organized into different schools of thought.

Founded during the late 1800's and early 1900's by the Austrian doctor Sigmund Freud, Psychoanalysis was based on the theory that behaviour is determined by powerful inner forces, most of which are buried in the unconscious mind.
According to Freud and other psychoanalysts, from early childhood people repress (force out of conscious awareness) any desires or needs that are unacceptable to themselves or to society. The
repressed feelings can cause personality disturbances, self-destructive behaviour, or even physical
symptoms. Freud developed several techniques to bring repressed feelings to the level of conscious
In a method called free association, the patient relaxes and talks about anything that comes to mind while the therapist listens for clues to the person's inner feelings. Psychoanalysts also try to interpret dreams, which they regard as a reflection of unconscious drives and conflicts. The goal is to help the patient understand and accept repressed feelings and find ways to deal with them.

Structuralism grew out of the work of William James, Wilhelm Wundt, and their associates. These psychologists believed the chief purpose of psychology was to describe, analyse, and explain conscious experience, particularly feelings and sensations. The structuralists attempted to give a scientific analysis of conscious experience by breaking it down into its specific components or structures. For example, they identified four basic skin sensations: warmth, cold, pain, and pressure. They analysed the sensation of wetness as the combined experience of cold and smoothness. The structuralists primarily used a method of research called introspection. In this technique, subjects were trained to observe and report as accurately as they could their mental processes, feelings, and experiences.

Behaviourism was introduced in 1913 by John B. Watson, an American psychologist. Watson and his followers believed that observable behaviour, not inner experience, was the only reliable source of information. This concentration on observable events was a reaction against the structuralists' emphasis on introspection. The behaviourists also stressed the importance of the environment in shaping an individual's behaviour. They chiefly looked for connections between observable behaviour and stimuli from the environment. The behaviourist movement was greatly influenced by the work of the Russian physiologist Ivan P. Pavlov. In a famous study, Pavlov rang a bell each time he gave a dog some food. The dog's mouth would water when the animal smelled the food. After Pavlov repeated the procedure many times, the dog's saliva began to flow whenever the animal heard the bell, even if no food appeared. This experiment demonstrated that a reflex--such as the flow of saliva--can become associated with a stimulus other than the one that first produced it--in this case, the sound of a bell instead of the smell of food. The learning process by which a response becomes associated with a new stimulus is called conditioning. Watson and the other behaviourists realized that human behaviour could also be changed by conditioning. In fact, Watson believed he could produce almost any response by controlling an individual's environment. During the mid-1900's, the American psychologist B. F. Skinner gained much attention for behaviourist ideas. In his book Walden Two (1948), Skinner describes how the principles of conditioning might be applied to create an ideal well planned and well structured society.

Gestalt psychology was founded about 1912 by Max Wertheimer, a German psychologist. During the 1930's, Wertheimer and two colleagues took the Gestalt movement to the United States. Gestalt psychology, like behaviourism, developed as a reaction against structuralism. Gestalt psychologists believed that human beings and other animals perceive the external world as an organized pattern, not as individual sensations. For example, a film consists of thousands of individual still pictures, but we see what looks like smooth, continuous movement. The German word Gestalt means pattern, form, or shape. Unlike the behaviourists, the Gestalts believed that behaviour should be studied as an organized pattern rather than as separate incidents of stimulus and response. The familiar saying "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts," expresses an important principle of the Gestalt school.

Humanistic psychology developed as an alternative to behaviourism and psychoanalysis. Humanistic psychologists believe individuals are controlled by their own values and choices and not entirely by the environment, as behaviourists think, or by unconscious drives, as psychoanalysts believe. The goal of humanistic psychology is to help people function effectively and fulfill their own unique potential. According to humanistic school, people are born with a self-actualising tendency which can be fully realized if a growth facilitating environment is availed to an individual. Key supporters of this approach include the renowned American psychologists Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers.

Ulric Neisser coined the term "cognitive psychology" in his book Cognitive Psychology, published in 1965 wherein Neisser provides a definition of cognitive psychology characterizing people as dynamic information-processing systems whose mental operations might be described in computational terms. Also emphasising that it is a "point of view" that postulates the mind as having a certain conceptual structure. Cognitive psychology is radically different from previous psychological approaches in two key ways: It accepts the use of the scientific method, and generally rejects introspection as a valid method of investigation, unlike symbol-driven approaches such as Freudian psychology. It explicitly acknowledges the existence of internal mental states (such as belief, desire and motivation) unlike behaviorist psychology. These psychologists concentrate on such mental processes as thinking, reasoning, and self-awareness. They investigate how a person gathers information about the world, processes the information, and responds.

The term "existentialism" seems to have been coined by the French philosopher Gabriel Marcel in the mid-1940. Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche were two of the first philosophers considered fundamental to the existentialist school of thought the 19th century. They focused on subjective human experience rather than the objective truths of mathematics and science, which they believed were too detached or observational to truly get at the human experience. Like Pascal, they were interested in people's quiet struggle with the apparent meaninglessness of life and the use of diversion to escape from boredom. They also considered the role of making free choices, particularly regarding fundamental values and beliefs, and how such choices change the nature and identity of the chooser. Individuals invent their own values and create the very terms under which they excel. To escape meaninglessness, individuals should learn to come up with a meaning for their existence despite the circumstances.

Many psychologists do not associate themselves with a particular school or theory. Instead, they
select and use what seems best from a wide variety of sources an approach called eclectic approach.
This is because every school of thought and every theory of personality has something significant to
contribute in the understanding of human behaviour.

 ACTIVITY: Which is your favourite school of thought? Why?


Abnormal psychology is the study of certain behavioral abnormalities in a person's psyche/mind such as neuroses, psychoses and mental retardation. Hypnosis and mesmerism are often used for treatment in this branch of psychology. Abnormal psychology is one of the most basic forms of psychology study, and is taught in Law and Human Resource Management. Example - "Jenna was a normal girl. She had a twin brother, and the two of them were the best of friends. At the age of 13 Jenna's brother, Albert, died due to a car crash. Post the accident, Jenna, who was once a vivacious and popular girl, became very shy. She barely had any friends, and gave up hope in life. Her grades started to fall and she started avoiding people and clung to her family all the time. Further psychoanalysis
showed that Jenna was showing early signs of fear of abandonment".

Behavioral psychology is the more popular term used for behavioral neuroscience, or biopsychology, or psychobiology. It studies the mental processes and the behavioral patterns of humans as well as non-human subjects. Behavioral psychology basically studies the behavior of an individual (human or otherwise) to gage the psychological state of that individual. Treatment in this branch of psychology is more physical, like electrolytic lesions and chemical lesions. This branch of psychology is more concerned with the physical functioning of the brain and its cells. Example - "David was a normal 18 year old. He loved partying and loved spending time with his boyfriend.
Yes, David was gay. For this fact David faced a lot of opposition from his parents. They insulted him and the
family had arguments on a daily basis. Due to this fact, David found solace in smoking marijuana. Soon he
was addicted to it, and could not function without it. Sadly, David died at the age of 20, of a drug overdose."

Clinical psychology is the branch of psychology that is the scientific study of the prevention, understanding and the relieving of psychological disorders. Clinical Psychologists conduct assessment of abnormal behaviour by administering psychological tests, through systematic interviewing or through observation. After assessment, they give a diagnosis and then conduct psychotherapy as a means of treatment …..Psychotherapy entails application of psychological principles to facilitate healing. Clinical psychologists work mostly in hospital settings where they
work hand in hand with psychiatrists and medical doctors for the purpose of referral because they don‘t prescribe psychiatric medication. They also stress a great deal on research, teaching, consultation, forensic testimony, and program development and administration. Clinical psychology is related to counselling psychology.

 Example: Daniel is 21-years-old. Six months ago, he was doing well in college and holding down a part-time job in the stockroom of a local electronics store. But then he began to change, becoming increasingly paranoid and acting out in bizarre ways. First, he became convinced that his professors were “out to get him” since they didn’t appreciate his confusing, off-topic classroom rants. Then he told his roommate that the other students were “in on the conspiracy.” Soon after, he dropped out of school. Daniel was taken to a clinical psychologist who diagnosed schizophrenia and referred him to a psychiatrist for treatment after which the psychologist embarked on therapy. Daniel’s condition tremendously improved.

Counselling psychology is the scientific study of the prevention, understanding and the relieving of psychological problems accruing from the challenges of daily living. Counselling psychologists work more with families, institutions and communities. While they may diagnose, assess, and treat adjustment difficulties like clinical psychologists, they often address problems which are more moderate than those encountered by the clinical psychologist. Clients of counseling psychologists are people who need help coping with the stresses of everyday life, and the focus is on
strengthening their existing resources rather than overcoming disorders or deficiencies. Like clinical psychologists, counselling psychologists also stress a great deal on research, teaching, advocacy, consultation, forensic testimony, and program development and administration Clinical psychologists and counseling psychologists are the general practitioners of the psychology field.

Example - "Hannah was a working mom. She and her husband had a very long, but extremely dysfunctional marriage. When he divorced her, Hannah was left with the responsibility of two children. Which meant, longer hours at office, exams, dance recitals, PTA meeting, basketball games and the odds and evens. This left Hannah with no time to meet anyone, chill out and de-stress. Soon, Hannah was found losing her temper at her kids and slacking off at work. One of her colleagues suggested that she see a counselling psychologist. A month into psychotherapy, Hannah has started to get her peace of mind back!"

Cognitive psychology is the branch of psychology that deals with the internal mental processes of thought such as visual processing, memory, problem solving, and language. It basically looks over the information processing functioning of the brain. So, it looks into concepts like perception, aging, memory, emotions, decision-making, etc. It is the one of the most recent branches of psychology.

Example - Joy believes that her family is cursed hence she too is cursed. She therefore doesn’t see any hope for a
bright future. She perceives herself as a failure. Joy was referred to a Cognitive psychologist who was able to
diagnose a distorted thought pattern in her and to help her restructure her way of thinking.

Community psychology studies the psychology of individuals and the dynamics in a community. It studies the concepts that are characteristic to community oriented behaviour. It studies adaptation, succession and interdependence. It helps a community understand empowerment, social justice, citizen participation, etc. It is also referred to as critical psychology. Example - "Jason, Joshua and Janet were members of a social service group that facilitated mindset altering in conservative regions. They were community psychologists, and took up the challenge of reducing occurrences of female infanticide in a small village in India. After a year of educating the men as well as the women in the village, they started a project on woman empowerment, and later took the step into stopping female infanticide. After 5 long years of working, thanks to their understanding of the community psychology, they
succeeded at bringing about massive change in the mindset of the people in the village."

Developmental Psychology
Developmental psychology is the study of the systematic changes that occur in a human being and his psyche over the course of life. It is also concerned with early child development and care. Each individual goes through certain changes during their life. Developmental psychology is the branch of psychology that studies this progression and helps understand these changes, their causes and effects, better. Example - "Marianne and Thomas had a child. They were elated the day their son Matthew was born. However, Matthew was not like other children. He was always happy, but showed reluctance to learn. He did not start speaking till he was a year old, that too in incomprehensible terms. Marianne then figured that she rather consult a developmental psychologist, who identified the problem as advanced dyslexia and started treatment on the child. By the time Matthew was 5 years old, he was just as capable as any other child out there."

Educational psychology is the study of how humans learn in educational settings, the effectiveness of educational interventions, the psychology of teaching, and the social psychology of schools as organizations. Educational psychology is concerned with how students learn and develop, often focusing on subgroups such as gifted children and those subject to specific disabilities. The terms "educational psychology" and "school psychology" are often used interchangeably. Educational psychology can in part be understood through its relationship with other disciplines. It is informed primarily by psychology, bearing a relationship to that discipline analogous to the relationship between medicine and biology. Educational psychology in turn informs a wide range of specialities within educational studies, including instructional design, educational technology, curriculum development, organizational learning, special education and classroom management. Educational psychology both draws from and contributes to cognitive science and the learning sciences. In universities, departments of educational psychology are usually housed within faculties of education.

Evolutionary psychology is the branch of psychology that studies the most primal psychological stimuli in human begins. It is believed by evolutionary scientists, that while it is absolutely natural for a human being to pick out linguistic skills, the same does not hold true for reading and writing. They are adaptive skills. It is also natural for a human being to gage another human being's emotional state of mind, and the ability to recognize a kin from another.
Example - "Evolutionary psychologists believe that technique of a male to attract a mate would be to prove that he is the alpha male, by defeating the other competing males in a battle of physical strength. While even in current social scenarios, males do make the attempt to prove themselves as alpha males, they have a different method of going about it. They now prefer to win a woman over, by proving to be more classy, suave and able to protect them, if the need be."

Legal psychology is basically the same as cognitive and clinical psychology. However, a legal psychologist has to assist in the process of crime investigation. This branch of psychology used this understanding, to judge the testimonies and statements of the witnesses or the victims, giving the investigation the extra push that it may need. Forensic psychologists often work within the judicial system in such diverse areas as determining an inmate's readiness for parole; evaluation of rehabilitation programs; criminal competency; tort liability and damages; eyewitness testimony and evidence; jury selection; and police training. Forensic psychology may also be employed in other areas of jurisprudence, including patent and tradem. More so, it works at understanding a certain witness or victim's perception from the legal point of view.

Example - "Clementine was a legal psychologist. She basically worked with a lawyer and detective (Perry Mason sorts) and always accompanied him when he investigated any case that he took up. She helped at interrogating people and at understanding the motive of the crime. She often helped him, with her understanding of psychology, to crack a tough knot in a case, thus helping out an innocent person from being sentenced."

Personality psychology is the branch of psychology that governs the legitimate IQ (Intelligence Quotient) tests and the personality tests that one takes to understand themselves better. It is the branch of psychology that puts a wholesome picture in front of an individual about themselves. It also studies specific personality disorders like narcissistic personality disorder, boarderline personality disorder among others. It helps an individual see themselves in a more objective light after which the individual can maximize on his/her strength and work on the weaknesses.

Example - " Rihanna was a typical teenager. She suffered from the typical confusion relating self. She was popular and had a lot of friends, but she still craved being unnoticed at times. She often felt lonely at night. Despite popular belief (about her) Rihanna was a virgin. After months and months of trying to surmise herself, Rihanna decided to go in for a personality test. The results astounded her. She was suffering from the greed for popularity. This kept her away from her true calling. She loved art, but ended up being a cheerleader. Many such revelations came as a surprise to her. Soon, she followed her true calling and found happiness."

Experimental psychologists work to understand the underlying causes of behaviour by studying humans and animals. Animals are studied within and outside laboratory settings. A researcher may wish to learn more about a particular species, to study how different species are interrelated, to investigate the evolutionary significance of certain behaviors, or to learn more about them.

Health psychology is a diverse area with a variety of emphasis. Medical psychology focuses on the clinical treatment of patients with physical illnesses, offering practical advice people can use in order to improve their health. There is special emphasis on psychosomatic disorders—(disorders related to psychological factors and not biological causes)

Some industrial psychologists, also called personnel or organizational psychologists, may be employed by companies to administer tests which measure employee aptitudes or skills in hiring and placement programs. Others work for consulting firms which offer their services to companies on a contractual basis to solve specific problems. They may also conduct research on employee motivation, productivity, job satisfaction and advice the management accordingly.

Social psychology is the study of human interaction, including communication, cooperation, and competition, leadership, and attitude development. Social psychologists seek to understand human behaviour in social settings. It seeks to answer the question: Does the presence of other people influence an individual‘s behaviour? How?

An eclectic approach is adopted by most psychologists in relation to psychological schools of thought.

Define the term psychology and explore the key terms in the definition
Trace the historical development of psychology
Highlight the basic thoughts of the above schools
Discuss the various branches of psychology
Explain why an eclectic approach is recommended in relation to psychological practice.
Discuss the counseling implications of this topic.

George Boeree, C. The History of Psychology - text about the historical and philosophical
background of psychology.

i) Define the term emotion
ii) Trace the evolution of emotions
iii) Classify emotions
iv) List different types of emotions
v) Discuss the various theories of emotions
vi) Discuss the significance of emotional intelligence
vii) Discuss the counseling implications of the topic

An emotion is a strong inborn feeling such as anger, hatred, joy and love among others. Emotion
is associated with mood, temperament, personality and disposition, and motivation.

Emotions have cognitive, emotional and behavioural components. Neuroscientific research suggests there is a "magic quarter second" during which it's possible to catch a thought before it becomes an emotional reaction. This implies that thought (cognitive component) is a dimension of emotion. People often behave in certain ways as a direct result of their emotional states such as sadness, hatred, and fear among other such emotional states. Such behaviours could include: crying, fighting or fleeing. Because emotion is often accompanied by a corresponding behaviour, then behaviour becomes an essential component of emotion.

Perspectives on emotions from evolution theory were initiated in the late 19th century with Charles Darwin's book .The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals”. Darwin's original theory was that emotions evolved through natural selection and therefore have cross-culturally universal counterparts. Furthermore, animals undergo emotions comparable to those of humans according to Darwins. The increased potential in neuroimaging has also allowed investigation into evolutionarily ancient parts of the brain. Important neurological advances were made from these perspectives in the 1990s by, for example, Joseph E. LeDoux and António Damásio. American
evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers argues that moral emotions are based on the principle of reciprocal altruism. This theory posits the different emotions have different reciprocal effects. Sympathy prompts a person to offer the first favour, particularly to someone in need for whom the help would go the furthest. Anger protects a person against cheaters who accept a favour without reciprocating, by making him want to punish the ingrate or sever the relationship. Gratitude impels a beneficiary to reward those who helped him in the past. Finally, guilt prompts a cheater who is in danger of being found out, by making them want to repair the relationship by redressing
the misdeed. Guilty feelings also encourage a cheater who has been caught to advertise or promise that he will behave better in the future.

 ACTIVITY: There are many over fifty types of emotions. Examples of these emotions include: Guilt; Happiness; Hatred; Jealousy and Love. List down at least other twenty more emotions.

There are basic emotions such as anger and love and complex categories of emotions such as disgust and depression. Some basic emotions can be modified in some way to form complex emotions. In one model, the complex emotions could arise from cultural conditioning or association combined with the basic emotions. Alternatively, analogous to the way primary colours combine, primary emotions could blend to form the full spectrum of human emotional experience. For example interpersonal anger and disgust could blend to form contempt. Another important means of categorizing emotions, concerns their occurrence in time. Some emotions occur over a period of seconds (for example, surprise), whereas others can last years (for example, love). Finally, some theorists, for example, Klaus & Scherer, (2005), place emotions within a more general category of 'affective
states' where affective states also include emotion-related phenomena such as pleasure and pain, motivational states (for example, hunger or curiosity), moods, dispositions and traits.

 Some psychologists have investigated the relationship between emotion and brain activity. In an experiment to investigate the neural correlates of hate, people had their brains scanned while viewing pictures of people they hated. The results showed increased activity in the medial frontal gyrus, right putamen, bilaterally in the premotor cortex, in the frontal pole, and bilaterally in the medial insula of the human brain. The researchers concluded that there is a distinct pattern of brain activity that occurs when people are experiencing either negative like hatred or positive emotions like joy.

