Material Type:
Community College / Lower Division, College / Upper Division
Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
  • Addiction
  • Biology of Consciousness
  • Consciousness
  • Drug Addiction
  • Hypnosis
  • Meditation
  • Psychoactive Drugs
  • Sleep
  • Tolerance
  • Withdrawl
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
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    States of Consciousness - Course Map and Recommended Resources



    How to Use this Guide

    This guide provides information and resources on state of consciousness for an Introduction to Psychology course. All resources are Open Access and can be downloaded or added to a Course Management System (LMS) via the hyperlinks.  


    This section will explore states of consciousness with significant discussion on sleep. However, other altered states of consciousness due to psychoactive drugs, hypnosis, and meditation will be reviewed.

    According to the APA recommendations and Ohio TAG, this chapter also falls within Pillar 1 (Biological). This chapter is considered “optional” under the Ohio TAG, which requires Biology of Behavior and either Consciousness or Sensation to satisfy the requirements for Pillar 1: Biological. If you select to cover this chapter as your second topic within Biological, consider emphasizing the biological aspects of consciousness including the biology of consciousness and sleep, and the biological effects of drugs on consciousness (e.g., drugs as agonists and antagonists).

    Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    1. Define consciousness and discuss the biology of consciousness
      1. Discuss biological rhythms including circadian rhythms and provide examples
      2. Identify areas of the brain involved with circadian rhythms and sleep
    2. Understand sleep and why we sleep
      1. Identify the stages of sleep and corresponding brain waves, and explain sleep cycling
      2. Distinguish between rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep
      3. Identify and discuss sleep disorders
      4. Discuss benefits of sleep and consequences of sleep deprivation  
      5. Discuss theories of dreaming
    3. Define psychoactive drugs and understand various types of drugs
      1. Understand how depressants, stimulants, opioids, and hallucinogens each affect the brain and provide examples of each type of drug
    4. Understand addiction
      1. Define tolerance and withdrawal
    5. Explain hypnosis and the uses of hypnosis
    6. Understand meditation


      Cross Cutting Themes


      1. Discuss the pros and cons of parents co-sleeping with their infants in the same bed. (This is also a cultural and social diversity issue as co-sleeping varies across cultures.)

      2. Discuss the ethical dilemmas of administering or not administering a drug antagonist such as Naloxone (i.e., Narcan) to individuals who have repeatedly overdosing.


      1. Discuss the effects of sleep deprivation and the impact on physical and mental health. Have students self-reflect and about their own sleep habits and sleep deprivation.
      2. Discuss the pros and cons of high school students starting school later in the day.
      3. Discuss the impact of traveling and jet lag on circadian rhythms (could also discuss shift work).

      Variations in Human Functioning

      1. Discuss the reasons why some individuals are more prone to drug addiction to compared to others.
      2. Discuss why it is so difficult for individuals struggling with drug addition to stop using.

      Cultural and Social Diversity

      1. Discuss how sleep patterns change throughout the life span.
      2. Discuss differences in substance use and addiction across cultural/racial/ethnic groups.
      3. Discuss how mindfulness and meditation is used across various cultures and the impact it has on wellness.

      Recommended Resources

      What Is Consciousness?

      This section of Chapter 4: State of Consciousness Module 4.1 in Open Stax defines consciousness, discusses circadian rhythms, and the effect of sleep deprivation.

      Sleep and Why We Sleep

      This section of Chapter 4: State of Consciousness Module 4.2 in Open Stax defines sleep and sleep-wake cycles, and discusses theories of dreaming.

      Stages of Sleep

      This section of Chapter 4: State of Consciousness Module 4.3 in Open Stax describes the stages of sleep including rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep.

      Sleep Problems and Disorders

      This section of Chapter 4: State of Consciousness Module 4.4 in Open Stax describes various sleep disorders including insomnia, parasomnias, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy.

      Substance Use and Abuse

      This section of Chapter 4: State of Consciousness Module 4.5 in Open Stax discusses substance use and abuse. It describes four main categories of drugs including stimulants, depressants, opioids, and hallucinogens and discusses the effect on behavior.

      Other States of Consciousness

      This section of Chapter 4: State of Consciousness Module 4.6 in Open Stax discusses other states of consciousness including meditation and hypnosis.

      States of Consciousness

      This module on State of Consciousness from the Noba Project provides additional information on consciousness, hypnosis, psychoactive drugs, and sleep.

      Supplemental Resources

      Crash Course Psychology #8 Consciousness (Video) 

      What can we learn from our dreams? (Video)

      Here is a Ted Talk by Dr. Dylan Selterman titled. Dr. Selterman discusses why we dream and the value of dreaming.

      The Science of Dreaming (Video)

      Here is a SciShow infusion video with Hank Green about “The Science of Dreaming.” Hank discusses why we dream and what is happening in our brain.

      Crash Course Psychology #9 Sleep and Dreaming (Video) 

      Why Do Our Brains Get Addicted? (Video)

      Here is a Ted Talk by Dr. Nora Volkow, a neuroscientist and director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institute of Health (NIH). Dr. Volkow discusses the drug epidemic and why it’s so hard to stop using drugs. She talks about changes in the brain due to drug use. 

      The Science of Addiction: Genetics and the Brain

      This website “The Science of Addiction: Genetics and the Brain” from the Genetic Science Learning Center at the University of Utah has a variety of interactive activities to learn about drugs and the impact on the brain.

      The Power of Mindfulness: What You Practice Grows Stronger (Video)

      All it takes is 10 mindful minutes (Video)

      In this Ted Talk titled “All It Takes is 10 Mindful Minutes,” Andy Puddicombe discusses the benefits of mindfulness.

      Your brain hallucinates your conscious reality (Video)

      In this Ted Talk titled “Your Brain Hallucinates Your Conscious Reality,” Dr. Anil Seth discusses consciousness and what is happening in our brain.

      Crash Course Psychology #10 Altered States (Video)

      Chapter 5 “States of Consciousness”

      Open Education Resource “Introduction to Psychology” from the University of Minnesota Libraries discusses sleep, dreaming, psychoactive drugs, and other altered states of consciousness.