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States of Consciousness

Consciousness refers to our subjective awareness of the world around us, our perceptions and internal thoughts. Topics in this area include sleep, dreams, hypnosis, medication and psychoactive drugs. Learn more about how all of these factors influence human consciousness.

What is Consciousness?
Consciousness refers to your individual awareness of your unique thoughts, memories, feelings, sensations, and environment. Aspects of consciousness studied by psychologists include sleep, dreams, hypnosis, meditation and psychoactive drugs.

What Is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis has been used to treat a wide number of ailments, yet many understand very little about this process. Learn more in this overview of hypnosis.


Dreams can be both fascinating and baffling, which is why they have garnered attention from philosophers, artists, writers and poets for thousands of years. Only fairly recently in history have researchers began to scientifically study the dreaming process. While people still disagree about the exact purpose of dreams and the possible interpretations of dream content, this area remains a topic…

Dream Interpretation: Dream Meanings and Interpretation
What do your dreams mean? Many different dream interpretation theories have been proposed, but experts still are not sure exactly what dreams mean.

Characteristics of Dreams
Researchers J. Allan Hobson has identified five of the key characteristics of dreams.

Why Do We Dream? - Top Dream Theories
Have you ever wondered why you dream? This question has fascinated people since the beginning of recorded history, but today we still don't fully understand the purpose of dreams. Learn more about some of the most prominent theories of dreams.

Sleep – Stages, Theories & Problems with Sleep
From the ancient philosophers to modern pop culture, the nature and significance of sleep is an almost inescapable question. Understanding the sleep process as well and why we sleep is a topic of interest for many, while exploring some of the major problems with sleep is a topic of interest to anyone who has ever spent a restless night tossing and turning.

Sleep Disorders
Sleep disorders are a common problem for many people. Learn more about some of the most common sleep disorders.

Theories of Sleep
While the importance of sleep is well documented, scientists are not entirely certain why we sleep. Learn more about the different theories to explain the reasons behind sleep.

Stages of Sleep
Studies of human sleep have demonstrated that sleep progresses through a series of stages in which different brain wave patterns are displayed. Learn more about the stages of sleep.

Top Reasons to Get a Good Night's Sleep

Do you ever find yourself drifting off to sleep in the middle of class? According to the National Sleep Foundation's 2008 "Sleep in America" poll, almost 30% of respondents reported becoming very sleepy or even falling asleep at work in the previous month alone.

Circadian Rhythms: The Body's "Clock"
Do you ever feel a burst of energy in the morning, but get run down by mid-afternoon? This daily ebb and flow is caused by your body's circadian rhythms. These 'body clocks' have a major impact on your consciousness as well as a wide number of physiological states.

10 Facts About Dreams
Dreams can be fascinating, exciting, terrifying or just plain weird. Learn more about some of the things that researchers have discovered in these ten facts about dreams.

Common Dream Characteristics - Share Your Dream Themes
Dreams often share common characteristics. Do your dreams often feature these common events? Share some of the most common dreams you have with other readers.

How Does the Brain Work During Meditation?
What happens in the brain during meditation? One study reveals that nondirective meditation leads to more brain activity. Learn more.

Sleep After Learning Can Enhance Your Memory
If you are learning something new, try getting a good night's sleep. One study reveals the pivotal role that sleep plays in the learning and memory formation process.

What Is Meditation?
Research has shown that meditation has a range of psychological benefits. Learn more about what meditation is, how it works, and the effects it has on you mind and body.

What Do People Dream About?
Have you ever wondered what other people dream about? It turns out, people all over the world often have very similar (and sometimes strange) dreams.

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