Imants Baruss on Altered States of Consciousness

Carlos S. Alvarado, Ph.D., Atlantic University

Dr. Imants Baruss

Dr. Imants Baruss, from the Department of Psychology, King’s University College at the University of Western Ontario, is well known for his writings about altered states of consciousness. For example, he is the author of Alterations of Consciousness: An Empirical Analysis for Social Scientists, which was published by the American Psychological Association in 2003.



Baruss recently published an article on the topic, entitled “What We Can Learn About Consciousness from Altered States of Consciousness” (Journal of Consciousness Exploration & Research, 2012, 3, 805-819). Here is the abstract:


Philosophers and other scholars sometimes take their own experience to be the measure of reality in theories of consciousness. The purpose of this paper is to present some data from altered states of consciousness that need to be taken into account in any adequate interpretations. At the outset, the four common definitions of the term consciousness are clarified and the spectrum from materialist to transcendent beliefs about consciousness and reality held by consciousness researchers is presented. This is followed by a list of alterations of consciousness. In the substance of the paper, three salient issues are presented: feelings of reality, anomalous information transfer, and somatic plasticity. In each case, some of the implications for theories of consciousness are discussed.

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