Charles Tart

American experimental psychologist (1937-)

Charles T. Tart Ph.D. (born 1937) is internationally known for his psychological work on the nature of consciousness (particularly altered states of consciousness), as one of the founders of the field of transpersonal psychology, and for his research in scientific parapsychology. His two classic books, Altered States of Consciousness (1969) and Transpersonal Psychologies (1975), became widely used texts that were instrumental in allowing these areas to become part of modern psychology.


  • It is clear that man has functioned in a multitude of states of consciousness and that different cultures have varied enormously in recognition and utilization of, and attitudes toward, ASC's. Many "primitive" peoples, for example, believe that almost every normal adult has the possibility to go into a trance state and be possessed by a god; the adult who cannot do this is a psychological cripple. How deficient Americans would seem to a person from such a culture. In many Eastern civilizations, elaborate techniques have been developed for inducing and utilizing ASC's, such as Yoga and Zen systems. In some cases vocabularies have been developed for talking about these ASC's more adequately. Fredrick Spiegelberg, the noted Indian scholar, pointed out that Sanskrit has about 20 nouns which we translate into "consciousness" or "mind" because we do not have the vocabulary to specify the different shades of meaning in these words.
    • Foreword to Altered States of Consciousness (1969)
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