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The Psychology of Consciousness

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  109 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Robert E. Ornstein reexamines what is known about consciousness today & answers the question "What is consciousness?" thru a consideration of intuition & reason. He goes beyond the theory that creative impulses originate in the right side of the brain & rational impulses originate in the left side to show how a synthesis of these two functions can bring about " ...more
Paperback, revised, updated, 336 pages
Published August 5th 1986 by Penguin Books (first published 1972)
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Nov 09, 2011 Cameron rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished
I bought this book when I was 13 and never read it. I WISH I had. Although published in 1972, the book covers a wide spectrum of topics that are considered mainstream today. These include meditation techniques, mindfulness in activities and present-focus, right-brain vs left-brain physiology and pyschology, psychoactive substances and other methods of entering altered states of consciousness, shamanism, as well as eastern vs western psychology traditions. In addition, he presents a number of stu ...more
Feb 10, 2017 Jean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've had this for a long, long time, finally read it. Interesting about right and left brain functions. A newer edition came out in 1996, I'd be interested to see how the theories and knowledge have changed.
Apr 24, 2009 William rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books that is unfortunately little known or talked about. Wisdom writing at its best.
Jeanine Joy
Mar 27, 2014 Jeanine Joy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This author was ahead of his time in 1972 with many recommendations that are finally being implemented (for the betterment of humanity) today.

I have been thoroughly enjoying his exploration of consciousness, looking at both Western and Eastern psychology in an objective way. He explores areas of knowledge Westerners rejected for decades because our paradigm was not broad enough to believe in the possibility. Now that, in some areas, we can scientifically see the truth of the rejected claims usin
Joseph Mccaleb
Apr 06, 2014 Joseph Mccaleb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teaching-story
I started the 2nd edition (1977) but midway changed to 3rd (1986) which integrates more material from Idries Shah, particularly the teaching-story (especially in Ch 8). Many chapters begin with Nasruddin teasers that help to make translations across the right & left hemispheres. Arthur Deikman's essay on "Deautomatization and the Mystic Experience" is also included and identifies 5 principal features: intense realness, unusual sensations, unity, ineffability, and trans-sensate phenomena. Som ...more
Jan 16, 2017 Bart rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book begins with great originality and then begins to sputter and repeat itself. Its greatest originality lies in casting sensory receptors as agents of restriction, primarily, and not reception.

Something like:

Our normal personal consciousness is not a complete, passive registration of the external environment, but a highly evolved, selective, personal construction that is aimed primarily at individual biological survival. ... All humans have evolved with identical sense organs, which selec
F.X. Altomare
An excellent, if slightly dated, overview of psychobiological theories of consciousness. Accessible but without oversimplifying, Ornstein presents what was known about consciousness in the late 60s--much of which has not significantly changed, even with the advent of advanced imaging technologies. The coverage of William James's work on consciousness and its later corollaries in the empirical literature was particularly comprehensive. A great introduction to some of the foundations of modern con ...more
Erik Graff
Dec 22, 2009 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: psych fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: psychology
This book was published during the left/right hemisphere fad of the seventies, a distinction Ornstein plays on in order to argue for an integration of rational and what he calls "intuitive" functions correlated to traditional Western and Eastern world-views. Although the author is a neuropsychiatrist, this book is quite accessible to laypersons and has been repeatedly updated.
May 15, 2008 Keleigh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pilfered
Plucked this from the "free table" at Mills. 70s-era foray into the intersection of science and spirit.
Ralph Zoontjens
Mar 01, 2014 Ralph Zoontjens rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A classic by a psychologist who understood the full evolution of human consciousness, all the way up to the eternal mystical consciousness.
Michael A. Sherbon
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Psychologist Robert Ornstein's wide-ranging and multidisciplinary work has won him awards from more than a dozen organizations, including the American Psychological Association and UNESCO. His pioneering research on the bilateral specialization of the brain has done much to advance our understanding of how we think.

He received his bachelor's degree in psychology from City University of New York in
More about Robert Evan Ornstein...

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