The theory was developed by William James (1842–1910) and Carl Lange (1834–1900) hence the name James-Lange theory. James was an American psychologist and philosopher while Lange was a Danish physician and psychologist. Working independently, they developed the James-Lange theory, a hypothesis on the origin and nature of emotions. The theory states that within human beings, as a response to experiences in the world, the autonomic nervous system creates physiological events such as muscular tension, a rise in heart rate, perspiration, and dryness of the
mouth. Emotions, then, are feelings which come about as a result of these physiological changes, rather than being their cause. As James says "the perception of bodily changes as they occur is the emotion." James further claims that "we feel sad because we cry, angry because we strike, afraid because we tremble, and not that we cry, strike, or tremble because we are sorry, angry, or fearful, as the case may be. This theory is supported by experiments in which by manipulating the bodily state, a desired emotion is induced. Such experiments also have therapeutic implications (for example, in laughter therapy, dance therapy). The James-Lange theory is often misunderstood because it seems counter-intuitive. Most people believe that emotions give rise to emotion-specific actions: e.g. "I'm crying because I'm sad", or "I ran away because I was scared". The James-Lange theory, conversely, asserts that first we react to a situation (running away and crying happen before the emotion), and then we interpret our actions into an emotional response. In this way, emotions serve to explain and organize our own actions to us. The issue with James-Lange theory is that of causation (bodily states causing emotions and being a priori), not that of the bodily influences on emotional experience. The James-Lange theory has remained influential. Its main contribution is
the emphasis it places on the embodiment of emotions; especially the argument that changes in the bodily concomitants of emotions can alter their experienced intensity.

 ACTIVITY: Reflect on this theory using your own personal experiences: would you say you tremble because you fear or you fear because you tremble?

In the Cannon-Bard theory, Walter Bradford Cannon argued against the dominance of the James-Lange theory regarding the physiological aspects of emotions in the second edition of Bodily Changes in Pain, Hunger, Fear and Rage. Where James argued that emotional behaviour often precedes or defines the emotion, Cannon and Bard argued that the emotion arises first and then stimulates typical behaviour. For example a person will feel sad then cry, get angry then fight, get scared then run away etc. His theory is thus the opposite of James-Lange theory.

Based on discoveries made through neural mapping of the limbic system, the neurobiological explanation of human emotion is that emotion is a pleasant or unpleasant mental state organized in the limbic system of the mammalian brain. If distinguished from reactive responses of reptiles, emotions would then be mammalian elaborations of general vertebrate arousal patterns, in which neurochemicals (for example, dopamine, noradrenaline, and serotonin) step-up or step-down the brain's activity level, as visible in body movements, gestures, and postures. For example, the emotion of love is proposed to be the expression of paleocircuits of the mammalian brain (specifically, modules of the cingulate gyrus) which facilitate the care, feeding, and grooming of offspring. Paleocircuits are neural platforms for bodily expression configured millions of years before the advent of cortical circuits for speech. They consist of pre-configured pathways or networks of nerve cells in the forebrain, brain stem and spinal cord. They evolved prior to the earliest mammalian ancestors, as far back as the jawless fish, to control motor function. Presumably, before the mammalian brain, animal life was automatic, preconscious, and predictable. The motor centers of reptiles react to sensory cues of vision, sound, touch, chemical, gravity, and motion with pre-set body movements and programmed postures. With the arrival of night-active mammals, circa 180 million years ago,
smell replaced vision as the dominant sense, and a different way of responding arose from the olfactory sense, which is proposed to have developed into mammalian emotion and emotional memory. In the Jurassic Period, the mammalian brain invested heavily in olfaction to succeed at night as reptiles slept—one explanation for why olfactory lobes in mammalian brains are proportionally larger than in the reptiles. These odor pathways gradually formed the neural blueprint for what was later to become our limbic brain.

 Emotions are thought to be related to activity in brain areas that direct our attention, motivate our behavior, and determine the significance of what is going on around us. Pioneering work by Broca (1878), Papez (1937), and MacLean (1952) suggested that emotion is related to a group of structures in the center of the brain called the limbic system, which includes the hypothalamus, cingulate cortex, hippocampi, and other structures. More recent research has shown that some of these limbic structures are not as directly related to emotion as others are, while some non-limbic structures have been found to be of greater emotional relevance.

 There is ample evidence that the left prefrontal cortex is activated by stimuli that cause positive approach. If attractive stimuli can selectively activate a region of the brain, then logically the converse should hold that selective activation of that region of the brain should cause a stimulus to be judged more positively. This was demonstrated for moderately attractive visual stimuli and replicated and extended to include negative stimuli. The Direction Model which was given support predicted that anger, an approach emotion, would activate the left prefrontal cortex.

 Homeostatic Emotion is another neurological approach, described by Bud Craig in 2003, distinguishes between two classes of emotion. "Classical emotions" include lust, anger and fear, and they are feelings evoked by environmental stimuli, which motivate us (in these examples, respectively, to copulate/fight/flee). "Homeostatic emotions" are feelings evoked by internal body states, which modulate our behavior. Thirst, hunger, feeling hot or cold (core temperature), feeling sleep deprived, salt hunger and air hunger are all examples of homeostatic emotion; each is a signal from a body system saying "Things aren't right down here. Drink/eat/move into the shade/put on something warm/sleep/lick salty rocks/breathe." We begin to feel a homeostatic emotion when one of these systems drifts out of balance and the feeling prompts us to do what is necessary to restore that system to balance. Pain is a homeostatic emotion telling us "Things aren't right here. Withdraw and protect.

 ACTIVITY: According to this theory brain activity is impacted either positively or negatively depending on whether we have positive or negative emotions. Reflect on the implication of this in relation to peoples’ mental well-being and what it implies for you as a counselor.

These theories argue that cognitive activity—in the form of judgments, evaluations, or thoughts—is necessary for an emotion to occur. Emotions therefore are about something or have intentionality. Such cognitive activity may be conscious or unconscious and may or may not take the form of conceptual processing. An influential theory here is that of Richard Lazarus, according to whom emotion is a disturbance that occurs in the following order:
Cognitive appraisal—the individual assess the event cognitively, which cues the emotion.
Physiological changes—the cognitive reaction starts biological changes such as increased heart rate or pituitary adrenal response.
Action—the individual feels the emotion and chooses how to react. For example: Joan sees a snake…..Jenny cognitively assesses the snake in her presence, which triggers fear…. Her heart begins to race faster. Adrenaline pumps through her blood stream….Jenny screams and runs away.

Lazarus stressed that the quality and intensity of emotions are controlled through cognitive processes. These processes underlie coping strategies that form the emotional reaction by altering the relationship between the person and the environment. Robert C. Solomon (1993) a prominent philosopher, supported Lazarus view regarding the role of cognitive activity in development of an emotion. According to him, cognitive activity in the form of judgments, evaluations, or thoughts is necessary in order for an emotion to occur.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EI) describes the ability to identify, assess, manage and control the emotions of one's self, of others, and of groups. EI is important for all of us as. Studies have shown that empathy is an essential life skill. The ability to understand one's own feelings and the feelings of others as well as being able to control one's own emotions and exercise self control , has been found to be very significance for success in all aspects of life.


The ability EI model
The ability-based model views emotions as useful sources of information that help one to make sense of and navigate the social environment. The model proposes that individuals vary in their ability to process information of an emotional nature and in their ability to relate emotional processing to a wider cognition. This ability is seen to manifest itself in certain adaptive behaviours. The model claims that EI includes four types of abilities:
Perceiving emotions – the ability to detect and decipher emotions in faces, pictures, voices, and cultural artifacts—including the ability to identify one's own emotions. Perceiving emotions represents a basic aspect of emotional intelligence, as it makes all other processing of emotional information possible.
Using emotions – the ability to harness emotions to facilitate various cognitive activities, such as thinking and problem solving. The emotionally intelligent person can capitalize fully upon his or her changing moods in order to best fit the task at hand.
Understanding emotions – the ability to comprehend emotion language and to appreciate complicated relationships among emotions. For example, understanding emotions encompasses the ability to be sensitive to slight variations between emotions, and the ability to recognize and describe how emotions evolve over time.
Managing emotions – the ability to regulate emotions in both ourselves and in others. Therefore, the emotionally intelligent person can harness emotions, even negative ones, and manage them to achieve intended goals.

Mixed models of EI
The model introduced by Daniel Goleman focuses on EI as a wide array of competencies and skills that drive leadership performance. Goleman's model outlines four main EI constructs:
Self-awareness – the ability to read one's emotions and recognize their impact while using gut feelings to guide decisions.
Self-management – involves controlling one's emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.
Social awareness – the ability to sense, understand, and react to others' emotions while comprehending social networks.
Relationship management – the ability to inspire, influence, and develop others while managing conflict.

Goleman includes a set of emotional competencies within each construct of EI. Emotional competencies are not innate talents, but rather learned capabilities that must be worked on and can be developed to achieve outstanding performance. Goleman posits that individuals are born with a general emotional intelligence that determines their potential for learning emotional competencies.

ACTIVITY: Emotions are important in your life. Which emotions dominate your life? Negative or positive? If
your life is dominated by negative emotions strive to reverse this trend. Would you say you have emotional
intelligence? Why? Why is emotional intelligence important to you as a counselor?

For any learning to take place some amount of tension involvement is required: a little anxiety or worry in necessary as it motivates children to learn. When children are faced with new learning tasks, they develop some anxiety because they want to succeed in order to experience happiness. They want to experience happiness because they know it is good emotion. They also want to make their parents and teachers happy in order to promote their own happiness. The little anxiety they experience when faced with new tasks is positive as it makes them work hard to accomplish the new task thus facilitating learning. Secondly, emotions can help children to avoid danger. For
example, if a child sees a snake she will experience great fear. This emotion of fear will make the child run away to avoid the danger facing her. Finally, emotions control the behaviour of children. For example, children will tend to run away from things that make them unhappy or fearful thus facilitating learning.

The three components of emotions are the cognitive, emotional and behavioural components.
Emotions are classified as basic or complex.
Key theories of emotions: James-Lange theory; Canon Bard theory; Neurobiological theory and Cognitive theory.
The counseling implications of the topic have been discussed.

. Define the term emotion
. Discuss the evolution of emotions
. Critically discuss the above theory of emotions; which theory do you choose as your favourite? Why?
. Why is the knowledge of emotions important to you as counseling psychologist?
. Do further reading on psychotherapy of emotions

Cornelius, R. (1996). The science of emotion. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

i) Define motivation
ii) Identify two types of motivation
iii) Discuss the various theories of motivation a
iv) Highlight the application of motivation
v) Discuss the counseling implications of the topic

Ever wonder why some people seem to be very successful, highly motivated individuals? Where does the energy, the drive, or the direction come from? Motivation is an area of psychology that has gotten a great deal of attention, especially in the recent years. The reason is because we all want to be successful, we all want direction and drive, and we all want to be seen as motivated.

What is motivation?

Motivation is the force that activates, energises and sustains a specific goal-oriented behaviour. All behaviour of an organism is motivated (cause-effect), whether this motivation is known (conscious) or unknown (unconscious) to the organism. According to various theories, motivation may be rooted in the basic need to minimize physical pain and maximize pleasure, or it may include specific needs such as eating and resting, or a desired object, hobby, goal, state of being or ideal. It may also be attributed to less-apparent reasons such as altruism, selfishness, morality, or avoiding mortality. The term is generally used in relation to humans though theoretically, it can also be used to describe the causes for animal behaviour as well. This topic explores emotions in relation to humans.

i) Intrinsic motivation
Intrinsic motivation comes from inside of the performer. Intrinsic motivation entails doing something for internal satisfaction as opposed to external reward. Intrinsic motivation has been explained by Fritz Heider's attribution theory, Bandura's work on self-efficacy, and Ryan and Deci's cognitive evaluation theory. Research has established that intrinsic motivation is usually associated with high educational/work achievement and enjoyment by students and employees. Students are likely to be intrinsically motivated if they: attribute their educational results to internal factors that they can control (e.g. the amount of effort they put in), believe they can be effective agents in reaching
desired goals (i.e. the results are not determined by luck) and are interested in mastering a topic rather than just rote-learning to achieve good grades. Employees who enjoy their work are also likely to record a higher output compared to their counterparts who are only working for the external reward like money or fear of losing the job.

ii) Extrinsic motivation
Extrinsic motivation comes from outside of the performer. Here, individuals perform a task for external reward. Money is the most obvious example of an extrinsic motivator, though coercion and threat of punishment are also common extrinsic motivations. Cheers, verbal praise, tours, parties and trophies also motivate the performer, to do well hence they are extrinsic incentives. Competition is in general extrinsic because it encourages the performer to win and beat others, not to enjoy the intrinsic rewards of the activity. Social psychological research has indicated that extrinsic rewards can lead to over justification and a subsequent reduction in intrinsic motivation. In one study demonstrating this effect, children who expected to be (and were) rewarded with a ribbon and a gold star for drawing pictures spent less time playing with the drawing materials in subsequent observations than children who were assigned to an unexpected reward condition and to children who received no extrinsic reward.

ACTIVITY: Both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations are important in sustaining behaviour. In your current job/work, are you predominantly intrinsically or extrinsically motivated?
Instinct theory is derived from our biological make-up. All creatures are born with specific innate knowledge about how to survive. Animals are born with the capacity and often times knowledge of how to survive by spinning webs, building nests, avoiding danger, and reproducing. These innate tendencies are preprogrammed at birth, they are in our genes, and even if the spider never saw a web before, never witnessed its creation, it would still know how to create one. Humans have the same types of innate tendencies. Babies are born with a unique ability that allows them to survive; they are born with the ability to cry. Without this, how would others know when to feed the baby, know when he needed changing, or when she wanted attention and affection? Crying allows a human infant to survive. We are also born with particular reflexes which promote survival. The most important of these include sucking, swallowing, coughing, blinking. Newborns can perform physical movements to avoid pain; they will turn their head if touched on their cheek and search for a nipple (rooting reflex); and they will grasp an object that touches the palm of their hands.

An incentive is an external reward which is tangible or intangible which is presented after the occurrence of an action (i.e. behaviour) with the intent to cause the behaviour to occur again. This is done by associating positive results to the behaviour. For example employees are presented with a pay cheque at the end of the month which acts as an incentive for them to continue working. Studies show that if the person receives the reward immediately, the effect would be greater, and decreases as the duration lengthens. Repetitive action-reward combination can cause the action to become habit.

The Drive Reduction Theory grows out of the concept that we have certain biological drives, such as hunger that when not satisfied create a biological imbalance in the body. As time passes, the strength of the drive increases if it is not satisfied (in this case by eating). Upon satisfying the (in this case hunger), drive the drive's strength is then reduced. Drive theory has some intuitive or folk validity. For instance when preparing food, the drive model appears to be compatible with sensations of rising hunger as the food is prepared, and, after the food has been consumed, a
decrease in subjective hunger. Thus specific behaviour is activated in an individual with the goal of reducing these drives.

 ACTIVITY: Hunger is a biological drive. List down other biological drives that are known to you.

Similar to Hull's Drive Reduction Theory, Arousal theory states that we are driven to maintain a certain level of arousal in order to feel comfortable. Arousal refers to a state of emotional, intellectual, and physical activity. It is at a balanced or optimal level of arousal that people function best. If the levels of arousal are too low people strive to raise them by increasing the number of activities and vice versa. The theory explains why people climb mountains, go to school, or watch sad movies.

Suggested by Leon Festinger; dissonance occurs when an individual experiences some degree of discomfort resulting from an incompatibility between two cognitions. For example, a consumer may seek to reassure himself regarding a purchase, feeling, in retrospect, that another decision may have been preferable. Another example of cognitive dissonance is when a belief and a behaviour are in conflict. A person may wish to be healthy, believes smoking is bad for one's health, and yet continues to smoke. A person may also believe that an extra marital is immoral though he/she is in one for certain benefits. This creates a dissonance or disharmony in the person which can only be reduced if the individual changes their way of looking at things or avoids the behaviour that is contradicting the belief system. Here an individual‘s accruing behaviour is aimed at dissonance reduction.
Abraham Maslow's theory is one of the most widely discussed theories of motivation. The theory can be summarized as follows: Human beings have wants and desires which influence their behaviour. Only unsatisfied needs influence behaviour, satisfied needs do not. Since needs are many, they are arranged in order of importance, from the basic to the complex. The person advances to the next level of needs only after the lower level need is at least minimally satisfied. The further the progress up the hierarchy, the more individuality, humanness and psychological
health a person will show.

Goal-setting theory is an example of a cognitive theory. It is based on the notion that individuals sometimes have a drive to reach a clearly defined end state. Often, this end state is a reward in itself. A goal's efficiency is affected by three features: proximity, difficulty and specificity. An ideal goal should present a situation where the time between the initiation of behaviour and the end state is close. This explains why some children are more motivated to learn how to ride a bike than mastering algebra. A goal should be moderate, not too hard or too easy to complete. In both cases, most people are not optimally motivated, as many want a challenge (which assumes some kind of insecurity of success). At the same time people want to feel that there is a substantial probability that they will succeed. Specificity concerns the description of the goal in their class. The goal should be objectively defined and intelligible for the individual. The value attached to the set goal determines how motivated an individual will be. An example of a poorly specified goal is to get the highest possible grade. Most children have no idea how much effort they need to reach that goal because it is not Specific, Measurable and Timebound.

Remember Sigmund Freud and his five part theory of personality. As part of this theory, he believed that humans have only two basic drives: Eros and Thanatos, or the Life and Death drives. According to Psychoanalytic theory, everything we do, every thought we have, and every emotion we experience has one of two goals: to help us survive or to prevent our destruction. This is similar to instinct theory. however, Freud believed that the vast majority of our knowledge about these drives is buried in the unconscious part of the mind. Psychoanalytic theory therefore
argues that we go to school because it will help assure our survival in terms of improved finances, more money for healthcare, or even an improved ability to find a spouse. We move to better school districts to improve our children's ability to survive and continue our family tree. We demand safety in our cars, toys, and in our homes. We want criminal locked away, and we want to be protected against poisons, terrorists, and anything else that could lead to our destruction. According to this theory, everything we do, everything we are can be traced back to the two basic drives

Workers in any organization need something to keep them working. Most times the salary of the employee is enough to keep him or her working for an organization. However, sometimes just working for salary is not enough for employees to stay at an organization. An employee must be motivated to work for a company or organization. If no motivation is present in an employee, then that employee‘s quality of work or all work in general will deteriorate. Keeping an employee working at full potential is the ultimate goal of employee motivation. There are many methods to help keep employees motivated. Some traditional ways of motivating workers are placing them in competition with each other. When motivating an audience, you can use general motivational strategies or specific motivational appeals. General motivational strategies include soft sell versus hard sell and personality type. Soft sell strategies have logical appeals, emotional appeals, advice and praise. Hard sell strategies have barter, outnumbering, pressure and rank. Also, you can consider basing your strategy on your audience personality. Specific motivational appeals focus on provable facts, feelings, right and wrong, audience rewards and audience threats.

