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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Awareness is the state or ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects or sensory patterns. In this level of consciousness, sense data can be confirmed by an observer without necessarily implying understanding. More broadly, it is the state or quality of being aware of something. In biological psychology, awareness is defined as a human's or an animal's perception and cognitive reaction to a condition or event.

Contents

Concept

Awareness is a relative concept. An animal may be partially aware, may be subconsciously aware, or may be acutely aware of an event. Awareness may be focused on an internal state, such as a visceral feeling, or on external events by way of sensory perception. Awareness provides the raw material from which animals develop qualia, or subjective ideas about their experience.

Also used to distinguish sensory perception is the word "awarement." "Awarement" is the established form of awareness. Once one has accomplished their sense of awareness they have come to terms with awarement.

Self-awareness

Popular ideas about consciousness suggest the phenomenon describes a condition of being aware of one's awareness or, self-awareness. Efforts to describe consciousness in neurological terms have focused on describing networks in the brain that develop awareness of the qualia developed by other networks.[1]

Neuroscience

Neural systems that regulate attention serve to attenuate awareness among complex animals whose central and peripheral nervous system provides more information than cognitive areas of the brain can assimilate. Within an attenuated system of awareness, a mind might be aware of much more than is being contemplated in a focused extended consciousness.

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Basic awareness

Basic awareness of one's internal and external world depends on the brain stem. Bjorn Merker,[2] an independent neuroscientist in Segeltorp, Sweden, argues that the brain stem supports an elementary form of conscious thought in infants with hydranencephaly. "Higher" forms of awareness including self-awareness require cortical contributions, but "primary consciousness" or "basic awareness" as an ability to integrate sensations from the environment with one's immediate goals and feelings in order to guide behavior, springs from the brain stem which human beings share with most of the vertebrates. Psychologist Carroll Izard emphasizes that this form of primary consciousness consists of capacity to generate emotions and an awareness of one's surroundings, but not an ability to talk about what one has experienced. In the same way, people can become conscious of a feeling that they can't label or describe, a phenomenon that's especially common in pre-verbal infants.

Due to this discovery medical definitions of brain death as a lack of cortical activity face a serious challenge.

Basic interests

Down the brain stem lie interconnected regions that regulate the direction of eye gaze and organize decisions about what to do next, such as reaching for a piece of food or pursuing a potential mate.

Changes in awareness

The ability to consciously detect an image when presented at near-threshold stimulus varies across presentations. One factor are “baseline shifts” due to top down attention that modulates ongoing brain activity in sensory cortex areas that effects the neural processing of subsequent perceptual judgments.[3] Such top down biasing can occur through two distinct processes: an attention driven baseline shift in the alpha waves, and a decision bias reflected in gamma waves.[4]

Living systems view

Outside of neuroscience biologists, Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela contributed their Santiago theory of cognition in which they wrote:

Living systems are cognitive systems, and living as a process is a process of cognition. This statement is valid for all organisms, with or without a nervous system.[5]

This theory contributes a perspective that cognition is a process present at organic levels that we don't usually consider to be aware. Given the possible relationship between awareness and cognition, and consciousness, this theory contributes an interesting perspective in the philosophical and scientific dialogue of awareness and living systems theory.

Communications and information systems

Awareness is also a concept used in Computer Supported Cooperative Work, CSCW. Its definition has not yet reached a consensus in the scientific community in this general expression.

However, context awareness and location awareness are concepts of large importance especially for AAA (authentication, authorisation, accounting) applications.

The composed term of location awareness still is gaining momentum with the growth of ubiquitous computing. First defined with networked work positions (network location awareness), it has been extended to mobile phones and other mobile communicable entities. The term covers a common interest in whereabouts of remote entities, especially individuals and their cohesion in operation.

The composed term of context awareness is a superset including the concept of location awareness. It extends the awareness to context features of operational target as well as to context or ofer and context of operational area.

