Personality Psychology Lecture 23 November 30, 2009 The Self and Consciousness we do not exist outside of our relationship structures (families, etc) these structures ARE our lives relationship with first objects sets the foundation for relationships we need to have trust Antonio Damasio?s Theory of Self proto-self and its role in early survival consists of coherent neural patterns part of the brain that does this sort of maintenance work is the brain stem regulates itself like breathing and heart beating aim is to maintain homeostasis protoself maps onto stern's emergent self. Seeks to maintain an internal condition of homeostasis. It is not conscious and nonreflective protoself monitors changes in the internal milieu (the body) processes are located in the area of the brain stem and the limbic system brain stem is the same shape for all - even animals Example of the beauty and automaticity of the brain stem is the fear response in rats. Picture this: rat is in an alley predatory enters the alley visual information passes through the thalamus on its way to the visual processing regions of the brain that information goes from thalamus to amygdala in a lickety split sort of way amygdala sends signal to the body (amygdala most commonly known for fear but also responsible for ? internal milieu gets out of balance animal experiences fear information regarding feature of the alley are processed and stored by the hippocampus all this happens before the rat actually sees the cat! partnership between hippocampus and amygdala in revolutionary terms this is quite miraculous how adaptive brains can be when JM Barrie saw his mother's sadness he was put on alert and knew that something was wrong for years had a sense of self but it was reliant on mother's acceptance and approval his body was put on alert after alert when he did not receive mother's acceptance his body did not ever, could not turn off the alert after a while core consciousness damasio's core consciousness overlaps with stern's notion of core consciousness. in other words, both independently came upon the same name core consciousness continues to monitor the internal milieu of the body by creating a running record account of its condition but it also creates a running record account of the external environment begin to notice that the external effects the internal importantly, able to connect alterations in external world w/ alterations in the internal world. when feelings are altered, it is as though the brain is instructed to "show me that again. rewind the tape. re-represent what just happened, so I can assess the alteration." one way to think about this is a working model has been violated and the first indicator of that is feeling have been altered. perhaps this is an aspect of the onset of consciousness. recall Barrie stating "now i knew my mother forever" Conscious that something has been altered. likely that emergence of core self reflected by maturation of limbic system Critical role of feelings Descarte was mistaken when he pronounced " I think, therefore I am" Damasio offers the correction "I feel, therefore I am" role of feelings in making decisions without feeling, without owning them, we have no important sense of self if you are not aware of your feelings being altered your reaction would be that of just another thing happening feelings are how we recognize people you are pushed around by your feelings when you see someone you don't want to greet you attempt to avoid them - feelings drive you to do this proper reasoning must accompany proper emotions "we are feeling machines that think" - Damasio Video Marvin?s stroke cut him off from awareness of emotions he can smile but he has no empathy or feeling he cannot find a word to describe the feelings he knows he should be feeling in large part we make decisions on "this one feels right" feelings guide minor decisions What could it be that can restore a feeling that is lost, feelings itself aren't lost. Something in the external has changed. how to get a single feeling back? damasio's label for stern's verbal self is the extended self (Jung - also symbolic self) we are unaware of the alterations in making decisions reactions to slight alterations is what our personalities are built on the way chemicals are in our body and how the neurons fire (how they are unique) is how we are unique we adapt uniquely to life this is better foundation to study of personality than most textbooks
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