Motivation is of particular interest to educational psychologists because of the crucial role it plays in student learning. However, the specific kind of motivation that is studied in the specialized setting of education differs qualitatively from the more general forms of motivation studied by psychologists in other fields. Because students are not always internally motivated, they sometimes need situated motivation, which is found in environmental conditions that the teacher creates. Both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation should be used in a school set up. Intrinsic motivation occurs when students are internally motivated to read because it either brings them pleasure, they
think it is important, or they feel that what they are learning is significant. Extrinsic motivation comes into play when a student is compelled to do something or act a certain way because of factors external to him or her (like money or good grades). Motivation in education can have several effects on how students learn and how they behave towards subject matter. It can:

. Direct behavior toward particular goals
. Lead to increased effort and energy
. Increase initiation of, and persistence in, activities
. Enhance cognitive processing
. Determine what consequences are reinforcing
. Lead to improved performance.

At lower levels of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, such as physiological needs, money is a motivator; however it tends to have a motivating effect on staff that lasts only for a short period (in accordance with Herzberg's two-factor model of motivation). At higher levels of the hierarchy, praise, respect, recognition, empowerment and a sense of belonging are far more powerful motivators than money, as Abraham Maslow's theory of motivation proposes. Motivated employees always look for better ways to do a job. Motivated employees are more quality oriented and more productive. The average workplace is about midway between the extremes of high threat and high opportunity. Motivation by threat is a dead-end strategy, and naturally staff is more attracted to the opportunity
side of the motivation curve than the threat side. Motivation is a powerful tool in the work environment that can lead to employees working at their most efficient levels of production. Nonetheless, there are three common character types of subordinates: ascendant, indifferent, and ambivalent all of whom react and interact uniquely, and must be treated, managed, and motivated accordingly. An effective leader must understand how to manage all characters, and more importantly the manager must utilize avenues that allow room for employees to work, grow, and find answers independently. Three main orientations in the concept of orientation to work have been distinguished: instrumental (where work is a means to an end), bureaucratic (where work is a source of status, security and immediate reward) and solidaristic (which prioritises group loyalty). Other theories stress cultural differences and the fact that individuals tend to be motivated by different factors at different times. Scientific management bases human motivation wholly on extrinsic rewards. Satisfaction lay in aligning a person's life with their fundamental motivations. Research establishes that the social contacts a worker has at the workplace are very important and that boredom and repetitiveness of tasks lead to reduced motivation. Further findings indicate that
workers could be motivated by acknowledging their social needs and making them feel important. This can be achieved by giving employees freedom to make decisions on the job and paying greater attention to informal work groups. This model was named the Hawthorne effect and it proposes the following:

. Allowing employees to participate
. Linking rewards to performance
. Rewarding of nominators

All behaviour is motivated. Counselors should understand the topic of human motivation in order to psycho-educate employers and managers on employee motivation, teachers on students‘ on the role of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in education and parents on how to nurture intrinsic motivation in children. Understanding of human motivation also helps counselors as professional helpers to form hypothesis about behaviours of their clients and humans in general.

In this topic, motivation has been defined and the difference between intrinsic extrinsic motivation explored. Different theories of motivation including: The incentive theory of motivation; Drive-reduction theory; Cognitive Dissonance Theory; Maslow's hierarchy of needs Theory; Arousal theory; Goal-setting theory; instinct theory and psychoanalytic. The topic has also explored the application of motivation in the employment and education
sector. Finally, the counseling implications of the topic have been explored.

. What is motivation?
. Distinguish intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
. Discuss the various theories of motivation
. Explore different ways that employers can motivate employees
. Why is the knowledge of motivation important to you as a counsellor?


Weightman, J. (2008) The Employee Motivation Audit: Cambridge Strategy Publications

Robbins, Stephen P.; Judge, Timothy A. (2007), Essentials of Organizational Behavior (9 ed.), Upper
Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall,

i) Define the term consciousness
ii) Discuss the seven states of consciousness
iii) Discuss the counseling implication of the topic

Consciousness is mental awareness; it is both objective and subjective. Objective consciousness is a state of conscious awareness. It has the faculty of understanding, whether of the objects immediately presented in sense perception, or those known by process of reasoning. Its reasoning is both inductive and deductive; it also has self choice. It is mind or intelligence and sometimes involves the higher thinking powers, as distinguished from the senses and memory. Memory should not be confused with intelligence; however, our learning institutions stress memory, and those who possess good memories are at the top of the class. Memory is only a faculty of the mind
and, as far as universal states of consciousness are concerned, an average memory is good enough. It is only a part, not the whole. One of the best memories you may find is a good book; it is perfect and timeless. But a book cannot think or reason, or analyze, determine and form an opinion; it cannot determine what is true or false as in the science of logic or the art of reasoning. The Supreme Intelligence of the universe is more than law and principle, whether physical or mental laws. It is the Limitless Conscious Life of the universe and it is conscious of itself. Since it
is all it cannot know anything outside itself. All Life is within it; we are a finite intelligence; it is an infinite intelligence. We are potential; it is already complete. Therefore we are in mental states of evolving back to it, and here man is not equal.

 Man has seven universal states of consciousness to evolve through. Each person in this world is in one of these seven states of consciousness; each has his own state of awareness of what is true of Universal Life. These seven states of consciousness will come to no man automatically. He is born mentally free and will have to accomplish and conquer these states of awareness himself. No one can do it for him, and the only place he can accomplish this will be within the depths of his own intellectual faculty of comprehension. These states of consciousness are already set in the laws of nature, and money and college degrees will not give them to you. Whatever state of consciousness
a man is in will determine what good will come to him, what health, happiness, abundance, and peace, or it will take life and that which is good away from him.

Man is created equal; this is a universal first cause; no matter what someone may try to tell you otherwise. However, since we are still evolving and have seven states of consciousness to pass through, we are not equal spiritually, only potentially equal. Neither are we equal physically (we have strong evidence of this in our athletic competitions), nor are we equal mentally; this is evident in our business world. Simply stated, man is not equal physically, mentally or spiritually, only potentially. The universal joke is on those who believe in socialism, for they are striving for one great society and one class; in realty (or nature) there are seven distinct classes. What they are trying to accomplish is a universal impossibility and nature herself will keep these classes separated. Where a man thinks he is may be only temporary. Money and social status do not verify universal states of consciousness. Nature herself will confirm each state, and she is absolute intelligence.

The first state of consciousness in Nature is hunger; this is the lowest state a person can reach. There are millions and millions of people who are in this state in the world today. Hunger is a state of consciousness, and those who are hungry reflect only one thing from the Parent Mind--hunger. You may have heard people speak of the depression years, how hungry they were, etc. they just had some lean days and years. Real hunger does not last for a few days, but year upon year. A persistent strong desire that is never satisfied, stronger than any sexual desire or any motivation of human life. As if all the energies of mind and body are concentrated to one motivation, to feed that craving, twisting and turning inside. All beauty, all love all that which is good passes from the mind or consciousness. These people no longer care about politics or anything else. The only thing they are conscious of is this push, urge, and motivation within themselves. They are not conscious of the garbage and filth in which they lie. They are not conscious of the disease that rakes and rots their human body away. Born reaching for the Mother's breast, they find even that lean and non-producing. A lifetime with their faces down in the dust, always reaching for just a grain of rice, even that is in the muck and dust, and before the hand leaves their lips, the craving is still there. Always reaching, reaching, yet that great urge is never satisfied. Their eyes look out; blank to the world and to God. A lifetime; then they die face down with one last feeble reach for a grain of rice that will satisfy that great hunger. Only one word, "Hell," upon earth. The only man who really knows what hunger is, is the one who has experienced it in its totality. It is the lowest state of consciousness a person can reach. The only thing these people are motivated by are the emotions of hunger.

 ACTIVITY: Is there a time you have ever been really hungry? If yes, you will recall that the predominant thought in your mind was how to access food. Should it then be surprising that a hungry man can do almost anything to satisfy his hunger? List down some behaviours that truly hungry communities indulge in to satisfy hunger in Kenya and world-wide.

The second state of consciousness in nature is the state of subjection, (being exposed to). Here the individual is governed and motivated by the emotions of subjection. Sometimes people are taught or forced into this state, or the environment in which they live year after year may finally succeed in subjecting them. Socialistic societies have subjected billions down through history; the larger governments grow, the more the people become subjected to their power. They conform a little today, next year a little more and so on until that power has them completely subjected. People can be subjected to political powers, culture, and religion among other such forces. This is a
conforming emotion, a state of consciousness.  

Fear is the third state of consciousness, and the greatest enemy of man and his mind. In this state the individual is governed and motivated by fear. Often this fear is subjected, but it is there and the individual is motivated by it; what he does and how he thinks. Man fears other nations, he fears those around him, other races, his superiors, even his loves, and above all he fears the world and the universe in which he lives, fears death, Life and God.
 Many well-meaning ministers teach man to fear God. God is love and all human love is cosmic. The emotions and feelings of love and fear go in different directions. If a man loves a woman and also fears her, he is not in love nor does he know love. Love is unrestricted whether it be cosmic or human. If he fears her, he is also subjected to her. He is hoping in some way she will favor him and will not hurt him. When people fear God it is similar. They are subjected to Deity and are hoping that God will favour them and, also, will not hurt them in some way. God plays no favorites nor will he hurt anyone. His rain falls on the just, and on the unjust. When the mystic wrote the word "rain," this was symbolic. Rain means the mind-substance, or law-first cause, that is forever flowing through-
out creation. It is pliable and flexible in that is can be shaped in any form or experience; like water, it will fill any mold that the human mind creates for it; forever flowing, like rain. Every thought, feeling and emotion that man has makes an impression on it, similar to a tape recorder. In due time and in natural law and order these thoughts return to him in things and conditions, good or negative. Man is a co-creator with God; as man sows, so shall he reap. Every thought and emotion that man has is recorded in the ethers of his soul. What he accepts is acted upon by this Law of
mind for his own personal world. Memory alone is proof enough of this recording of thoughts. His Will is his protector; he may reject or accept. This is the basic principle of positive thinking. Fear is emotion; whether it is of God or man it will create the negative.  One third of our nations' population is in these latter two states, subjection and fear. You may view the effects of these two states of consciousness among the poor in your nation. There are a few in these states who are financially better off than their brothers, but nature will balance that in other areas of their lives, or else it may be temporary.

ACTIVITY: your predominant fears? Why do you fear that which you fear? Knowledge of the why can help you
substantially minimize your fears.

One third of our nation's population is in the fourth state of consciousness, the Emotion and Intellect, this is the most difficult, for here the individual is having a constant inter-conflict with his emotional nature, which is the lower mind or soul, and his intellect, the reason and logic of the higher mind, which is beginning to develop. It is also very dangerous because with a prolonged illness or a negative experience, this individual could easily give way to the emotional nature of the lower soul. Doing this he could fall apart, or go all the way back to the first state of consciousness, hunger. It may have taken this individual a lifetime to reach this state of mental development, or,
through inherited thought patterns, it may have taken generations and generations to achieve. He could easily lose all this in a few months, depending on the circumstances. From this group come most of our mental patients and nervous breakdown. Here the individual is motivated in all he does by the emotions of the lower mind and soul, and by the intellect of the higher mind. Recognizing this type of personality, a good automobile salesman will first approach the individual, speaking with suggestions intended to excite the emotions of the lower mind. He may say: "Just look at the modern lines of this new model; isn't this a deep rich color? Go on; sit down in the driver's seat. Now, isn't that comfortable? That's the best foam rubber in those seats. Has power steering also, and the ladies just love that; they can park with one finger, honestly. Come, let's take a ride. Oh, time is all I have. Notice how easy it steers; now make a right turn at the next corner and watch how the car hugs the road. Beautiful, wasn't it? You should see this baby maneauver on the highway. Go on, step on it a little; boy; did you hear those horses under the hood? This little baby will set you right back in your seat." Back at the show room, the individual hardly gets out of the car and the contract and pen is waiting for him. The salesman may say to himself; you have to catch them while they're hot, or get them to sign a contract while they are being motivated by their emotions. Sign they will, and the
individual may not wake from his emotional dream until his first payment comes due. Then he begins to use the higher faculties of his mind, reason and logic. Now he realizes he went over his head on what he could afford. Here he says: "I'll never do that again." But in due time he will; this goes on and on, not necessarily only with automobiles, but in all the actions and reactions of his life. Sometimes his intellect governs him sometimes it's the emotional nature.

i) Reflect: You keep shifting from using your emotions to your intellect in making your daily decisions. Discuss
this statement with practical real life examples relating to you life.
ii) Reflect: Every person is born at or below the fourth state of consciousness. At what level would you say you
were born? At what level are you operating now? Why?

Without a shadow of doubt, the fifth state of consciousness reason and logic, is the hardest and coldest of them all. Here the individual has conquered the emotions of the lower mind within himself. He has crossed the threshold of the upper mind into high states of Being, and never again, into infinity, will he have to return to the lower states of consciousness. Through a natural cultivation he has developed the science or art of reasoning and logic. Reasoning and its faculties are attributes of the Parent Mind. This individual is using the faculties of the Parent Mind each
time he thinks and reasons: Intelligence is not the result of evolution, evolution is the result of intelligence, and intelligence is absolute. The individual has found and is using the key to all creation, "Mind," an absolute intelligence. To the degree that he knows and understands anything that is true, physically or mentally, he is God and God is him. Not knowing he has found the source of all things, Mind, Intelligence--it is conscious, alive and aware; not without, but within himself. The only things that stimulate and motivate this individual are hard cold facts. Even his
personality changes and he can be recognized in any group. He is called stubborn, cold, and unreasonable because in nature it is impossible to pull him back to the emotions of the lower mind and soul. He has found the great "I AM" and that "I AM" is both individual and universal. From then on, for this individual, his expansion can only be in one direction, within to infinity. He is only in the first grade of universal consciousness, but he has escaped the world and its effects. What greater divine gift could any individual ask for upon this earth? This gift of the fifth state of consciousness is given by the Parent Mind: it is conscious that it is giving, and the gift is eternal. Those in the first four states of consciousness receive theirs by a mechanical law of nature. It gives, but it will also take away, nor is the law conscious of what it is doing. It is sometimes said that these people are not understood. This is a true fact, for if others are not in sympathy with them, their philosophy is bent in the exact opposite direction, not only
politically, but in their whole philosophy of life. In first cause--Mind, Intelligence--there is no middle of the road. Truth is, or it is not. Those individuals who are seeking the middle of the road are lost in the void, politically or otherwise. In the whole physical spectrum of Being there is no middle of the road. From candle light to electricity and until you encompass the whole universal system, there is no middle road, no duality. It is or it isn't; this is true of any principle of which we know. This is also true in man's psychological mental being. If this group is more prosperous, it is because of their philosophy of life; these higher states of consciousness will manifest their own
good in due time and order. They are seeing the effects of a certain state of universal consciousness. Nature will take care of itself at each level.

By cultivation of the faculties of the mind and a pursuit and use of truth, this sixth state of consciousness is given in sequence and order, again by the Parent Mind. This state of consciousness is the most difficult for the individual to detect. He will begin to loosen up a little, as he is not as hard and cold as before about facts, but more compassionate and feeling. This feeling is coming from the upper soul, not the lower. It can be said that he is animated and inspired from above. The whole world gets simpler and less complicated to him. An idea or concept that seems complicated to someone else, is very simple to him, as he has learned to think behind problems and conditions to the cause of things. He understands those behind him in lower states of consciousness, because he himself has been there. For no individual is born into these upper realms of consciousness. Everyone is born in the fourth state or below. The first man is of the world, "lower mind." The second man is of God, "upper mind," and those individuals in the upper states of consciousness and awareness shall be guided by the Parent Mind. Many times, when these individuals think in terms of concepts and ideas, they are given through their own minds ideas or new concepts to add to their own. This is why this is called both human and divine reasoning. But these individuals are not aware of this giving. They still think it is their mind. Here in this sixth state wisdom is found. Not from books, but a gift from the Parent Mind. Wisdom is mental power acting upon the materials that fullest knowledge gives in the most effective way. In these upper states of consciousness, each time intelligence makes a demand upon
itself, intelligence answers itself, finite or infinite. In these individuals' minds, intelligence is becoming its true self--again, a very difficult state to detect.

Cosmic consciousness is the last state of consciousness, but it is not the end, only the beginning. Before those who have reached this state lies the absolute; expanding and expanding to infinity. This state is limitless, timeless, and spaceless. Here the whole is perceived, the Supreme Being, the source of all that is. Intuitive knowledge of divine order, above and beyond the intellectual faculty of comprehension is granted. Here is absolute intelligence, absolute beauty, absolute love, absolute law, forever flowing, flowing throughout all creation and all things, the seen and the unseen. That which was, that which is, that which shall be. God: Our Father which art in heaven, Cosmic
Consciousness, not without but within. Many have received this divine gift while they walked upon this earth. Each received gifts of intelligence in the field to which his mind was bent: Socrates' gift was true philosophy. Moses was
the writer of Divine Law. Jesus taught the Divine principle of man, the individual "I AM." Beethoven: "I just wrote what I heard." Edison: "not I; God gave it to me." Aristotle, Emerson, Walt Whitman, Browning, Burbank. Dr. Ernest S. Holmes, author of The Science of the Mind: "The only God man shall ever find is the God within his own soul; all is already given." And Dr. Albert Einstein wrote: "I cannot believe that God plays dice with the world." He believed in a universe of order and harmony. He also wrote that the greatest joy that can come to man, is the mystical union
between God and man. These men and millions down through the ages knew. Many times they knew without any process of reasoning. God in man; they know they are not the knower, only the known. The finite intelligence and infinite intelligence becomes one. Mankind and our world are not drifting in space or orbiting around a sun. We are a part of some great something, call it what you like. God, Deity, Mind, Intelligence, it always was, it always will be. The world is rotating daily about its axis at the rate of 1000 miles an hour, and its annual revolution about the sun is at the rate of 20 miles a second; the entire solar system is moving within the local star system at the rate of 13 miles a second, the local star system is moving within the Milky Way at the rate of 200 miles a second, and the whole Milky Way is drifting with respect to the remote external galaxies at the rate of 100 miles a second, all in different directions. Man is moving and he is moving fast. He is It, and It is him, physically and mentally.

Consciousness is mental awareness; it is both objective and subjective. There are seven states of consciousness namely: hunger, subjection, fear, logic and emotion, reasoning and logic, human and divine and cosmic consciousness. All humans are born at state four and below. This explains why people in the upper states are able to understand their counterparts at lower levels. Persons at lower levels find it difficult to understand persons
operating at higher levels.

. Discuss the seven states of consciousness
. Explain why the knowledge of these states is important to you as a counseling psychologist.
. States of consciousness act as strong motives. Discuss.

Scaruffi, P. (2006) The Nature Of Consciousness. Omniware.
i) Define the term consciousness
ii) Define the term unconsciousness
iii) Discuss Freud’s levels of consciousness
iv) Discuss various altered states of consciousness
v) Discuss the counseling implication of the topic

What is consciousness?

Consciousness is the ability of the mind to be aware of itself and of external events including ideas, emotions, perception, and fears. Awareness is personal meaning that it can‘t be shared with another person. It is also limited….. meaning that you cannot be aware of all in and outside of the self. Awareness is selective….. meaning you can be aware of something while ignoring others. It is also divided..….you can pay attention to two different things at once. Awareness is an active process… are actively constructing experiences provided by the senses. Awareness is continuous…..entails a continuous flow of thought, feeling and sensations. Each moment of consciousness blends into the next moment. Finally awareness is changing…..what you are aware of now will normally shift to awareness of other things within seconds.