Covert awareness

Covert awareness is the knowledge of something without knowing it. Some patients with specific brain damage are for example unable to tell if a pencil is horizontal or vertical. They are however able to grab the pencil, using the correct orientation of the hand and wrist. This condition implies that some of the knowledge the mind possesses is delivered through alternate channels than conscious intent.

Other uses

Awareness forms a basic concept of the theory and practice of Gestalt therapy.

In general, "awareness" may also refer to public or common knowledge or understanding about a social, scientific, or political issue, and hence many movements try to foster "awareness" of a given subject. Examples include AIDS awareness and Multicultural awareness.

Awareness may refer to Anesthesia awareness.

See also

References

  1. ^ ed (1998), Self-awareness : its nature and development, 12-13, New York, NY: Guilford Press, ISBN 1572303174  
  2. ^ Consciousness in the Raw, Science News Online, September 2007
  3. ^ Sylvester CM, Shulman GL, Jack AI, Corbetta M. (2007). Asymmetry of anticipatory activity in visual cortex predicts the locus of attention and perception. J Neurosci. 26;27(52):14424-33. PMID 18160650
  4. ^ Wyart, V.; Tallon-Baudry, C. (Jul 2009). "How Ongoing Fluctuations in Human Visual Cortex Predict Perceptual Awareness: Baseline Shift versus Decision Bias". Journal of Neuroscience 29 (27): 8715– 8725. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0962-09.2009. ISSN 0270-6474. PMID 19587278.  
  5. ^ Capra, Fritjof. The Web of Life: A new Scientific Understanding of Living Systems.

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

To become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are. ~ Eric Hoffer

Awareness is a term referring to the ability to be perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects or patterns, which does not necessarily imply understanding. In biological psychology, awareness comprises a human's or an animal's perception and cognitive reaction to a condition or event.

Sourced

  • To become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are.
    • Eric Hoffer, in The Passionate State of Mind, and Other Aphorisms (1955) Aphorism 151, p. 93
  • They who lack talent expect things to happen without effort. They ascribe failure to a lack of inspiration or ability, or to misfortune, rather than to insufficient application. At the core of every true talent there is an awareness of the difficulties inherent in any achievement, and the confidence that by persistence and patience something worthwhile will be realized. Thus talent is a species of vigor.
    • Eric Hoffer, in Reflections on the Human Condition (1973), p. 49
  • Every individual is at once the beneficiary and the victim of the linguistic tradition into which he has been born — the beneficiary inasmuch as language gives access to the accumulated records of other people's experience, the victim in so far as it confirms him in the belief that reduced awareness is the only awareness and as it bedevils his sense of reality, so that he is all too apt to take his concepts for data, his words for actual things.
  • What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
    • Abraham Maslow, as quoted in Life in the Open Sea‎ (1972) by William M. Stephens, p. 21
  • The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.
    • Thomas Merton, in his final address, during a conference on East-West monastic dialogue, delivered just two hours before his death (10 December 1968), quoted in Religious Education, Vol. 73 (1978), p. 292
  • Humor is perhaps a sense of intellectual perspective: an awareness that some things are really important, others not; and that the two kinds are most oddly jumbled in everyday affairs.
    • Christopher Morley, as quoted in An Enchanted Life : An Adept's Guide to Masterful Magick‎ (2001) by Patricia Telesco, p. 189
  • Praying without ceasing is not ritualized, nor are there even words. It is a constant state of awareness of oneness with God; it is a sincere seeking for a good thing; and it is a concentration on the thing sought, with faith that it is obtainable.
    • Peace Pilgrim, in Peace Pilgrim : Her Life and Work in Her Own Words‎ (1994), p. 75
  • The great awareness comes slowly, piece by piece. The path of spiritual growth is a path of lifelong learning. The experience of spiritual power is basically a joyful one.
    • M. Scott Peck, as quoted in The Enlightened Savage : Using Primal Instincts for Personal & Business Success (2006) by Anthony Hernandez, p. 147
  • Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.
    • Emily Post, as quoted in Reader's Digest v. 68 (1956)
  • Let's not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.

External links

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