Dr. Charles Tart pioneered the field of consciousness studies decades ago, with his classic best-selling anthology Altered States of Consciousness, in print for more than 20 years and selected by Common Boundary as one of the one hundred most influential psychology books of the twentieth century. Tart is credited with almost single-handedly legitimizing the study of altered states, including hypnosis, meditation, lucid dreaming and drug-induced states. He initiated several important lines of research in parapsychology, including teaching ESP and out-of-body experiences. 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.
Tart studied electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before electing to become a psychologist. He received his doctoral degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1963, and then received postdoctoral training in hypnosis research with Professor Ernest R. Hilgard at Stanford University. He is currently a Core Faculty Member at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, and a Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, as well as Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the Davis campus of the University of California, where he served for 28 years. He was the first holder of the Bigelow Chair of Consciousness Studies at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas and has served as a Visiting Professor in East-West Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, as an Instructor in Psychiatry at the School of Medicine of the University of Virginia, and a consultant on government funded parapsychological research at the Stanford Research Institute (now known as SRI International).
IONS and New Harbinger published Charles Tart's latest book, The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal is Bringing Science and Spirit Together in 2009. This was a major culmination of his work on consciousness and parapsychology, to help people who think their spiritual experiences are dumb or crazy because "science" has shown the spiritual is all nonsense. Properly done science has actually shown it is actually quite reasonable to be both scientific and spiritual in one's approach to life." People who automatically dismiss the spiritual are the ones being dumb and crazy.
As well as a laboratory researcher, Professor Tart has been a student of the Japanese martial art of Aikido (in which he holds a black belt), of meditation, of Gurdjieff's work, of Buddhism, and of other psychological and spiritual growth disciplines. His primary goal is to build bridges between the scientific and spiritual communities and to help bring about a refinement and integration of Western and Eastern approaches for knowing the world and for personal and social growth.