Altered state of consciousness

any condition which is significantly different from a normal waking state

An altered state of consciousness (ASC), or altered state of mind, is any condition which is significantly different from a normal waking state.[1] The expression was used in 1966 by Arnold M. Ludwig,[2] and brought into common usage by Charles Tart.[3][4] It describes induced changes in one's mental state, almost always temporary. A synonymous phrase is "altered state of awareness".

Altered states of consciousness can be associated with artistic creativity,[5] or different focus levels. They also can be shared between people and studied as a subject of sociological research.[6]

States of consciousnessEdit

During an altered state of consciousness, brain waves occupy different frequencies (i.e. Epsilon, Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta, Gamma). These waves can be measured by electroencephalography (EEG). Also, subjective reports and observer reports of behaviour are used to identify the altered state.

Related pagesEdit


  1. In the normal waking state the brain wave pattern is called a beta wave. Bundzen P.V; Korotkov K.G. & Unestahl L.E. 2002 (2002). "Altered states of consciousness: review of experimental data obtained with a multiple techniques approach". J. Alternative Complementary Medicine. 8 (2): 153–65. doi:10.1089/107555302317371442. PMID 12006123.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. Ludwig, Arnold M. 1966 (1966). "Altered states of consciousness (presentation to symposium on Possession States in Primitive People)". Archives of General Psychiatry. 15 (3): 225–234. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1966.01730150001001. PMID 5330058. Retrieved 29 September 2010.
  3. Tart, Charles T. 1969 (1969). Altered states of consciousness: a book of readings. New York: Wiley. ISBN 0-471-84560-4.
  4. Tart, Charles T. 2001 (December 2000). States of consciousness. ISBN 0-595-15196-5.
  5. Lombardo G.T. 2007 (2007). "An inquiry into the sources of poetic vision: Part I – the path to inspiration". J Am Acad Psychoanal Dyn Psychiatry. 35 (3): 351–71. doi:10.1521/jaap.2007.35.3.351. PMID 17907906.[permanent dead link]
  6. Spivak D. 2009. "Altered states of society: a tentative approach". A world in transition: humankind and nature. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic: 33–42. Archived from the original on 2011-07-23. Retrieved 2013-09-01.