What is unconsciousness?
Unconsciousness is more appropriately referred to as loss consciousness is a dramatic alteration of mental state that involves complete or near-complete lack of responsiveness to people and other environmental stimuli. Being in a comatose state or coma is an illustration of unconsciousness. Fainting due to a drop in blood pressure and a decrease of the oxygen supply to the brain is an illustration of a temporary loss of consciousness. Loss of consciousness is not similar to altered states of consciousness, neither should it be confused with the notion of the psychoanalytic unconscious that take place outside of awareness. Loss of consciousness may occur as the result of
traumatic brain injury, brain hypoxia (e.g., due to a brain infarction or cardiac arrest), severe poisoning with drugs that depress the activity of the central nervous system (e.g., alcohol and other hypnotic or sedative drugs), severe fatigue among other such causes.

The human mind according to Freud operates at three levels of consciousness:
Conscious level of awareness…… is whatever one is doing or thinking right now e.g. listening. It comprises of materials that are within an individual‘s immediate memory: Preconscious/sub-conscious level of awareness……. information just below surface of awareness that can easily be retrieved e.g. dinner last night: Unconscious level of
awareness……….. Repressed information that was once at the conscious level but is now not accessible to the individual at will unless through psychoanalysis. The information is never lost and according to Freud may influence our current behaviour.

Altered states of consciousness are states of awareness that differ from ones usual waking states…that is deviations from normal consciousness. An individual goes through multiple states of consciousness every day. Consciousness can be altered by different stimuli including sleep, drugs, hypnosis, deep meditation, sexual ecstasy among other factors.

 Commonalities in altered states
i) Alterations in thinking
ii) Disturbed sense of time passing
iii) Change in emotional expression
iv) Perceptual distortions
v) Change in meaning or significance

Sleep is a naturally recurring altered state of consciousness with relatively suspended sensory and motor activity, characterized by the inactivity of nearly all voluntary muscles. It is distinguished from quiet wakefulness by a decreased ability to react to stimuli, but it is more easily reversible than hibernation or coma. Sleep is a heightened anabolic state, accentuating the growth and rejuvenation of the immune, nervous, skeletal and muscular systems. It is observed in all mammals, all birds, and many reptiles, amphibians, and fish.

The stages of sleep were first described in 1937 by Alfred Lee Loomis and his coworkers, who separated the different electroencephalography (EEG) features of sleep into five levels (A to E), which represented the spectrum from wakefulness to deep sleep. In mammals and birds, sleep is divided into two broad types: Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM or non-REM) sleep. Each type has a distinct set of associated physiological, neurological, and psychological features. NREM sleep was initially divided into four stages, with slow-wave sleep
comprising stages 3 and 4. In stage 3, delta waves made up less than 50% of the total wave patterns, while they made up more than 50% in stage 4. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) later reduced NREM stages into three: N1, N2, and N3, the last of which is also called delta sleep or slow-wave sleep (SWS). Sleep proceeds in cycles of REM and NREM, the order normally being N1 . N2 . N3 . N2 . REM. There is a greater amount of deep sleep
(in stage N3) early in the night, while the proportion of REM sleep increases later in the night and just before natural awakening.

NREM sleep stages
There is relatively little dreaming in NREM. NREM consists of three stages:

i) Stage N1
Refers to the transition of the brain from alpha waves, (common in the awake state) to theta waves (sleep waves). This stage is sometimes referred to as somnolence or drowsy sleep. Sudden twitches and hypnic jerks, also known as positive myoclonus, may be associated with the onset of sleep during N1. Some people may also experience hypnagogic hallucinations during this stage, which can be troublesome to them. During N1, the subject loses some muscle tone and most conscious awareness of the external environment.

ii) Stage N2
This is characterized by sleep spindles. During this stage, muscular activity decreases, and conscious awareness of the external environment disappears. Brain activity slows down. This stage occupies 45% to 55% of total sleep in adults.

iii) Stage N3
Deep or slow-wave sleep….. is characterized by the presence of a minimum of 20% delta waves ranging. Occurs approximately 40-60 minutes after sleep onset. This is the stage in which night terrors, nocturnal enuresis (involuntary discharge of urine) sleepwalking, and somniloquy (sleeptalking) occur. Many illustrations and descriptions still show a stage N3 with 20%-50% delta waves and a stage N4 with greater than 50% delta waves; these have been combined as stage N3.

 REM sleep
Occurs after 70-90 minutes of NREM. The EEG pattern is Beta waves. Burst of eye movements. Active sleep. Characterized by rapid breathing; increase in blood pressure; heart rate increase as if awake; sexual arousal (erection and ejaculation); medical catastrophes occur at this stage (heart attacks, emphysema, ulcers, strokes); difficult to awaken; don't respond to touch or sound; muscle paralysis; dreaming; very visible in cats. REM sleep, accounts for 20%–25% of total sleep time in most human adults. Most memorable dreaming occurs in this stage. At least in mammals, a descending muscular paralysis is seen. Such paralysis may be necessary to protect organisms from
self-damage through physically acting out scenes from the often-vivid dreams that occur during this stage.


Lack of sleep can more than double the risk of death from cardiovascular disease according to
research. However too much sleep can also be associated with a doubling of the risk of death,
though not primarily from cardiovascular disease. Short sleep has been shown to be a risk factor
for weight gain, hypertension, and Type 2 diabetes, sometimes leading to mortality. In terms of
prevention, findings indicate that consistently sleeping around seven hours per night is optimal for
health, and a sustained reduction may predispose an individual to ill health." Furthermore, sleep
difficulties are closely associated with psychiatric disorders such as depression, alcoholism, and
bipolar disorder. Up to 90% of adults with depression are found to have sleep difficulties.

Sleep Apnea: Cessation of respiration, loud snoring, and inability to breathe while sleeping; can
awaken approximately 500 times per night. Narcolepsy: Sudden attacks of complete or partial
muscle paralysis usually precipitated by strong emotion (cataplexy - seizure). The major symptom is
overwhelming sleepiness during the day. Somnambulism: Sleep walking, occurs during non-REM.
1 -6% of people sleep walk. Night terrors and Nightmares: Night terrors occur during stages 3-4 of
sleep, intense anxiety, panic, heart races, more frequent in children. Enuresis…… bed wetting, 10-
15% of children between the ages of 4-5 wet the bed; 90% dry by 7; 97% by 12. Primary enuresis
(psychological) and organic enuresis (biological). Insomnia: have trouble falling asleep: three types:
termination (awaken early and can't get back to sleep) and maintenance (awaken repeatedly during the
night). Drug dependency insomnia (the same drugs taken to induce sleep and cause profoundly disturbed

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Children need more sleep per day in order to develop and function properly: up to 18 hours for
newborn babies, with a declining rate as a child ages. A newborn baby spends almost 9 hours a day
in REM sleep. By the age of five or so, only slightly over two hours is spent in REM.

Age and condition

Average amount of sleep per day


up to 18 hours

1–12 months

14–18 hours

1–3 years

12–15 hours

3–5 years

11–13 hours

5–12 years

9–11 hours


9–10 hours

Adults, including elderly

7–8(+) hours

Pregnant women

8(+) hours

Lack of enough rest and results in Sleep debt. A large debt causes mental, emotional, and physical
fatigue. Sleep debt results in diminished abilities to perform high-level cognitive functions.
Neurophysiological and functional imaging studies have demonstrated that frontal regions of the
brain are particularly responsive to homeostatic sleep pressure.


i) Restoration

There are multiple arguments supporting the restorative function of sleep. The metabolic phase
during sleep is anabolic; anabolic hormones such as growth hormones are secreted preferentially
during sleep thus facilitating somatic growth- more specifically, slow-wave sleep (SWS)—does affect
growth hormone levels in individuals. It has also been shown that sleep deprivation affects the
immune system and that wound healing has been shown to be affected by sleep.

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ii) Ontogenesis (process of development)

According to the ontogenetic hypothesis of REM sleep, the activity occurring during neonatal
REM sleep (or active sleep) seems to be particularly important to the developing organism. REM
sleep appears to be important for development of the brain. REM sleep occupies the majority of
time of sleep of infants, who spend most of their time sleeping. Among different species, the more
immature the baby is born, the more time it spends in REM sleep. Proponents also suggest that
REM-induced muscle inhibition in the presence of brain activation exists to allow for brain
development by activating the synapses, yet without any motor consequences that may get the
infant in trouble. Additionally, REM deprivation results in developmental abnormalities later in
iii) Memory processing

Working memory has been shown to be affected by sleep deprivation. Working memory is
important because it keeps information active for further processing and supports higher-level
cognitive functions such as decision making, reasoning, and episodic memory.

iv) Preservation

The "Preservation and Protection" theory holds that sleep serves an adaptive function. It protects
the animal during that portion of the 24-hour day in which being awake, and hence roaming
around, would place the individual at greatest risk. Organisms do not require 24 hours to feed
themselves and meet other necessities. From this perspective of adaptation, organisms are safer by
staying out of harm's way, where potentially they could be prey to other, stronger organisms. Sleep
maximizes their safety, given their physical capacities and their habitats.

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Dreaming is the perceived experience of sensory images and sounds during sleep, in a sequence
which the dreamer usually perceives more as an apparent participant than as an observer.
Dreaming mostly occurs during the REM phase of sleep. People have proposed many hypotheses
about the functions of dreaming.

. Sigmund Freud postulated that dreams are the symbolic expression of frustrated desires
that had been relegated to the unconscious mind, and he used dream interpretation in the
form of psychoanalysis to uncover these desires.
. John Allan Hobson and Robert McCarley's activation synthesis theory proposes that
dreams are caused by the random firing of neurons in the cerebral cortex during the REM
period. According to this theory, the forebrain then creates a story in an attempt to
reconcile and make sense of the nonsensical sensory information presented to it; hence,
the odd nature of many dreams.

. Alcohol – Often, people start drinking alcohol in order to get to sleep (alcohol is initially a
sedative and will cause somnolence, encouraging sleep). However, being addicted to
alcohol can lead to disrupted sleep, because alcohol has a rebound effect later in the night.
As a result, there is strong evidence linking alcoholism and forms of insomnia. Alcohol
also reduces REM sleep.
. Barbiturates cause drowsiness and have actions similar to alcohol in that it has a rebound
effect and inhibits REM sleep, so it is not used as a long term sleep aid.
. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that regulates sleepiness. It is made in the
brain, where tryptophan is converted into serotonin and then into melatonin, which is
released at night by the pineal gland to induce and maintain sleep. Melatonin
supplementation may be used as a sleep aid as a hypnotic.
. Siesta and the "post-lunch dip" – Many people have a temporary drop in alertness in the
early afternoon, commonly known as the "post-lunch dip." While a large meal can make a
person feel sleepy, the post-lunch dip is mostly an effect of the biological clock. People
naturally feel most sleepy (have the greatest "drive for sleep") at two times of the day about
12 hours apart—for example, at 2:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. At those two times, the body clock
"kicks in." At about 2 p.m. (14:00), it overrides the homeostatic buildup of sleep debt,
allowing several more hours of wakefulness. At about 2 a.m. (02:00), with the daily sleep
debt paid off, it "kicks in" again to ensure a few more hours of sleep.

There are many reasons for poor sleep:
. Excessive exposure to bright light within hours of bedtime or simply resisting the urge to fall
asleep can trigger a "second wind," which then can temporarily make it difficult to fall
asleep afterwards.
. Not following sleep hygienic principles…….. may cause problems of physical or emotional
discomfort. Individuals should observe sleep hygiene principles for example avoiding heavy
meals before bedtime; avoiding caffeine, alcohol and other psychoactive drugs; maintaining
bodily hygiene; maintaining a regular sleep pattern (add to the list).
. Improper health….. When the culprit is pain, illness, drugs, or stress, the cause must be
treated. Sleep disorders (including the sleep apneas, narcolepsy, primary insomnia,
periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD), restless leg syndrome (RLS), ) are treatable.
. Disturbances…….in the environment may lead to inability to consolidate sleep once
awakened especially in older people. While external disturbance is at times inevitable,
individuals should ensure that as much as possible, their bedrooms are attractive with
minimal disturbances.
. Improper sleep position…… may hinder circulation and cause body pain. Various patents,
products, and sleep techniques exist as sleep aids, allowing a more natural position during
sleep for better circulation and less body pain. These methods range from returning to
sleep on the floor since beds are a relatively recent invention in human history, to
products which lift blankets off one's feet to many kinds of "memory foam" which create a
surface customized to an individual's body position.

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Reflect: there are many other causes of insomnia apart from those discussed above. Which other causes do
you know? Write them down now. Do further reading to find out the others that you might not have written.


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A psychoactive drug, psychopharmaceutical or psychotropic is a chemical substance that crosses
the blood-brain barrier and acts primarily upon the central nervous system where it alters brain
function, resulting in changes in perception, mood, consciousness, cognition, and behavior. These
drugs may be used recreationally, to purposefully alter one's consciousness, for ritual or spiritual
purposes, as a tool for studying or augmenting the mind, or therapeutically as medication.
Psychoactive substances bring about subjective changes in consciousness and mood that the user
may find pleasant (e.g. euphoria) or advantageous (e.g. increased alertness), hence many
psychoactive substances are abused, that is, used excessively, despite risks or negative consequences.

Psychoactive drugs are divided into three groups: Depressants - those that slow down the central
nervous system; such as tranquilizers, alcohol, heroin and other opiates, cannabis (in low doses):
Stimulants- those that excite the nervous system; such as nicotine, amphetamines, cocaine,
caffeine: Hallucinogens - those that alter how reality is perceived; such as LSD, mescaline,
Psilocybin mushrooms, Salvia divinorum

. Amphetamines (amphetamine, dextroamphetamine, methamphetamine, etc.) are often
used to treat narcolepsy and ADHD disorders and when used recreationally may be
referred to as "speed." Their most common effects are anxiety, insomnia, stimulation,
increased alertness, and decreased hunger.
. Caffeine is a stimulant that works by slowing the action of the hormones in the brain that
cause somnolence, particularly by acting as an antagonist at adenosine receptors. Effective
dosage is individual, in part dependent on prior usage. It can cause a rapid reduction in
alertness as it wears off.
. Cocaine and crack cocaine – Studies on cocaine have shown its effects to be mediated
through the circadian rhythm system. This may be related to the onset of hypersomnia
(oversleeping) in regard to "Cocaine-Induced Sleep Disorder."
. Energy Drinks – The stimulating effects of energy drinks come from stimulants such as
caffeine, and sugars, and they will eventually create a rapid reduction in alertness similar to
that of caffeine.
. MDMA, including similar drugs like MDA, MMDA, or bk-MDMA – The class of drugs
called empathogen-entactogens keep users awake with intense euphoria. Commonly known
as "ecstasy."
. Methylphenidate – Commonly known by the brand names Ritalin and Concerta,
methylphenidate is similar in action to amphetamines and cocaine.
. Other Analeptic drugs like Modafinil and Armodafinil are prescribed to treat narcolepsy,
hypersomnia, shift work sleep disorder, and other conditions causing Excessive Daytime
Sleepiness. The precise mechanism of these CNS stimulants is not known, but they have
been shown to increase both the release of monoamines and levels of hypothalamic
histamine, thereby promoting wakefulness.

Depending on its method of action, a psychoactive substance may block the receptors on the post-
synaptic neuron (dendrite), or block reuptake or affect neurotransmitter synthesis in the pre-
synaptic neuron (axon). Psychoactive drugs operate by temporarily affecting a person's
neurochemistry, which in turn causes changes in a person's mood, cognition, perception and behaviour.
There are many ways in which psychoactive drugs can affect the brain. Each drug has a specific
action on one or more neurotransmitter or neuroreceptor in the brain. Drugs that increase
activity in particular neurotransmitter systems are called agonists. They act by increasing the
synthesis of one or more neurotransmitters or reducing its reuptake from the synapses. Drugs that
reduce neurotransmitter activity are called antagonists, and operate by interfering with synthesis or
blocking postsynaptic receptors so that neurotransmitters cannot bind to them.

Exposure to a psychoactive substance can cause changes in the structure and functioning of
neurons, as the nervous system tries to re-establish the homeostasis disrupted by the presence of
the drug. Exposure to antagonists for a particular neurotransmitter increases the number of
receptors for that neurotransmitter, and the receptors themselves become more sensitive. This is
called sensitization. Conversely, overstimulation of receptors for a particular neurotransmitter
causes a decrease in both number and sensitivity of these receptors, a process called desensitization
or tolerance. Sensitization and desensitization are more likely to occur with long-term exposure,

although they may occur after only a single exposure. These processes are thought to underlie


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Reflect: Why in you opininion are so many people abusing psychoactive drugs? What measures can you as a
counselor put in place to minimize the rampart drug abuse especially among the youth?


Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness. It is a mental state usually induced by a procedure
known as a hypnotic induction, which is commonly composed of a long series of preliminary
instructions and suggestions. Hypnotic suggestions may be delivered by a hypnotist in the presence
of the subject, or may be self-administered ("self-suggestion" or "autosuggestion"). Contemporary
research suggests that it is actually a wakeful state of focused attention and heightened
suggestibility with diminished peripheral awareness contrary to the previous belief that it was a
state of unconsciousness. The earliest definition of hypnosis was given by Braid, who coined the
term "hypnotism" and defined as: .a peculiar condition of the nervous system, induced by a fixed and
abstracted attention of the mental and visual eye, on one object, not of an exciting nature.” Braid
elaborated upon this definition in as follows:….. “the real origin and essence of the hypnotic
condition, is the induction of a habit of abstraction or mental concentration, in which, as in
reverie or spontaneous abstraction, the powers of the mind are so much engrossed with a single
idea or train of thought, such that it renders the individual unconscious of, or indifferently
conscious to, all other ideas, impressions, or trains of thought. The hypnotic sleep, therefore, is the
very opposite mental and physical condition to that which precedes and accompanies common

Hypnotherapy has been applied in the following areas:

. pain management
. Weight loss
. Skin diseases
. Soothing anxious surgical patients
. Psychological therapy
. Habit control, a way to relax,
. Sports performance.
ACTIVITY . Take a break now and attempt self-hypnosis. All you need to do is to be in relaxed posture start
autosuggestion. Go on a mental journey and suggest to yourself pleasant things that are happening to
you on this journey. Come on go! Are you relaxed now? If yes, you just managed to alter your state of
. There are several other ways that consciousness can be altered. Identify them through further reading.

. Define the terms consciousness and unconsciousness
. Discuss Freud’s three levels of consciousness
. Explore fully the causes of insomnia.
. What are psychoactive drugs? How do they alter consciousness?
. Why is hypnosis an altered state of consciousness?
. Which other factors can alter an individual’s consciousness?
. Discuss the counseling implication of this topic.


Tart, Charles T. (1969). Altered states of consciousness: a book of readings. New York: Wiley.

i) Define the term cognition
ii) Discuss cognition as a social process
iii) Define the term intelligence
iv) Discuss the various theories of intelligence
v) Discuss the counseling implications of the topic

What is cognition?

