J. Allan Hobson

J. Allan Hobson is Professor of Psychiatry, Emeritus, at Harvard Medical School. He is the author of The Dreaming Brain: How the Brain Creates Both the Sense and The Nonsense of Dreams, Dreaming as Delirium: How the Brain Goes Out of Its Mind (MIT Press,1999), The Dream Drugstore: Chemically Altered States of Consciousness (MIT Press, 1999, 2001), and other books.

  • Dream Life

    Dream Life

    An Experimental Memoir

    J. Allan Hobson

    A pioneer in sleep and dream science surveys his life and work through the lens of dreaming and consciousness.

    J. Allan Hobson's scientific experimentation began in childhood, with a soot-filled investigation into the capacity of a chimney to admit Santa Claus. (He discovered that even with the damper open the chimney was far too narrow.) Hobson's life as an experimentalist has continued through a pioneering career devoted to aligning psychology and biology and to investigating the relationship of dreaming and consciousness. In Dream Life, Hobson conducts an experimental investigation into his life and work.

    Hobson charts his developing consciousness through a vividly imagined conception (in October of 1932), birth, and babyhood, offering a theory about "protoconsciousness" in fetuses and infants. He recounts his youthful zeal for scientific discovery, his early sexual experimentation, and his education. He describes taking on the entrenched Freudians at Harvard Medical School in the 1950s, as a maverick psychiatrist who wanted to replace psychoanalysis with biological science. He describes his further studies, his marriages and love affairs, his travels, and what he learned about the brain from his whiplash-induced amnesia after a 1963 automobile accident and from his "brain death" after a stroke in 2001. Through it all, Hobson uses his life as the ultimate case study for his theory that REM sleep provides a test pattern that allows the brain to develop "offline." Dreams—most intense in REM sleep, when the brain is active—need no Freudian-style decoding, he says. Dreaming is a glorious mental state, to be enjoyed and studied for what it tells us about consciousness.

    • Hardcover $31.00
  • The Dream Drugstore

    The Dream Drugstore

    Chemically Altered States of Consciousness

    J. Allan Hobson

    An investigation into the brain's chemistry and the mechanisms of chemically altered states of consciousness.

    In this book, J. Allan Hobson offers a new understanding of altered states of consciousness based on knowledge of how our brain chemistry is balanced when we are awake and how that balance shifts when we fall asleep and dream. He draws on recent research that enables us to explain how psychedelic drugs work to disturb that balance and how similar imbalances may cause depression and schizophrenia. He also draws on work that expands our understanding of how certain drugs can correct imbalances and restore the brain's natural equilibrium.

    Hobson explains the chemical balance concept in terms of what we know about the regulation of normal states of consciousness over the course of the day by brain chemicals called neuromodulators. He presents striking confirmation of the principle that every drug that has transformative effects on consciousness interacts with the brain's own consciousness-altering chemicals. In the section called "The Medical Drugstore," Hobson describes drugs used to counteract anxiety and insomnia, to raise and lower mood, and to eliminate or diminish the hallucinations and delusions of schizophrenia. He discusses the risks involved in their administration, including the possibility of new disorders caused by indiscriminate long-term use. In "The Recreational Drugstore," Hobson discusses psychedelic drugs, narcotic analgesia, and natural drugs. He also considers the distinctions between legitimate and illegitimate drug use. In the concluding "Psychological Drugstore," he discusses the mind as an agent, not just the mediator, of change, and corrects many erroneous assumptions and practices that hinder the progress of psychoanalysis.

    • Hardcover $50.00
    • Paperback $29.95
  • Dreaming as Delirium

    Dreaming as Delirium

    How the Brain Goes Out of Its Mind

    J. Allan Hobson

    In this book J. Allan Hobson sets out a compelling—and controversial—theory of consciousness. Our brain-mind, as he calls it, is not a fixed identity but a dynamic balancing act between the chemical systems that regulate waking and dreaming.

    With a new foreword by the author.

    In this book, J. Allan Hobson sets out a compelling—and controversial—theory of consciousness. Our brain-mind, as he calls it, is not a fixed identity but a dynamic balancing act between the chemical systems that regulate waking and dreaming. Drawing on his work both as a sleep researcher and as a psychiatrist, Hobson looks in particular at the strikingly similar chemical characteristics of the states of dreaming and psychosis. His underlying theme is that the form of our thoughts, emotions, dreams, and memories derive from specific nerve cells and electrochemical impulses described by neuroscientists. Among the questions Hobson explores are: What are dreams? Do they have any hidden meaning, or are they simply emotionally salient images whose peculiar narrative structure refects the unique neurophysiology of sleep? And what is the relationship between the delirium of our dream life and psychosis?

    Originally published by Little, Brown under the title The Chemistry of Conscious States.

    • Paperback $25.00

Contributor

  • Open MIND, 2-vol. set

    Open MIND, 2-vol. set

    Philosophy and the Mind Sciences in the 21st Century

    Thomas Metzinger and Jennifer M. Windt

    A unique interdisciplinary collection of papers and commentaries by leading researchers and rising scholars, representing the latest research on consciousness, mind, and brain.

    This collection offers the most comprehensive collection on consciousness, brain, and mind available. It gathers 39 original papers by leaders in the field followed by commentaries written by emerging scholars and replies by the original paper's authors. Taken together, the papers, commentaries, and replies provide a cross-section of cutting-edge research in philosophy and cognitive science. Open MIND is an experiment in both interdisciplinary and intergenerational scholarship.

    Open MIND grows out of the MIND Group, an independent, international body of young philosophers and scientists with a strong interest in the mind, consciousness, and cognition. The original and supporting materials are available online at open-mind.net.

    Authors include Michael L. Anderson, Andreas Bartels, Tim Bayne, Christian Beyer, Ned Block, Paul M. Churchland, Andy Clark, Carl S. Craver, Holk Cruse, Daniel C. Dennett, Jérôme Dokic, Chris Eliasmith, Kathinka Evers, Vittorio Gallese, Philip Gerrans, Rick Grush, John-Dylan Haynes, Heiko Hecht, J. Allan Hobson, Jakob Hohwy, Pierre Jacob, J. Scott Jordan, Victor Lamme, Bigna Lenggenhager, Caleb Liang, Richard Menary, Albert Newen, Alva Noë, Gerard O'Brien, Elisabeth Pacherie, Jesse Prinz, Joëlle Proust, Antti Revonsuo, Adina Roskies, Jonathan Schooler, Anil K. Seth, Wolf Singer, Evan Thompson, Ursula Voss, Kenneth Williford

    • Hardcover $285.00