Explain the effects of various drugs on consciousness

  • Describe the two levels of cognitive processing

The two levels of cognitive processing are dual processing and parallel processing. Dual processing is consists of two levels of consciousness. The “high road”, as described in our text, is the conscious deliberate action, like moving to another lane on the highway. The “low road” is the unconscious, automatic action that takes place to move to the other lane. Parallel processing is when you can do two different things at one time. The example in our texts “get the gist” was about riding a bike and thinking about what you are going to make for dinner. 

  • Explain the effects of various drugs on consciousness

Psychoactive drugs are those that alter your perception. Depressants are those that make you feel calm and slow down your bodily functions. These include anti-anxiety medications, alcohol, tranquilizers, and opiates. Stimulants speed up your bodily functions and make you feel like you have more energy as well as self-confidence. Stimulants include nicotine, caffeine, and methamphetamines. Hallucinogens distort your perceptions and can make you see things that are not there. Hallucinogens include LSD and marijuana. 

All of the drugs listed will have some pleasurable effects on the person who uses them but they can also cause unpleasurable effects. The pleasurable effects may last a few hours while some only last a few minutes. Most of them are addictive and keep the person coming back for more. When someone becomes addicted, they will start to build up a tolerance, needing more of the drug to feel the same effects as the first time. Depending on the drug used, the withdrawal symptoms can be agonizing ranging from a headache to convulsions. The one thing they all have in common is they change the way our mind works. They either make us feel better or give us some kind of high that makes us think we feel better. 

Myers, D. G., & DeWall, C. N. (2017). Psychology (5th ed.). Asheville, NC: Soomo Learning. Available from http://www.webtexts.com

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