Cognition is the scientific term for "the process of thought." The term cognition comes from Latin
word: cognoscere, meaning "to know", "to conceptualize" or "to recognize". It refers to a faculty for
the processing of information, applying knowledge, and changing preferences. Cognition, or
cognitive processes, can be natural or artificial, conscious or unconscious. These processes are
analyzed from different perspectives within different contexts, notably in the fields of linguistics,
anesthesia, neurology, psychology, philosophy, anthropology, systemics and computer science.
Within psychology or philosophy, the concept of cognition is closely related to abstract concepts
such as mind, reasoning, perception, intelligence, learning, and many others that describe capabilities of
the mind. In psychology and in artificial intelligence, cognition is used to refer to the mental
functions, mental processes (thoughts) and states of intelligent entities (humans, human
organizations, highly autonomous machines).

The sort of mental processes described as cognitive are largely influenced by research which has
successfully used this paradigm in the past, starting with Thomas Aquinas, who divided the study
of behaviour into two broad categories: cognitive (how we know the world), and affect (feelings and
emotions). Consequently, this description tends to apply to processes such as memory, association,
concept formation, language, attention, perception, action, problem solving and mental imagery.
Research also includes one's awareness of strategies and methods of cognition, known as

Cognition in Psychology

Cognitive psychology is a sub-discipline of psychology exploring internal mental processes. It accepts
the use of the scientific method, and generally rejects introspection as a valid method of
investigation. It explicitly acknowledges the existence of internal mental states (such as belief, desire
and motivation). Cognitive neuroscience has provided evidence of a relationship between certain
physiological brain states and mental states thus supporting the central assumption of cognitive
psychology. Ulric Neisser coined the term "cognitive psychology" in his book Cognitive Psychology,
published in 1965. In this book he defines the term "cognition" as:

.all processes by which the sensory input is transformed, reduced, elaborated, stored, recovered, and used. It is
concerned with these processes even when they operate in the absence of relevant stimulation, as in images and

It is apparent from the above definition that cognition is involved in everything a human being
might possibly do; that every psychological phenomenon is a cognitive phenomenon. This reality is
very important for counseling practitioners.
ACTITIVITY Reflect: Are you in touch with your cognitions (thoughts, perceptions and abstractions)? It is important to
know if your flow of thought is positive or negative as this will impact your life. How can the knowledge of
cognition assist you to help your clients?

Cognition as social process

It has been observed that language acquisition in human children fails to emerge unless the
children are exposed to language. Thus, language acquisition is an example of an emergent
behaviour. In this case, the individual is made up of a set of mechanisms "expecting" such input
from the social world. Education has the explicit task in society of developing child cognition;
choices are made regarding the environment and permitted action that lead to a formed
experience. In a large systemic perspective, cognition is considered closely related to the social and
human organization functioning and constrains. Managerial decision making processes can be
erroneous in politics, economy and industry due to socio-cognitive factors.



Intelligence derives from the Latin verb intelligere; meaning, "understanding." Intelligence is an
umbrella term describing a property of the mind including related abilities, such as the capacities
for abstract thought, understanding, communication, reasoning, learning, learning from past
experiences, planning, and problem solving. Theories of intelligence are two-fold: (i) the .single
intelligence. based upon the unilinear construct of .general intelligence., and (ii) the construct of
multiple intelligences. Influenced by his cousin Charles Darwin, Francis Galton was the first scientist
to propose a theory of general intelligence; that intelligence is a true, biologically-based mental
faculty that can be studied by measuring a person‘s reaction times to cognitive tasks.
What is Intelligence?

Intelligence is an ill-defined, difficult to quantify concept hence is advisable to gather various
perspectives from different scholars and researchers in an attempt to decipher the concept. Below
we explore various viewpoints regarding the nature of intelligence.

Mainstream Science on Intelligence, (1994) definition

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According to Mainstream Science on Intelligence (1994), an editorial statement by fifty-two
researchers, intelligence is .a very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the
ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly
and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking
smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings —
"catching on," "making sense" of things, or "figuring out" what to do.

Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns report, (1995)

According to .Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns,. (1995), (a report published by the Board of
Scientific Affairs of the American Psychological Association), Individuals differ from one another in
their ability to understand complex ideas, to adapt effectively to the environment, to learn from
experience, to engage in various forms of reasoning, to overcome obstacles by taking thought.
Although these individual differences can be substantial, they are never entirely consistent: a given
person‘s intellectual performance will vary on different occasions, in different domains, as judged
by different criteria. Concepts of "intelligence" are attempts to clarify and organize this complex set
of phenomena. Although considerable clarity has been achieved in some areas, no such
conceptualization has yet answered all the important questions, and none commands universal

Definitions by other researchers and scholars



Alfred Binet

Judgment, otherwise called "good sense," "practical sense," "initiative," the
faculty of adapting one's self to circumstances . . . auto-critique.

David Wechsler

The aggregate or global capacity of the individual to act purposefully, to
think rationally, and to deal effectively with his environment.

Cyril Burt

Innate general cognitive ability.

Howard Gardner

To my mind, a human intellectual competence must entail a set of skills of
problem solving — enabling the individual to resolve genuine problems or
difficulties that he or she encounters and, when appropriate, to create an
effective product — and must also entail the potential for finding or creating
problems — and thereby laying the groundwork for the acquisition of new

Linda Gottfredson

The ability to deal with cognitive complexity.

Sternberg & Salter

Goal-directed adaptive behaviour.

Reuven Feuerstein

The theory of Structural Cognitive Modifiability describes intelligence as
"the unique propensity of human beings to change or modify the structure
of their cognitive functioning to adapt to the changing demands of a life


Psychometric approach

Despite the variety of concepts of intelligence, the approach to understanding intelligence with the
most supporters and published research over the longest period of time is based on psychometrics
testing. The first workable intelligence test was developed by French psychologist Alfred Binet (the
Stanford-Binet Test). He and his colleague developed a strategy whereby a mental age (MA) was
determined and divided by the child's chronological age (CA). This formula, stated as "MA/CA X
100." The average IQ is 100, because it is expected that metal age equals chronological age for
most people in the population. However, mental age can either be below or above the
chronological age in which case an individual‘s IQ will be either below or above the average score
of 100. Other intelligence quotient (IQ) tests include Raven's Progressive Matrices, the Wechsler Adult
Intelligence Scale and the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children.

Theory of multiple intelligences

Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences is based on studies not only of normal children
and adults but also by studies of gifted individuals including persons who have suffered brain
damage, of experts and virtuosos, and of individuals from diverse cultures. This led Gardner to
break intelligence down into at least eight different components: logical, linguistic, spatial, musical,
kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal in 1983 and naturalist intelligences added in 1999. He argues
that psychometric tests address only linguistic and logical plus some aspects of spatial intelligence.

Triarchic theory of intelligence

Robert Sternberg proposed the Triarchic Theory of Intelligence to provide a more comprehensive
description of intellectual competence than traditional differential or cognitive theories of human
ability. The Triarchic Theory describes three fundamental aspects of intelligence. Analytic
intelligence comprises the mental processes through which intelligence is expressed. Creative
intelligence is necessary when an individual is confronted with a challenge that is nearly, but not
entirely, novel or when an individual is engaged in automatizing the performance of a task.
Practical intelligence is bound in a sociocultural milieu and involves adaptation to, selection of,
and shaping of the environment to maximize fit in the context (the concept of common sense). The
theory posits only by considering all three aspects of intelligence can the full range of intellectual
functioning be fully understood.

Theory of cognitive development

Jean Piaget was the founder of the developmental approach to the study of intelligence. According
to his theory of cognitive development, intelligence is the basic mechanism of ensuring

equilibrium in the relations between the person and the environment. This is achieved through
the actions of the developing person on the world. At any moment in development, the
environment is assimilated in the schemes of action that are already available and these schemes
are transformed or accommodated to the peculiarities of the objects of the environment, if they are
not completely appropriate. Thus, the development of intelligence is a continuous process of
assimilations and accommodations that lead to increasing expansion of the field of application of
schemes, increasing coordination between them, increasing interiorization, and increasing
abstraction. Piaget described four main periods or stages in the development towards completely
equilibrated thought and problem solving. In the sensorimotor stage (0–2 years), thought is based
on perceptions and external actions and their coordination. In the preoperational stage (3-6 years),
sensorimotor schemes are internalized and thought occurs mentally rather than externally, through
the manipulation of representations and symbols that stand for sensorimotor schemes and objects.

At the beginning, however, mental schemes are not coordinated. As a result, systematic logical
reasoning is not possible (that, for example, A = C, if A = B and B = C). When mental schemes are
coordinated, thinking enters the concrete operational stages (6-11 years). In this period, thinking is
logical, but limited to the concrete aspects of the world. That is, children can grasp several
important aspects of the world, such as the conservation of number, matter, length, weight,
volume, etc. despite external transformation. Gradually, concrete operational schemes are
coordinated with each other and cognitive development enters the final formal operational stage
(12++). In this period reality is subsumed to possibilities and reasoning becomes formal. As a
result, abstract scientific concepts such as the concept of inertia, energy, algebra, and
proportionality can be grasped and scientific experiments can be designed. All in all, for Piaget
intelligence is not the same at different ages. It changes qualitatively, thereby allowing access to
different levels of organization of the world.

 Theory of Emotional Intelligence

The concept of emotional intelligence was developed by Daniel Goleman and several other
researchers. According to them, emotional intelligence is "important" as traditionally proposed
components of intelligence. These theories grew from observations of human development and of
brain injury victims who demonstrate an acute loss of a particular cognitive function — e.g. the
ability to think numerically, or the ability to understand written language — without showing any
loss in other cognitive areas. Researchers believe that emotional intelligence is a composite of
general intelligence and agreeableness. An emotionally intelligent person would score higher than
average in both dimensions, and vice versa. Moreover, an emotionally intelligent person cannot
score high on only one of the two traits. For example, an individual with low general mental ability
and high agreeableness would be impaired in his ability to produce emotionally intelligent
behaviour despite his intentions, while an individual with high general mental ability and low
agreeableness would be perfectly capable of being emotionally intelligent, but not inclined to do

PASS Theory

PASS theory has been offered as an alternative to general intelligence, and is based on a
description of neuropsychological processes. These authors suggested that a unidimensional model
with just intelligence fails to assist researchers and clinicians who study learning disabilities,
disorders of attention, mental retardation, and interventions designed for special populations who
face those challenges. The PASS model covers four kinds of competencies that are associated with
areas of the brain. (1) The planning processes involve decision making, problem solving, and performing
activities and requires goal setting and self-monitoring. (2) The attention/arousal component involves
selectively attending to a particular stimulus, ignoring distractions, and maintaining vigilance. (3)
Simultaneous processing involves the integration of stimuli into a group and requires the observation of
relationships. (4) Successive processing involves the integration of stimuli into serial order. The planning
and attention/arousal components come from structures located in the frontal lobe, and the simultaneous and
successive processes come from structures located in the posterior region of the cortex.


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Scientists have also attempted to investigate animal intelligence, or more broadly, animal
cognition. These researchers are interested in studying both mental ability in a particular species,
and comparing abilities between species. They study various measures of problem solving, as well
as mathematical and language abilities. Nonhuman animals particularly noted and studied for
their intelligence include chimpanzees, and other great apes, dolphins, elephants and to some
extent parrots and ravens. It has been projected that plants should also be classified as being
intelligent based on their ability to sense the environment and adjust their morphology, physiology
and phenotype accordingly. (Do you agree with this projection? Why?)


Artificial intelligence (or AI) is both the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer
science which aims to create it, through "the study and design of intelligent agents" or "rational
agents", where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions
which maximize its chances of success. Achievements in artificial intelligence include constrained
and well-defined problems such as games, crossword-solving and optical character recognition.
General intelligence or strong AI has not yet been achieved and is a long-term goal of AI research.
Among the traits that researchers hope machines will exhibit are reasoning, knowledge, planning,
learning, communication, perception, and the ability to move and manipulate objects.


. Environmental Factors

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Environmental factors play a role in determining IQ. Proper childhood nutrition is critical for
cognitive development hence malnutrition can lower IQ. For example, iodine deficiency causes a
fall, in average, of 12 IQ points. It is expected that average IQ in third world countries will
increase dramatically if the deficiencies of iodine and other micronutrients are eradicated. Studies
also establish a relationship between IQ and breastfeeding . The prenatal environment will also
affect the IQ of the child if it is unhealthy; for example where the mother may be infected with
diseases that can be transmitted to the developing foetus, or may be abusing psychoactive drugs

like alcohol, cannabis among others. Recent studies have shown that training in using one's
working memory may increase IQ of an individual. The environment is extended to the postnatal
environment including family upbringing, learning and training, exposure and culture.

. Genetic factors

Some studies in the developed world have shown that inherited personality traits cause non-related
children raised in the same family ("adoptive siblings") to be as different as children raised in
different families. IQ is one of the inherited personality trait. Heritability in the range of 0.4 to
0.8 has been established in studies trying to establish the relationship between heredity and
intelligence. This implies that IQ is "substantially" heritable, that is, some substantial part of the
differences in intelligence within a population is caused at least in part by genes. Heritability
measures in infancy are as low as 20%, around 40% in middle childhood, and as high as 80% in

Relationship between heredity and environmental factors

Heredity and environmental factors cannot be studied in isolation in relation to intelligence and
other personality factors. It is thus important to consider the following interrelationship between
the two factors in relation to the interpretation of an individual‘s intelligence.

. A high heritability does not mean that the environment has no effect on the development
of a trait, or that learning is not involved. Vocabulary size, for example, is very substantially
heritable (and highly correlated with general intelligence) although every word in an individual's
vocabulary is learned. In a society in which plenty of words are available in everyone's
environment, especially for individuals who are motivated to seek them out, the number of
words that individuals actually learn depends to a considerable extent on their genetic
. Something that is heritable is not necessarily unchangeable. Heritable traits can depend on
learning, and they may be subject to other environmental effects as well. For example, an
impoverished or suppressive environment could fail to support the development of a trait,

and hence restrict an individual intellectual development. This could explain the situation
in the developing countries. Another example is Phenylketonuria (a congenital metabolic
disorder) which previously caused mental retardation for everyone who had this genetic
disorder. Today, this can be prevented by following a modified diet.
. On the other hand, there can be effective environmental changes that do not change
heritability at all. If the environment relevant to a given trait improves in a way that affects
all members of the population equally, the mean value of the trait will rise without any
change in its heritability , because the differences among individuals in the population will
stay the same. This has evidently happened for height: the heritability of height is high, but
average heights continue to increase.

ACTIVITY. Reflect: Both cognition and intelligence have a significant implication for counseling practice. We
cannot see or hear, or taste hem…... but we can see their results …..Sometimes. Do you consider
yourself as intelligent? Why? Take time to explore the two concepts and their implication for

. Define the terms cognition and intelligence
. Explore the theories of intelligence
. Discuss the key factors influencing intelligence and how they are interrelated
. Discuss the counseling implications of this topic.
Further reading

Bock G. (2000). The Nature of Intelligence. Novartis Foundation Symposium 233. Chichester:

Lycan, W.G., (ed.). (1999). Mind and Cognition: An Anthology, 2nd Edition. Malden, Mass:
Blackwell Publishers, Inc.
i) Define the term learning
ii) Define the term classical conditioning
iii) Define the term operant conditioning
iv) Discuss the basic terms in classical conditioning
v) Discuss the basic terms in operant conditioning
vi) Discuss the practical application of classical and operant conditioning theories of learning.

What is learning?

Learning is a relatively permanent behaviour brought about experience (education & training) and
maturation (personal development). It entails acquiring new knowledge, behaviours, skills, values,
preferences or understanding, and may involve synthesizing different types of information. It may
be goal-oriented and may be aided by motivation. Learning may occur consciously or without
unconsciously. There is evidence for human behavioural learning prenatally, (as early as 32 weeks),
indicating that the central nervous system is sufficiently developed and primed for learning and
memory to occur very early on in development.


There are many theories of learning. In this topic, we shall explore three key theories namely:
classical conditioning; operant conditioning and social learning theories.


What is classical conditioning?

One of the best-known aspects of behavioural learning theory is classical conditioning. This theory
is associated with Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1849 – 1936), a Russian physiologist, psychologist, and
physician. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1904 for research pertaining to the
digestive system. Pavlov is widely known for first describing the phenomenon of classical

Classical conditioning is a learning process in which an association is made between a previously neutral
stimulus and a stimulus that naturally evokes a response. For example, in Pavlov‘s classic experiment
with dogs, the smell of food was the naturally occurring stimulus that was paired with the
previously neutral ringing of the bell. Once an association had been made between the two, the
sound of the bell alone could lead to a response. Classical conditioning therefore occurs through
associations between an environmental stimulus and a naturally occurring stimulus. In order to
understand how classical conditioning works, it is important to be familiar with the following basic
terms of the conditioning process.


. Neutral stimulus

Neutral stimulus is a stimulus which initially produces no specific response other than focusing
attention. In classical conditioning, when used together with an unconditioned stimulus, the
neutral stimulus is the one that later becomes a conditioned stimulus. For example the sound of a
bell summoning people for lunch.

. The Unconditioned Stimulus

The unconditioned stimulus is one that unconditionally, naturally, and automatically triggers a
response. For example, when you smell one of your favorite foods, you may immediately feel very
hungry. In this example, the smell of the food is the unconditioned stimulus.

. The Unconditioned Response

The unconditioned response is the unlearned response that occurs naturally in response to the
unconditioned stimulus. In our example, the feeling of hunger in response to the smell of food is
the unconditioned response.

. The Conditioned Stimulus

The conditioned stimulus is previously neutral stimulus that, after becoming associated with the
unconditioned stimulus, eventually comes to trigger a conditioned response. In our earlier
example, suppose that when you smelled your favorite food, you also heard the sound of a whistle.
While the whistle is unrelated to the smell of the food, if the sound of the whistle was paired
multiple times with the smell, the sound would eventually trigger the conditioned response. In this
case, the sound of the whistle is the conditioned stimulus.

. The Conditioned Response
The conditioned response is the learned response to the previously neutral stimulus. In our
example, the conditioned response would be feeling hungry when you heard the sound of the
lunch bell.

. Acquisition

Acquisition is the initial stage of learning when a response is first established and gradually
strengthened. For example, if you are trying to teach a dog to shake in response to a verbal
command, you can say the response has been acquired as soon as the dog shakes in response to
only the verbal command. Once the response has been acquired, you can gradually reinforce the
shake response to make sure the behavior is well learned.

. Extinction

Extinction occurs when the occurrences of a conditioned response decrease or disappear. In
classical conditioning, this happens when a conditioned stimulus is no longer paired with an
unconditioned stimulus. For example, if the smell of food (the unconditioned stimulus) had been
paired with the sound of a whistle (the conditioned stimulus), it would eventually come to evoke the
conditioned response of hunger. However, if the unconditioned stimulus (the smell of food) were no
longer paired with the conditioned stimulus (the bell), eventually the conditioned response
(hunger) would disappear.

