Psychology -> Characteristics of normal waking consciousness
Characteristics of normal waking consciousness
Internal and external focus.
Normal waking consciousness refers to the state of consciousness in which we are awake, alert and aware of our thoughts, feelings, sensations and our environment. It is characterised by the following:
Attention, memory, content and time limitations.
In normal waking consciousness our attention can shift from our internal thoughts and feelings to external stimuli, i.e. what is happening around us. These shifts of attention can be deliberate or they can occur without us being aware of it. For example, if you were sitting on a train in a state of normal waking consciousness, your attention may be on your internal thoughts and feelings, thinking how tired you feel. Your attention might then shift to external stimuli, the person entering the carriage. You might then focus on their appearance and where they choose to sit.
We cannot attend to everything that enters our senses. The amount of information that we attend to in normal waking consciousness at any one time is limited. We select only certain information and shift our focus and attention to information that interests or is meaningful to us.
In normal waking consciousness we have an awareness of our memories. We are conscious of past and present and can clearly differentiate between memories and what is happening to us at the present moment. We have a familiar sense of time and place.