. Spontaneous Recovery

Spontaneous Recovery is the reappearance of the conditioned response after a rest period or period
of lessened response. If the conditioned stimulus and unconditioned stimulus are no longer
associated, extinction will occur very rapidly after a spontaneous recovery.
. Stimulus Generalization
Stimulus Generalization is the tendency for the conditioned stimulus to evoke similar responses
after the response has been conditioned. For example, if a rat has been conditioned to fear a
stuffed white rabbit, it will exhibit fear of objects similar to the conditioned stimulus.

. Stimulus Discrimination

Discrimination is the ability to differentiate between a conditioned stimulus and other stimuli that
have not been paired with an unconditioned stimulus. For example, if a bell tone were the
conditioned stimulus, discrimination would involve being able to tell the difference between the
bell tone and other similar sounds.


The typical procedure for inducing classical conditioning involves presentations of a neutral
stimulus along with a stimulus of some significance. The neutral stimulus could be any event that
does not result in an overt behavioural response from the organism under investigation. Pavlov
referred to this as a conditioned stimulus (CS). Conversely, presentation of the significant stimulus
necessarily evokes an innate, often reflexive, response. Pavlov called these the unconditioned stimulus
(US) and unconditioned response (UR), respectively. If the CS and the US are repeatedly paired,
eventually the two stimuli become associated and the organism begins to produce a behavioural
response to the Conditioned Stimulus (CR). Pavlov called this the conditioned response (CR).

The first and most famous example of classical conditioning involved the salivary conditioning of
Pavlov's dogs. During his research on the physiology of digestion in dogs, Pavlov noticed that,
rather than simply salivating in the presence of meat powder (an innate response to food that he called
the unconditioned response), the dogs began to salivate in the presence of the lab technician who
normally fed them. Pavlov called these psychic secretions. From this observation he predicted that, if
a particular stimulus in the dog's surroundings were present when the dog was presented with
meat powder, then this stimulus would become associated with food and cause salivation on its
own. In his initial experiment, Pavlov used a bell to call the dogs to their food and, after a few
repetitions, the dogs started to salivate in response to the bell.

In this experiment, the meat powder is the Unconditioned Stimulus (naturally causing salivation
without having been learned); the bell is the Neutral Stimulus (initially having no effect on the expected
response of salivation). However when the bell produces the effect of salivation in the dog, classical
conditioning has occurred hence this bell is referred to as Conditioned Stimulus which is evoking
Conditioned Response of salivation at this stage.

John B. Watson, founder of behaviourism, demonstrated classical conditioning empirically
through experimentation using the Little Albert experiment in which a child ("Albert") was
presented with a white rat (CS). After a control period in which the child reacted normally to the
presence of the rat, the experimenters paired the presence of the rat with a loud, jarring noise
caused by clanging two pipes together behind the child's head (US). As the trials progressed, the
child began showing signs of distress at the sight of the rat, even when unaccompanied by the
frightening noise. Furthermore, the child demonstrated stimulus generalization associations, and
showed distress when presented with any white, furry object—even such things as a rabbit, dog, a
fur coat, and a Santa Claus mask with hair.


There are numerous real-world applications for classical conditioning. When we salivate at the
sight of our favourite food café, we are classically conditioned. Many dog trainers use classical
conditioning techniques to help people train their pets. Teachers are able to apply classical
conditioning in the class by creating a positive classroom environment to help students overcome
anxiety or fear. Pairing an anxiety-provoking situation, such as performing in front of a group, with
pleasant surroundings helps the student learn new associations. Instead of feeling anxious and
tense in these situations, the child will learn to stay relaxed and calm. Many anxiety disorders are
as a result of classical conditioning. Counselors therefore find classical conditioning techniques
very useful in the treatment of phobias or anxiety problems. Therapies associated with classical
conditioning are aversion therapy, flooding and systematic desensitization, which are designed to
cause either aversive (negative) feelings towards something, or to reduce unwanted fear and



The scientific study of operant conditioning dates from the beginning of the twentieth century
with the work of Edward L. Thorndike in the U.S. and C. Lloyd Morgan in the U.K. Graduate
student Thorndike‘s early experimental work, looking at cats escaping from puzzle boxes in
William James‘ basement at Harvard, led to his famous “Law of Effect"

Of several responses made to the same situation, those which are accompanied or closely followed by
satisfaction to the animal…will, other things being equal, be more firmly connected with the situation…; those
which are accompanied or closely followed by discomfort…will have their connections with the situation
weakened…The greater the satisfaction or discomfort, the greater the strengthening or weakening of the bond.

What is operant conditioning?

Operant conditioning is the use of behaviour‘s antecedent and/or its consequence to influence
the occurrence and form of behaviour. Operant conditioning deals with the modification of
"voluntary behaviour" or operant behaviour. Operant behaviour "operates" on the environment
and is maintained by its consequences. Operant conditioning was coined by behaviourist B.F.
Skinner in 1953. Burrhus Frederic Skinner (1904 –1990) was an American psychologist, author,
inventor, social philosopher, and poet. He was the Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology at Harvard
University from 1958 until his retirement in 1974. This explains why you may occasionally hear it
referred to as Skinnerian conditioning. As a behaviorist, Skinner believed that internal thoughts and
motivations could not be used to explain behaviour. Instead, he suggested, we should look only at
the external, observable causes of human behaviour.

Operant conditioning (sometimes referred to as instrumental conditioning) is a method of learning that occurs
through rewards and punishments for behaviour. Through operant conditioning, an association is
made between a behaviour and a consequence for that behaviour. Behaviours that are rewarded
are likely to be repeated while behaviours that are punished are not likely to be repeated in future.
Skinner used the term operant to refer to any "active behaviour that operates upon the environment to
generate consequences." Consequences can either be positive or negative. The theory explains how we
acquire a wide range of learned behaviours that we exhibit each and every day of our lives.



Reinforcement is a term in operant conditioning and behaviour analysis for the delivery of a
stimulus, (immediately or shortly) after a response, that results in an increase in the future rate or
probability of that response.

A reinforcer

A reinforcer is any event that strengthens or increases the behaviour it follows. There are
different types of reinforces:
i) Primary reinforcers

A primary reinforcer, sometimes called an unconditioned reinforcer, is a stimulus that does not
require pairing to function as a reinforcer and most likely has obtained this function through the
evolution and its role in species' survival. Examples of primary reinforcers include sleep, food, air,
water, and sex. Other primary reinforcers, such as certain drugs, may mimic the effects of other
primary reinforcers. While these primary reinforcers are fairly stable through life and across
individuals, the reinforcing value of different primary reinforcers varies due to multiple factors
(e.g., genetics, experience). Thus, one person may prefer one type of food while another abhors it.
Or one person may eat lots of food while another eats very little. So even though food is a primary
reinforcer for both individuals, the value of food as a reinforcer differs between them.
ii) Secondary reinforcers

A secondary reinforcer, sometimes called a conditioned reinforcer, is a stimulus or situation that has
acquired its function as a reinforcer after pairing with a stimulus that functions as a reinforcer.
This stimulus may be a primary reinforcer or another conditioned reinforcer (such as money). An
example of a secondary reinforcer would be the sound from a clicker, as used in clicker training.
The sound of the clicker has been associated with praise or treats, and subsequently, the sound of
the clicker may function as a reinforcer. As with primary reinforcers, an organism can experience
satiation and deprivation with secondary reinforcers.

iii) Positive reinforcers

These are favorable events or outcomes that are presented after the behaviour. In
situations that reflect positive reinforcement, a response or behaviour is strengthened
by the addition of something positive, (e.g. praise or a direct reward.)
iv) Negative reinforcers

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Involves the removal of an unfavorable events or outcomes after the display of a
behaviuor. In these situations, a response is strengthened by the removal of something
considered unpleasant. For example the removal of headache (an unfavorable outcome)
after taking a painkiller (a negative reinforcer). In the Skinner box experiment, negative
reinforcement can be a loud noise continuously sounding inside the rat's cage until it
engages in the target behaviour, such as pressing a lever, upon which the loud noise is
removed. In both of these cases of reinforcement, the behaviour increases.

v) Noncontingent reinforcement

Refers to delivery of reinforcing stimuli regardless of the organism's (untypical)
behaviour. The idea is that the target behaviour decreases because it is no longer
necessary to receive the reinforcement. This typically entails time-based delivery of
stimuli identified as maintaining aberrant behaviour, which serves to decrease the rate
of the target behaviour.


Punishment is the presentation of an adverse or painful event or outcome that causes a decrease
in the behaviour it follows. There are two kinds of punishment:

i) Positive punishment, (sometimes referred to as punishment by application), involves the
presentation of an unfavorable event or outcome in order to weaken the response it
follows. Occurs when a behaviour (response) is followed by a stimulus, such as
introducing a shock or loud noise, resulting in a decrease in that behaviour or spanking
a child after a certain undesirable behaviour like stealing.
ii) Negative punishment, (also known as punishment by removal) which occurs when an
favourable event or outcome is removed after a behaviour occurs for example denying a
child access to his/her favourite T.V programme after an undesirable behaviour or
taking away a child's toy following an undesired behaviour. In both of these cases of
punishment, the behaviour decreases.

Extinction is the lack of any consequence following a behaviour. When a behaviour is
inconsequential, producing neither favorable nor unfavorable consequences, it will occur with less
frequency. When a previously reinforced behaviour is no longer reinforced with either positive or
negative reinforcement, it leads to a decline in the response.

Avoidance conditioning

Occurs when a behaviour prevents an aversive stimulus from starting or being applied. For
example automobile drivers fill their fuel tanks while on long journeys to avoid stalling in the
middle of the road.

Escape conditioning

Occurs when behaviour removes an aversive stimulus that has already started. Escape conditioning
is automatic and occurs very fast. For example withdrawing your fingers from a hot stove.


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Skinner illustrated the idea of operant conditioning through experiments involving animals. By
putting an animal in a small cage, Skinner could affect the animal's behaviour by forcing it to take
a certain action in to receive a reward such as food pellet. The action performed would be a
conditioned response enacted for the reward which would be the reinforcer of the animal‘s
behaviour. For example, Skinner could design a box where a pigeon had to press a button in order
to receive a food pellet. Skinner found that eventually the pigeon would by chance stumble upon
the fact that pushing the button elicited a food pellet. The pigeon would become conditioned to
press the button in order to receive the food pellet…. And the frequency of conditioned response
(pushing the button) would increase.


Punishment is one consequence aimed at shaping behaviour. For punishment to be the following
guidelines should be observed.

i) The punishment must be punishing. True punishment decreases the response it follows.
Sometimes adults make assumptions about what consequences will be punishment, but
sometimes a common punishment might be reinforcing (e.g., the child for whom time-out is a
pleasure; the kid who hates school suspended for nonattendance).
ii) The punishment must be strong enough to be effective, but not overly severe.
Punishment that is too short or mild is not effective (e.g., fines are not sufficient deterrents
for many drunk drivers; threat of getting a bad grade is not sufficient to keep many
students from not studying). Punishment that is overly severe may have undesirable side
effects, such as resentment, hostility, or escape behavior, and may reappear at its original
level once the punisher has left the scene.
iii) Punishment should be threatened once before it is administered. People should be
warned ahead of time, since punishment is most likely to deter behavior when an
individual knows that the behavior will lead to punishment, what that punishment will be,
and that the punishment is, in fact, likely to occur as promised.
iv) The behavior to be punished should be described in clear, concrete terms. Students
should understand exactly which responses are unacceptable. (e.g., students told
"disruption of the class is unacceptable" might not actually know what "disruption" means,
exactly, and if "getting out of your seat without permission" is included, the student needs
to know that).
v) Punishment should be consistent. Punishment is much more effective when it is a
consistent consequence of a particular response. When a response is punished only
occasionally, the response disappears slowly, if at all.
vi) Whenever possible, the environment should be modified so that the misbehaviour is less
likely to occur. The temptation to engage in a misbehaviour should be reduced or, if
possible, eliminated. (e.g., people on diets should not stock their kitchens with junk food;
cheating on exams can be reduced by having students sit apart from one another or by
administering two different forms of the exam)
vii) Desirable alternative behaviors should be taught and reinforced. Punishment is more
effective combined with reinforcement of appropriate behavior. A misbehavior is more
likely to be permanently suppressed when alternative behaviors are reinforced, especially
when those behaviors are incompatible with the punished behavior. (e.g., if punishing
playground aggression, reinforce appropriate social behavior)
viii) Whenever possible, punishment should immediately follow the inappropriate
behaviour. Effectiveness of punishment decreases dramatically when delayed, although if
punishment cannot follow the misbehavior, the punished behavior must be clearly
ix) An explanation of why the behavior is unacceptable should be given. Punishment is
more effective when reasons why certain behaviors cannot be tolerated are given. (e.g.,
"When you talk without permission and when you get out of your seat during quiet reading
time, you keep other children from getting their work done.") The advantages of this are
that providing the reasoning for the punishment lessens the critical factor of immediacy in
the punishment, increases the likelihood that similar misbehaviors are also suppressed (the
effect of the punishment generalizes to other behaviors), increases likelihood that the
misbehavior will be suppressed even when the punisher is absent, and helps with older
children's expectation that they be told why they cannot engage in certain behaviors and
are less likely to be defiant when reasons are provided.
x) Some punishments that are particularly ineffective and should be avoided. Not generally
effective and not recommended are physical punishment (especially with older children),
psychological punishment, extra classwork, and suspension from school. Alternate to

suspension is in-house suspension (in-house time-out), which does not reward misbehaving
students by removing them from the school environment but prevents interacting with
peers that most students find rewarding.
xi) Punishment should be used sparingly. An effective punishment is one that does not need
to be administered very often to be effective. When punishment is a frequent occurrence,
the numerous disadvantages of punishment are likely to appear (i.e., anger, resentment,
avoidance, etc.)
Punishment that inflicts physical pain on a person can have several negative effects. Write down as many
effects as you can……do further reading to get an exhaustive list. As an aspiring counselor, do you support the
abolition of corporal punishment in schools? If yes why? If no why?


A schedule of reinforcement is the protocol for determining when responses or behaviours will be
reinforced. These include:

. Fixed ratio (FR) schedules
. Continuous ratio (CRF) schedules
. Continuous ratio (CRF) schedules
. Fixed interval (FI) schedules
. Variable ratio (VR) schedules

Fixed ratio (FR) schedules…. deliver reinforcement after every nth response Examples: rat
reinforced with food after each 5 bar-presses in a Skinner box; Real-world example: Used car dealer gets a
$1000 bonus for each 10 cars sold on the lot. Continuous ratio (CRF) schedules…. are a special form
of a fixed ratio. In a continuous ratio schedule, reinforcement follows each and every response,
Examples; each time a rat presses a bar it gets a pellet of food; Real world example: each time a dog
defecates outside its owner gives it a treat. Fixed interval (FI) schedules deliver reinforcement for the
first response after a fixed length of time since the last reinforcement, while premature responses
are not reinforced. Examples: rat is reinforced for the first bar press after 15 seconds passes since the last
reinforcement; Real world example: calling a radio station is reinforced with a chance to win a prize, but
the person can only sign up once per day. Variable ratio (VR) schedules deliver reinforcement after a
random number of responses. Examples: on average, a rat is reinforced for each 10 bar presses.
Real world example: a roulette player betting on specific numbers will win on average once every 37 or 38
tries, depending on whether the wheel has a 00 slot. Variable Time (VT) provides reinforcement at an
average variable time since last reinforcement, regardless of whether the subject has responded or


Shaping involves reinforcing successive, increasingly accurate approximations of a response desired
by a trainer. In training a rat to press a lever, for example, simply turning toward the lever is
reinforced at first. Then, only turning and stepping toward it is reinforced. As training progresses,
the response reinforced becomes progressively more like the desired behavior.


Chaining involves linking discrete behaviours together in a series, such that each result of each
behaviour is both the reinforcement (or consequence) for the previous behavior, and the stimuli
(or antecedent) for the next behavior. There are many ways to teach chaining, such as forward
chaining (starting from the first behavior in the chain), backwards chaining (starting from the last
behavior) and total task chaining (in which the entire behavior is taught from beginning to end,
rather than as a series of steps). An example is opening a locked door. First the key is inserted, and
then turned, then the door opened. Forward chaining would teach the subject first to insert the
key. Once that task is mastered, they are told to insert the key, and taught to turn it. Once that
task is mastered, they are told to perform the first two, and then taught to open the door.
Backwards chaining would involve the teacher first inserting and turning the key, and the subject
is taught to open the door. Once that is learned, the teacher inserts the key, and the subject is
taught to turn it, then opens the door as the next step. Finally, the subject is taught to insert the
key, and they turn and open the door. Once the first step is mastered, the entire task has been
taught. Total task chaining would involve teaching the entire task as a single series, prompting
through all steps. Prompts are faded (reduced) at each step as they are mastered.


When using consequences to modify a response, the effectiveness of a consequence can be
increased or decreased by various factors. These factors can apply to either reinforcing or
punishing consequences.

i) Satiation/Deprivation
The effectiveness of a consequence will be reduced if the individual's "appetite" for that source of
stimulation has been satisfied. Inversely, the effectiveness of a consequence will increase as the
individual becomes deprived of that stimulus. If someone is not hungry, food will not be an
effective reinforcer for behaviour. Satiation is generally only a potential problem with primary
reinforcers, those that do not need to be learned such as food and water.

ii) Immediacy
After a response, how immediately a consequence is then felt determines the effectiveness of the
consequence. More immediate feedback will be more effective than less immediate feedback. If
someone's license plate is caught by a traffic camera for speeding and they receive a speeding ticket
in the mail a week later, this consequence will not be very effective against speeding. But if
someone is speeding and is caught in the act by an officer who pulls them over, then their
speeding behaviour is more likely to be affected.
iii) Contingency

If a consequence does not contingently (reliably, or consistently) follow the target response, its
effectiveness upon the response is reduced. But if a consequence follows the response consistently
after successive instances, its ability to modify the response is increased. The schedule of
reinforcement, when consistent, leads to faster learning. When the schedule is variable the
learning is slower. Extinction is more difficult when learning occurs during intermittent
reinforcement and more easily extinguished when learning occurs during a highly consistent

iv) Size
This is a "cost-benefit" determinant of whether a consequence will be effective. If the size, or
amount, of the consequence is large enough to be worth the effort, the consequence will be more
effective upon the behavior. An unusually large lottery jackpot, for example, might be enough to
get someone to buy a one-dollar lottery ticket (or even buying multiple tickets). But if a lottery
jackpot is small, the same person might not feel it to be worth the effort of driving out and finding
a place to buy a ticket. In this example, it's also useful to note that "effort" is a punishing

consequence. How these opposing expected consequences (reinforcing and punishing) balance out
will determine whether the behavior is performed or not.


We can find examples of operant conditioning at work all around us. Operant conditioning has
been widely applied in clinical settings (i.e., behavior modification) as well as teaching (i.e., classroom
management) and instructional development (e.g., programmed instruction). An everyday illustration
of operant conditioning involves training your dog to "shake" on command. Using the operant
conditioning technique of shaping, you speak the command to "shake" (the discriminative stimulus)
and then wait until your dog moves one of his forepaws a bit (operant response).

Mt Kenya University
Following this behaviour, you give your dog a tasty treat (positive reinforcer). After demanding ever
closer approximations to shaking your hand, your dog finally comes to perform the desired
response to the verbal command "shake."
Our knowledge about operant conditioning has also greatly influenced educational practices.
Children at all ages exhibit behaviour. Teachers and parents are, by definition, behaviour
modifiers. If a child is behaviorally the same at the end of the academic year, you will not have
done your job as a teacher; children are supposed to learn (i.e., produce relatively permanent change in
behaviour or behaviour potential) as a result of the experiences they have in the school or classroom
Behavioral studies in classroom settings have clearly established ways to organize and arrange the
physical classroom to facilitate both academic and social behavior. Instruction itself has also been
the focus of numerous studies, and has resulted in a variety of teaching models for educators at all
levels. Programmed instruction is only one such model. Programmed instruction requires that
learning be done in small steps, with the learner being an active participant (rather than passive),
and that immediate corrective feedback is provided at each step.

. Learning has been defined as a relatively permanent change in behaviour resulting from
experience. Two theories of learning namely classical conditioning theory and operant
conditioning theory of learning have been explored. These two theories have greatly
influenced learning. Classical conditioning is associative learning while operant
conditioning is learning based on consequences.
. Key terms in both theories have been explored. Finally the practical applicability of each
theory has been highlighted. We learn that we can use the two theories to influence
behaviour positively.

. What is learning?
. Distinguish classical conditioning and operant conditioning theories of learning.
. Discuss the key concepts in classical conditioning and operant conditioning theories of learning.
. Discuss the various schedules of reinforcement as exposed in operant conditioning theory.
. Discuss four factors that alter the effectiveness of consequences as highlighted in the operant
conditioning theory of learning.
. Distinguish behaviour chaining and behaviour shaping with the help of relevant examples.
. Explore the guidelines for effective use of punishment.
. Explore practical application of classical and operant theories of learning.
. Why is the knowledge of learning theories important to you as a counsellor?
Further reading

Neuringer, A. (2002). Operant variability: Evidence, functions, and theory.

Pavlov, I.P. (1927). Conditioned Reflexes: An Investigation of the Physiological Activity of the Cerebral
Cortex. London: Oxford University Press.



By the end of this topic the learner should be able to:

i) Define the term consciousness
ii) Discuss the seven states of consciousness
iii) Discuss the counseling implication of the topic

Memory is a topic that has fascinated people for thousands of years. Philosophical questions
regarding how people acquire knowledge about their world spurred the study of memory and
learning. Recall or retrieval is a major part of the study of memory and often comes into play in all

Memory is the process by which information is acquired, stored in the brain and later retrieved. It
can also be defined as the retention of information overtime through encoding, storage and
retrieval. Human memory, like memory in a computer, allows us to store information for later use.
Without memory, experiences would leave no mark on our behaviours. We would be unable to
retain information and skills acquired through experiences. In order to do this, however, both the
computer and the human need to master three processes involved in memory:

. The first is called memory encoding; this is the stage of taking information from the
outside world through our senses. This information is then transformed o r converted,
(encoded) so that it can be stored. This means transforming the data into a meaningful form
such as an association with an existing memory, an image, or a sound. We encode information
either acoustically (coded by auditory signals into strings of a recognizable sound); visually (coded
by forming a mental picture) or semantically (coded by meaning). Visual coding fades away
faster than auditory coding. We code semantically when we transform sound or visual
images into recognizable words. Encoding information semantically by meaning helps to
preserve information in memory.

. Next is the actual memory storage, which simply means retaining information in memory.
For this to take place, the computer must physically write the 1‘ and 0‘s onto the hard
drive. It is very similar for us because it means that a physiological change must occur for
the memory to be stored in the brain. Some memories never get erased from memory for
example your wedding day, your initiation day, or your first sexual experience!
. The final process is called retrieval, which means taking information out of storage by
reversing the process of encoding. In other words, returning to mind or consciousness, the
information to a form similar to what we stored so that we can use it. While some
memories are retrieved effortlessly, others will depend on availability of retrieval cues which
are associated with the original learning to jog our memory. Two types of retrieval are
recognition….identifying information after experiencing it again for example taking a
multiple choice question requires that you recognize the correct answer out of a group of
available answers and recall…which means being able to access information without being
cued for example answering a question on fill-in-a-blank test.


Sensory memory, refers to the information we receive through the senses. Our basic senses
include the sense of sight, touch, smell, taste and hearing. This memory is very brief lasting only as
much as a few seconds.

Short Term Memory (STM)…. takes over when the information in our sensory memory is
transferred to our consciousness or our awareness. This is the information that is currently
active such as reading this page, talking to a friend, or writing a paper. Short term memory can
definitely last longer than sensory memory (up to 30 seconds or so), but it still has a very limited
capacity. According to research, we can remember approximately 5 to 9 (7 +/- 2) bits of
information in our short term memory at any given time.

. If STM lasts only up to 30 seconds, how do we ever get any work done? Wouldn't we start to lose
focus or concentrate about twice every minute?

 This argument prompted researchers to look at a second phase of STM that is now referred to as
Working Memory. Working Memory is the process that takes place when we continually focus on
material for longer than STM alone will allow.

. What happens when our short term memory is full and another bit of information enters?

Displacement will occur. Displacement means that the new information will push out part of the
old information. Suddenly someone says the area code for that phone number and almost
instantly you forget the last two digits of the number. We can further sharpen our short term
memory skills, however, by mastering chunking (grouping information into units), using rehearsal
(which allows us to visualize, hear, say, or even see the information repeatedly and through different senses).


. Primacy effect

Information that occurs first is typically remembered better than information occurring later.
When given a list of words or numbers, the first word or number is usually remembered due to
rehearsing this more than other information.

. Recency effect

Often the last bit of information is remembered better because not as much time has passed;
passing of time contributes to forgetting.

. Distinctiveness

If something stands out from information around it, it is often remembered better. Any
distinctive information is easier to remember than that which is similar, usual, or mundane. This
explains why for example people are more likely to remember the most distinct name in a class
introduction session.

. Frequency effect

Rehearsal, as stated in the first example, results in better memory. Remember trying to memorize
a formula for your math class. The more you went over it, the better you knew it.

. Associations - when we associate or attach information to other information it becomes
easier to remember. Many of us use this strategy in our professions and everyday life in
the form of acronyms for example KANU, ODM etc. This explains why it is important
for a teacher to use practical examples when teaching as this helps students to create
. Reconstruction - sometimes we actually fill in the blanks in our memory. In other words,
when trying to get a complete picture in our minds, we will make up the missing parts,
often without any realization that this is occurring.


Finally, there is long term memory (LTM), which is most similar to the permanent storage of a
computer. Unlike the other two types, LTM is relatively permanent and practically unlimited in
terms of its storage capacity. It‘s been argued that we have enough space in our LTM to memorize
every phone number in the U.S. and still function normally in terms of remembering what we do
now. Obviously we don‘t use even a fraction of this storage space.

. Declarative memory (explicit)

Memories for facts, life events, and information about our environment are stored in declarative
memory. This includes semantic memory and episodic memories. Semantic memory stores factual
knowledge like the meaning of words, concepts, and our ability to do math, and it can either be
Prospective memory……. remembering information about doing something in the future or
Retrospective memory……remembering the past. Episodic memory, stores memories for events and
situations for example when your sibling was born, your first date, your driving test among other
similar episodes.

. Nondeclarative (or implicit) memory
The second subcategory is often not thought of as memory because it refers to internal, rather than
external information. When you brush your teeth, write your name, or scratch your eye, you do
this with ease because you previously stored these movements and can recall them with ease. This
is referred to as nondeclarative (or implicit) memory. These are memories we have stored due to
extensive practice, conditioning, or habits. It is memory in which behaviour is affected by brain
experience resulting to that experience being consciously recollected…. for example skills of playing
tennis, riding a bicycle and typing. Types of implicit memory include: Procedural memory
….memory for skills e.g. driving car. Priming memory: a type of implicit memory information
that people already have in storage is activated to help them remember new information better and
faster …..e.g. in filling of a crossword puzzle.


As pointed out earlier, Recall and recognition are types of retrieval. In memory, recall refers to the
retrieval of events or information from the past. Below we discuss theories and types of recall. There are
two theories of the recall process: Two-Stage Theory & Encoding Specificity Theory

. Two-Stage Theory of Recall
The Two-Stage theory states that the process of recall begins with a search and retrieval process,
and then a decision or recognition process where the correct information is chosen from what has
been retrieved. In this theory, recognition only involves the latter of these two stages, or processes,
and this is thought to account for the superiority of the recognition process over recall.

Recognition only involves one process in which error or failure may occur, while recall involves
two. However, recall has been found to be superior to recognition in some cases, such as a failure
to recognize words that can later be recalled.

. Encoding Specificity Theory
The theory of Encoding Specificity finds similarities between the process of recognition and that of
recall. The encoding specificity principle states that memory utilizes information from the memory
trace, or the situation in which it was learned, and from the environment in which it is retrieved.

Encoding specificity helps to take into account context cues because of its focus on the retrieval
environment, and it also accounts for the fact that recognition may not always be superior to
There are three main types of recall: free recall, cued recall and serial recall. Psychologists test these
forms of recall as a way to study the memory processes of humans and animals.

Free recall describes the process in which a person is given a list of items to remember and then is
tested by being asked to recall them in any order. Free recall often displays evidence of primacy
and recency effects. Primacy effects are displayed when the person recalls items presented at the
beginning of the list earlier and more often. The recency effect is when the person recalls items
presented at the end of the list earlier and more often.

Cued Recall refers to the process in which a person is given a list of items to remember and is then
tested with the use of cues. Cues act as guides to what the person is supposed to remember. In
contrast to free recall, the person is prompted to remember a certain item on the list or remember
the list in a certain order. Cued recall also plays into free recall because when cues are provided to
a person they remember items on the list that they did not originally recall without a cue. This was
explained in research by Tulving: when he gave participants associative cues to items that they did
not originally recall and thought to be lost to memory, the participant was able to recall the item.
Cued recall can also take the form of stimulus-response recall. This occurs when words, pictures,
and numbers are presented together in a pair with the intent of creating associations between the
two items. When one item of the pair is presented to a person it is expected to cue the recall of the
second item in the pair.

Serial recall refers to our ability to recall items or events in the order in which they occurred. The
ability of humans to store items in memory and recall them is important to the use of language.
Imagine recalling the different parts of a sentence, but in the wrong order. The ability to recall in
serial order has been found not only in humans, but in a number of non-human primate species
and some non-primates. Imagine mixing up the order of phonemes, or meaningful units of sound,
in a word so that .slight. becomes .style." Serial-order also helps us remember the order of events
in our lives, our autobiographical memories. Our memory of our past appears to exist on a
continuum on which more recent events are more easily remembered in order.

Serial recall in long-term memory (LTM) differs from serial recall in short-term memory (STM). To
store a sequence in LTM, the sequence is repeated over time until it is represented in memory as a
whole, rather than as a series of items. In this way, there is no need to remember the relationships
between the items and their original positions. In STM, immediate serial recall (ISR) has been
thought to result from one of two mechanisms. The first refers to ISR as a result of associations
between the items and their positions in a sequence, while the second refers to associations
between items. These associations between items are referred to as chaining, and according to
research it is an unlikely mechanism. Position-item relationships do not account for decency and
primacy effects, or the phonological similarity effect. The Primacy Model moves away from these
two assumptions, suggesting that ISR results from a gradient of activation levels where each item
has a particular level of activation that corresponds to its position.

There are seven different effects that are generally seen in serial recall studies with humans:
. List Length Effect

Performance for serial recall decreases as the length of the list or sequence increases.

. Primacy and Recency Effects
Primacy effects refer to better recall of items earlier in the sequence, while recency effects refer to
better recall of the last few items. Recency effects are seen more with auditory stimuli rather than
verbal stimuli.
. Transposition Gradients
Transposition gradients refer to the fact that recall tends to be better for item identity rather than
the order of items in a sequence. Basically, subjects tend to remember the correct items in the
wrong order.

. Item confusion errors

When an item is incorrectly recalled, there is a tendency to respond with an item that resembles
the original item in that position. When tested with verbal stimuli, the mistakes tended to be
phonological (e.g. DOG instead of FOG), while spatial stimuli tended to have spatial similarity
(e.g. spatial proximity).

. Repetition Errors
Repetition errors occur during the recall of a sequence when an item from an earlier position in
the sequence is given again in another position. This effect is fairly rare in humans.
. Fill In Effects
If an item is recalled incorrectly at an earlier position than its original place, there is a tendency for
the next item recalled to be the item that was displaced by this error. For example, if the sequence
is 'LMNOP' and recall began 'LMO', then the next item is likely to be =N‘.
. Protrusion Effects

Protrusion effects occur when an item from a previous trial is recalled in a current trial. This item
is likely to be recalled at its position from the original trial.
. Neuroanatomy of Recall

The anterior cingulate cortex, globus pallidus, thalamus, and cerebellum show higher activation
during recall than during recognition which suggests that these components of the cerebello-
frontal pathway play a role in recall processes that they do not in recognition. Although recall and
recognition are considered separate processes, it should be noted that they are both most likely
constitute components of distributed networks of brain regions.
Cerebellum highlighted in the middle


Globus Pallidus highlighted below.

According to neuroimaging data, PET studies on recall and recognition have consistently found
increases in regional cerebral blood flow (RCBF) in the following six brain regions: (i) the prefrontal
cortex, particularly on the right hemisphere; (ii) the hippocampal and parahippocampal regions of the medial
temporal lobe; (iii) the anterior cingulate cortex; (iv) the posterior midline area that includes posterior
cingulate, retrosplenial (see retrosplenial region), precuneus, and cuneus regions; (v) the inferior parietal cortex,
especially on the right hemisphere; and (vi) the cerebellum, particularly on the left.

Hippocampus highlighted below

The right prefrontal cortex has been related to retrieval attempt; the medial temporal lobes to
conscious recollection; the anterior cingulate to response selection; the posterior midline region to
imagery; the inferior parietal to awareness of space; and the cerebellum to self-initiated retrieval.

. Attention

Attention involves turning ones presence of mind to something and focusing on it. The effect of
attention on memory recall has surprising results. It seems that the only time attention largely
affects memory is during the encoding phase. During this phase, performing a parallel task can
severely impair retrieval success. This phase requires much attention to properly encode the
information at hand, and thus a distracter task does not allow proper input and reduces the
amount of information learned. The lack of proper input can then affect the accuracy of the
output. However, when looking at the effect of attention on memory retrieval, it has been found
that there are only slight inconsistent impairments. This evidence suggests that memory retrieval is
an automatic process. One effect of attention on memory recall is that of latency and retrieval time.
This is especially evident in free recall. The competition provided at the time of recall due to
divided attention slows down the process, yet has little to no effect on its accuracy. Another
possible finding for the minimal effect of divided attention is that the process of recall may include
less parallel processing than other memory processes. It has also been observed that different parts
of the brain are at work depending on whether one is recalling with full rather than divided
. Motivation
Motivation is a factor that encourages a person to perform and succeed at the task at hand. It can
be in the form of presented incentive, or personal fear of failure. Any form of motivation thus
generally leads a person to better recall. In an experiment done by Roebers, Moga and Schneider
(2001), participants were placed in forced report, free report or free report plus incentive groups.
In each group, they found that the amount of correct information recalled did not differ, yet in
the group where participants were given an incentive they had higher accuracy results. This means
that presenting participants with an encouragement to provide correct information motivates them
to be more precise. However, this is only true if the perception is that success is providing correct
information. When it is believed that success is the completion of the task rather than the accuracy
of that completion, the number of responses is higher, yet its accuracy is lowered. This shows that
the results are dependent on how success is defined to the participant. In the Roebers, Moga and
Schneider (2001) experiment, the participants that were placed in the forced response group had
the lowest overall accuracy. They had no motivation to provide accurate responses and were forced
to respond even when they were unsure of the answer. These results lead to the conclusion that
depending on how success is defined to the person, motivation increases a person‘s inclination to
succeed at appropriate recall

. Interference

In the absence of interference, there are two factors at play when recalling a list of items: the
recency and the primacy effects. The recency effect occurs when the short-term memory is used to
remember the most recent items, and the primacy effect occurs when the long-term memory has
encoded the earlier items. The recency effect can be eliminated if there is a period of interference
between the input and the output of information extending longer than the holding time of short-
term memory (15–30 seconds). This occurs when a person is given subsequent information to
recall preceding the recall of the initial information. The primacy effect, however, is not affected by
the interference of recall. The elimination of the last few items from memory is due to the
displacement of these items by the distracting task. As they have not been recited and rehearsed,
they are not moved into long-term memory and are thus lost. A task as simple as counting
backwards can change memory recall; however an empty delay interval has no effect. This is
because the person can continue to rehearse the items in their working memory to be remembered
without interference. Cohen (1989) found that there is better recall for an action in the presence
of interference if that action is physically performed during the encoding phase. It has also been
found that recalling some items can interfere and inhibit the recall of other items.
. Context

Context-dependency effects on recall are typically interpreted as evidence that the characteristics of
the environment are encoded as part of the memory trace and can be used to enhance retrieval of
the other information in the trace. In other words, you can recall more when the environments are
similar in both the learning and recall phases. Context cues appear to be important in the retrieval
of newly learned meaningful information. In a classic study by Godden and Baddelley (1975), they
demonstrated that deep-sea divers recalled their training more effectively when trained underwater,
rather than being trained on land. An academic application would be that students may perform
better on exams by studying in silence, because exams are usually done in silence.

State-dependent retrieval is demonstrated when material learned under the influence of a drug is
best recalled in that same drug state. A study by Carter and Cassady (1998) showed this effect with
alcohol. In other words, if you study while intoxicated, then you will recall more of what you
studied if you test yourself while intoxicated in comparison to testing yourself while sober after
having studied under the influence.

Research indicates that heavy marijuana use is associated with significant impairments in memory
retrieval. Cannabis induces loss of internal control and cognitive impairment, especially
impairment of attention and memory, for the duration of the intoxication period. Stimulants,
such as cocaine, amphetamines or caffeine are known to improve recall in humans. However, the
effect of prolonged use of stimulants on cognitive functioning is very different from the impact on
one-time users. Research indicates that stimulant use lowers recall rates in humans after prolonged
usage. MDMA users are found to exhibit difficulties encoding information into long-term
memory; display impaired verbal learning; are more easily distracted, and are less efficient at
focusing attention on complex tasks. The degree of executive impairment increases with the
severity of use, and the impairments are relatively long-lasting. Chronic cocaine users display
impaired attention, learning, memory, reaction time and cognitive flexibility. Whether or not
stimulants have a positive or negative effect on recall depends on amount used and duration.


Forgetting is the inability to retrieve previously stored information or failure to access stored
memories. It seems that as much as we do remember, we forget even more. Forgetting isn‘t really
all that bad, and is in actuality, a pretty natural phenomenon. Imagine if you remembered every
minute detail of every minute or every hour, of every day during your entire life, no matter how
good, bad, or insignificant. Now imagine trying to sift through it all for the important stuff like
where you left your keys.

There are many reasons we forget things and often these reasons overlap. The first is encoding
failure. Like in the example above, some information never makes it to LTM. Other times, the
information gets there, but is lost before it can attach itself to our LTM. Other reasons include
decay theory, which means that information that is not used for an extended period of time
decays or fades away over time. It is possible that we are physiologically preprogrammed to
eventually erase data that no longer appears pertinent to us.

Failing to remember something doesn‘t mean the information is gone forever though. Sometimes
the information is there but for various reasons we can‘t access it. This could be caused by
distractions going on around us or possibly due to an error of association (e.g., believing something
about the data which is not correct causing you to attempt to retrieve information that is not there). There is
also the phenomenon of repression, which means forgetting memories because we do not want to
remember the associated feelings (motivated forgetting) Motivated forgetting theory states that we forget
things that are painful, threatening or embarrassing. This is often sited in cases where adults
=forget‘ incidences of sexual abuse when they were children. Another cause of forgetting is
interference. According to intereference theory … people forget not because memory is actually lost
from storage but because other information get in the way of what we want to remember. For
example, in pro-active interference, previously learned materials interfere with newly learned
material. Retroactive interference…newly learned material interferes with previously learned material.
Next is the retrieval failure theory of forgetting which claims that information stored in long term
memory never lost but may at times be inaccessible. Finally, there is amnesia, (loss of memory) which
can be psychological (e.g. due to a traumatic experience) or physiological in origin, (e.g. due to brain
damage). Anterograde amnesia memory disorder is loss of the ability to form or store new

This is the ability to keep in memory something said or done. This state can be influenced by
intelligence….the higher the intelligence, the higher the ability to remember; environment….this
can influence what is learnt or observed and remembered through association; value attatched ……
people are likely to remember what they judge as valuable. Some people have been able to improve
their memory to the extent that they have photographic memories… ability scientifically
referred to as eidetic imagery.

. Mnemonic devices…….mnemonic devices e.g. acronyms like KANU, a poetic sentence,
narratives etc, which tag information visually or verbally.
. Paying close attention to facilitate the encoding process
. Rehearsal…..practising repeatedly
. For students distributed study with breaks in-between is recommended for enhanced
attention and retention.
. Reducing interference through systematic study….this underscores the need for a study
. Using questions for study facilitates deep processing
. A conducive learning environment with minimal interruptions will enhance attention thus
facilitating encoding and storage.
. Chunking…..organisation of materials into meaningful groupings.
. Creating linkages/associations…..external cues enhance memory.
. Peg-word system…creating visual images that enhance recall.
. Variation in study techniques to have a wealth of images and associations and to facilitate
deep processing.
. A healthy lifestyle free from drugs. Research indicates that abuse of drugs interferes with
. Sleep, balanced diet, exercise and water….increase alertneness
. Devise effective strategies of dealing with stress…as stress with all aspects of memory.
. Take clear summary notes…noting the key terms which act as reminders.
. Appropriate revision techniques using the PQ4Rs. (read more on this technique)
. P-Previous
. Q-Question
. R- Read
. R-Reflect
. R- Recite
. R-Review
. Define the terms memory. Discuss three key memory processes.
. Identify three types of memories.
. Explore why information is stored in our Short Term Memories.
. Distinguish between declarative and non-declarative long term memories.
. Discuss the two-stage theory and encoding specificity theories of recall.
. Discuss three types of recall.
. Identify seven effects in serial recall studies.
. Discuss four factors influencing recall.
. Discuss strategies of memory improvement.
. Discuss three factors influencing remembering.
. What causes forgetting?


Ebbinghaus, H. (1962). Memory: A contribution to experimental psychology. New York:



. Define sensation and perception
. Identify the various senses
. Discuss the various concepts of sensation
. Discuss the gestalt principles of perception
. Discuss the various perceptual constancies
. Discuss the counseling implications of the topic


Although intimately related, sensation and perception play two complimentary but different roles in
how we interpret our world. Sensation refers to the process of sensing our environment through touch,
taste, sight, sound, and smell. This information is sent to our brains in raw form where perception
comes into play. Perception is the way we interpret these sensations and therefore make sense of everything
around us. This topic will describe various theories related to these two concepts and explain the
important role they play in the field of psychology. Through this chapter, you will gain a better
idea of how our senses work and how this information is organized and interpreted.

What is sensation?

Sensation is the process by which our senses gather information and send it to the brain. This information
is sent to our brains in raw form where perception comes into play. Basic senses include sight,
touch, smell, taste and hearing in addition to the skin senses (vestibular) and the sense of balance
(kinesthesia). Sensation enhances our awareness of the world. Without sensation, there can be no
perception hence our understanding of the world would be so limited.
A large amount of information is being sensed at any one time such as room temperature,
brightness of the lights, someone talking, a distant train, or the smell of perfume. With all this
information coming into our senses, the majority of our world never gets recognized. We don't
notice radio waves, x-rays, or the microscopic parasites crawling on our skin. We don't sense all
the odors around us or taste every individual spice in our dinner. We only sense those things we
are able too since we don't have the sense of smell like a dog or the sense of sight like a hawk; our
thresholds are different from these animals and often even from each other


. Absolute Threshold

The absolute threshold is the point where something becomes noticeable to our senses. It is the
softest sound we can hear or the slightest touch we can feel. Anything less than this goes
unnoticed. The absolute threshold is therefore the point at which a stimulus goes from
undetectable to detectable to our senses.

. Difference Threshold

Once a stimulus becomes detectable to us, how do we recognize if this stimulus changes? When
we notice the sound of the radio in the other room, how do we notice when it becomes louder?
It's conceivable that someone could be turning it up so slightly that the difference is undetectable.
The difference threshold is the amount of change needed for us to recognize that a change has
occurred. This change is referred to as the Just Noticeable Difference.

. Weber's Law

This difference is not absolute, however. Imagine holding a five pound weight and one pound was
added. Most of us would notice this difference. But what if we were holding a fifty pound
weight? Would we notice if another pound were added? The reason many of us would not is
because the change required to detect a difference has to represent a percentage. In the first
scenario, one pound would increase the weight by 20%, in the second, that same weight would
add only an additional 2%. This theory, named after its original observer, is referred to as Weber's

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. Signal Detection Theory

Have you ever been in a crowded room with lots of people talking? Situations like that can make it
difficult to focus on any particular stimulus, like the conversation we are having with a friend. We
are often faced with the daunting task of focusing our attention on certain things while at the same
time attempting to ignore the flood of information entering our senses. When we do this, we are
making a determination as to what is important to sense and what is background noise. This
concept is referred to as signal detection because we attempt detect what we want to focus on and
ignore or minimize everything else.

. Sensory Adaptation

The last concept refers to stimuli which has become redundant or remains unchanged for an
extended period of time. Ever wonder why we notice certain smells or sounds right away and then
after a while they fade into the background? Once we adapt to the perfume or the ticking of the
clock, we stop recognizing it. This process of becoming less sensitive to unchanging stimulus is referred
to as sensory adaptation, after all, if it doesn't change, why do we need to constantly sense it?

As mentioned in the introduction, perception refers to interpretation of what we take in through our
senses. The way we perceive our environment is what makes us different from other animals and
different from each other.


We have five basic senses which help us to perceive environmental stimuli: sight, auditory, taste,
touch, and smell.

Sense of sight is the most complex of all the five basic senses. From the moment you wake up in
the morning to the time you go to sleep at night, your eyes are acting like a video camera.
Everything you look at is then sent to your brain for processing and storage much like a video
cassette. This is a very simplified explanation, but as you read on, you will discover why the sense
of sight is actually considered the most complex of the five senses.

How Your Eyes Work

Take a moment to locate an object around you. Do you know how you are able to see it? Would
you believe that what you are actually seeing are beams of light bouncing off of the object and into
your eyes? It is hard to believe, but it is true. The light rays enter the eye through the cornea, (a
thick, transparent protective layer on the surface of your eye). Then the light rays pass through the
pupil (the dark circle in the center of your eye) and into the lens.

When light rays pass through your pupil, the muscle called the iris (colored ring) makes the size of
the pupil change depending on the amount of light that's available. You may have noticed this
with your own eye if you have looked at it closely in a mirror. If there is too much light, your pupil
will shrink to limit the number of light rays that enter. Likewise, if there is very little light available,
the pupil will enlarge to let in as many light rays as it can. Just behind the pupil is the lens and it
focuses the image through a jelly-like substance called the vitreous humor onto the back surface of
the eyeball, called the retina.

The retina, which is the size of your thumbnail, is filled with approximately 150 million light-
sensitive cells called rods and cones. Rods identify shapes and work best in dim light. Cones on
the other hand, identify color and work best in bright light. Both of these types of cells then send
the information to the brain by way of the optic nerve. The amazing thing is, when they send the
image to the brain, the image is upside down! It is the brain's job to turn the image rightside up
and then tell you what you are looking at. The brain does this in a specific place called the visual

Imperfect Eyesight

Not all people have perfect vision. People who can see things up close, but not far away are
considered to be nearsighted. This happens when the light entering the eye focuses on a point in
front of the retina. On the other hand, people who can see far away objects but not those that are
up close are farsighted. Farsightedness occurs when the light that enters the eye focuses on a point
behind the retina. Whether a person is nearsighted or farsighted, glasses or contacts help that
person to see things much more clearly.

Hearing (auditory) perception

Audition is the sense of hearing which provide as with information about objects at a distance
from us. Like the sense of sight, audition is very advanced in humans. Sound is produced by
vibrations which travel through medium sound such as water, air, and other materials. Auditory
perception can be affected by: Hearing impairments……. some form of hearing impairment can be
inherited. Intra- uterine diseases……… If the pregnant mother contracts some diseases such as a
German measles or syphilis, these could cause various defects in the unborn babies such as loss of
hearing or sight. Accident ….this can damage the ear drum. Disease of the ear…. can lead to deafness
if not treated.
. Smell or olfactory perception

This is the ability of the brain to interpret the message received from the nose. The nose is able to
differentiate pleasant smell like perfumes; bad or pleasant smell like rotten foods and smoky smell.
This sense is more developed in animals than humans especially dogs.

. Taste or gustatory perception

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Taste perception is the ability to differentiate what the tongue has tasted. It also includes the
ability of the brain to interpret the message received from the tongue to differentiate between the
sensation of sweet, sour, bitter and salty.

. Touch perception

Skin perception is the ability of the brain to interpret the message revived from the skin through
touch. This includes texture: smooth: rough, crumbly and brittle and temperature: hot, warm, cold
and icy. For people without sight, the sense of touch is very advanced.

 ACTIVITY View Details

Reflect: sensing the word is very important. Sensing the world appropriately calls on us to take care of our
sensory organs especially the eyes and our hears. List ways that people are violating the hygiene of the sensory
organs. As a counselor you are called upon to help people to promote their sensory hygiene.

The perceptual process has three stages: The occurrence of sensory stimulation: Basically this part
of the perception processes involves coming in contact with a particular stimulus. For example,
listening to a song, reminiscing about a childhood friend etc. The organization of sensory
stimulation: The second part of the perception process organizes the perceived notion in the mind,

making it ready to be shaped up in overt response. Taking the previous example of remembering a
childhood chum, if he/ she was a very nice one who always helped you when you were in trouble,
you'll most probably feel a soft corner or a warm feeling for him/her in your heart.
The interpretation of sensory stimulation: The last phase includes the execution of response,
expressed verbally or physically. Again taking the example of the friend that you had in the past,
remembering the memories of the good times that you had together. It will bring a smile on your
face or tears in your eyes as you remember


The German word "Gestalt" roughly translates to "whole" or "form," and the Gestalt psychologist's
sincerely believed that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In order to interpret what we
receive through our senses, they theorized that we attempt to organize this information into certain
groups. This allows us to interpret the information completely without unneeded repetition. For
example, when you see one dot, you perceive it as such, but when you see five dots together, you
group them together by saying a "row of dots." Without this tendency to group our perceptions,
that same row would be seen as "dot, dot, dot, dot, dot," taking both longer to process and
reducing our perceptive ability. The Gestalt principles of grouping include four types: similarity,
proximity, continuity, and closure.

. Similarity ………refers to our tendency to group things together based upon how similar to each other
they are. In the first figure above, we tend to see two rows of red dots and two rows of black
dots. The dots are grouped according to similar colour.
. Proximity…….refers to tendency to group items together based on how close they are to each other.
In the next figure, we tend to perceive three columns of two lines each rather than six
different lines. The lines are grouped together because of how close they are to each other,
or their proximity to one another.

. Continuity…. refers to our tendency to see patterns and therefore perceive things as belonging
together if they form some type of continuous pattern. In the third figure, although merely a
series of dots, it begins to look like an "X" as we perceive the upper left side as continuing
all the way to the lower right and the lower left all the way to the upper right.
. Closure….. refers to our tendency to complete familiar objects that have gaps in them. At first
glance of the fourth illustration, we perceive a circle and a square.
. Figure-ground - this is the fundamental way we organize visual perceptions. When we look
at an object, we see that object (figure) and the background (ground) on which it sits. For
example, when I see a picture of a friend, I see my friends face (figure) and the beautiful
Sears brand backdrop behind my friend (ground).

. Common fate - elements that move together tend to be grouped together. For example,
when you see geese flying south for the winter, they often appear to be in a "V" shape.
. Closure - we tend to complete a form when it has gaps.
Imagine if every time an object changed we had to completely reprocess it. The next time you walk
toward a building, you would have to re-evaluate the size of the building with each step, because we
all know as we get closer, everything gets bigger. The building which once stood only several
inches is now somehow more than 50 feet tall. Luckily, this doesn't happen. Due to our ability to
maintain constancy in our perceptions, we see that building as the same height no matter what
distance it is.
Perceptual constancy…… refers to our ability to see things differently without having to reinterpret the
object's properties. There are typically three constancies discussed, including size, shape, brightness.
Size constancy…….. refers to our ability to see objects as maintaining the same size even when our distance
from them makes things appear larger or smaller. This holds true for all of our senses. As we walk away
from our radio, the song appears to get softer. We understand, and perceive it as being just as
loud as before. The difference being our distance from what we are sensing.
Shape constancy …..our ability to perceive an object as still having the same shape even though the angle
from which we view it appears to distort the shape. Everybody has seen a plate shaped in the form of a
circle. When we see that same plate from an angle, however, it looks more like an ellipse but we
still perceive it as a circle.
Brightness constancy……. refers to our ability to recognize that colour remains the same regardless of how
it looks under different levels of light. That deep blue shirt you wore to the beach suddenly looks black
when you walk indoors. Without colour constancy, we would be constantly re-interpreting colour
and would be amazed at the miraculous conversion our clothes undertake.

It is associated with Melzack & Walls, (1965) - incoming pain must pass through a "gate" located in
the spinal cord which determines what information about pain will be sent to the brain. So, it can
be opened to allow pain through or closed to prevent pain from being perceived. The Gate -
actually a neural network controlled by the brain. Located in an area of the spinal cord called the
Substansia Gelatinosa. There are two types of nerve fibers in this area: large - sends fast signals and
can prevent pain by closing the gate. Small - sends slower signals which open the gate. So - when
pain occurs it is because the large fibers are off and the small are on, opening the gate. Since the
gate is controlled by the brain, he factors discussed earlier (expectations, mood, personality)
influence the functioning of the gate. Endorphins ….are morphine-like body's own pain killers.
They may explain acupuncture, acupressure, and pain tolerance during last two weeks of
pregnancy among other pains that we endure. Endorphins may work with the gate control theory -
maybe pain is perceived, endorphins are released, so the brain no longer

We determine distance using two different cues: monocular and binocular. Monocular cues are
those cues which can be seen using only one eye. They include size; texture, overlap shading, height,
and clarity.

Size refers to the fact that larger images are perceived as closer to us, especially if the two images
are of the same object. The texture of objects tend to become smoother as the object gets farther
away, suggesting that more detailed textured objects are closer. Due to overlap, those objects
covering part of another object is perceived as closer. The shading or shadows of objects can give a
clue to their distance, allowing closer objects to cast longer shadows which will overlap objects
which are farther away. Objects which are closer to the bottom of our visual field are seen as closer
to us due to our perception of the horizon, where higher (height) means farther away. Similar to
texture, objects tend to get blurry as they get farther away; therefore, clearer or more crisp images
tend to be perceived as closer (clarity).
Binocular cues refer to those depth cues in which both eyes are needed to perceive. There are two
important binocular cues; convergence and retinal disparity. Convergence refers to the fact that the
closer an object, the more inward our eyes need to turn in order to focus. The farther our eyes converge,
the closer an object appears to be. Since our eyes see two images which are then sent to our brains
for interpretation, the distance between these two images, or their retinal disparity, provides
another cue regarding the distance of the object.

Processing of environmental stimuli is determined by our subjective experiences, our knowledge
about the world, and our state of sensory organs. Therefore, people perceive reality differently.
This for the counselors implies that we should be empathic in order to perceive reality as from our
client‘s point of view. The questins are: how does my client perceive a given reality? Why do they
perceive it this way? Could their perception be based on an erroneous knowledge base? The goal is
to help the client to correct erroneous perceptions.
. Distinguish sensation and perception.
. Identify the five basic senses
. Distinguish monocular and binocular cues
. Discuss the key concepts in sensation
. Discuss 7 gestalt principles of grouping.

Jafar Mahmud (2004) Introduction to psychology; aph Publishing Corporation

Passer, W.P.&Smith, R.E (2001) Psychology: frontiers and application: MacGraw Hill, New York

Coren, Stanley (1999). Sensation and Perception. Harcourt Brace.



IINSTRUCTIONS: Answer all questions (30MKS)


INSTRUCTIONS: Answer All Questions

i. Give an elaborate definition of counseling (4mks)
ii. Explain the relationship between counseling and psychology(4mks)
iii. Distinguish existentialism and cognitivism schools of thought (6mks)
iv. Distinguish short-term and long term memories (4mks)
v. Explain the stages in the perceptual process (6mks)
vi. Discuss two effects of psychoactive drugs (4mks)







a) Define the term psychology. Explain the relationship between psychology and
b) Distinguish between cognition and intelligence
c) Supporting with three points why points why parents should teach emotional
intelligence to their children
d) Discuss the following factors associated with memory loss
i) Decay
ii) Amnesia
iii) Motivated forgetting
e) Discuss three causes of insomia 6mks
f) Why is the knowledge of psychology important to you as a counseling

a) Gestalt psychologists proposed a number of principles that describe how the
perceptual world system gives raw sensations together. Discuss six as these
principles 12mks
b) Define the following terms with the aid of relevant examples
i) Psychoactive drug
ii) Stimulant
iii) Depressant
iv) hallianogen

a) Human behavior is motivated (cause-effect). Write short notes on the
following theories of emotion.
i) Arousal theory
ii) Drive reduction theory
iii) Instinct theory
iv) Incentive theory

a) Define term emotion. Discuss three theories of emotion
b) Discuss the following strategies of improving memory
i) Mnemonics
ii) PQ4R method

a) Define the following sleep disturbances
i) Insomnia
ii) Sleep apnea
iii) Sleepwalking disorders
iv) Narcolepsy
v) Nightmare disorder
b) i) Define the term absolute threshold

ii) Discuss two factors accounting for variation in absolute threshold
4 mks

iii) Discuss one theory of intelligence 4 mks