Robert E. Ornstein

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Robert Evan Ornstein
Born 1942
Brooklyn, New York[1]
Pen name Robert E. Ornstein, Robert Ornstein
Occupation Psychologist, researcher and author
Language English
Nationality American
Education BA in psychology, City University of New York's Queens College; PhD, Stanford University
Alma mater Queens College, City University of New York, USA
Genre Psychology
Subject Scientific research into the mind, consciousness, split-brain; wisdom traditions such as Sufism

Robert Evan Ornstein (born 1942)[2] is an American psychologist, researcher and author.

He has taught at the Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute, based at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco, and has been professor at Stanford University[3] and chairman of the Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge (ISHK).


Early life and education[edit]

Robert Evan Ornstein was born in 1942 in Brooklyn, New York, USA, and grew up in the city. He was twice high school math champion in a city-wide contest, and "wavered between physics and poetry before compromising on psychology" at the City University of New York's Queens College.[1]

In 1964 he was awarded a bachelor's degree in psychology at Queens College, and went on to gain a PhD at Stanford University, California in 1968.[1] His doctoral thesis was On the Experience of Time.[1]

Psychology career[edit]

Ornstein has been involved in reconciling the scientific understanding of mind and consciousness with other scientific and cultural traditions. His work has been featured in a 1974 Time magazine article entitled Hemispheric Thinker.[1]

He has written on the brain's role in health in The Healing Brain with David Sobel of Kaiser Permanente; the way in which human consciousness is unable to understand the fast paced modern world in New World New Mind: Moving Toward Conscious Evolution with Paul Ehrlich; and the way in which our current consciousness has developed in The Axemaker’s Gift, with James Burke. He worked to reconcile the wisdom traditions of the east and science in The Psychology of Consciousness and is interested in promoting the modern Sufism of Idries Shah.[4] Shah and Ornstein met in the 1960s.[4] Realizing that Ornstein could be an ideal partner in propagating his teachings, translating them into the idiom of psychotherapy, Shah made him his deputy in the United States.[4] Ornstein's The Psychology of Consciousness (1972)[5][6] was enthusiastically received by the academic psychology community, as it coincided with new interests in the field, such as the study of biofeedback and other techniques designed to achieve shifts in mood and awareness.[4] Ornstein's book The Right Mind[7][8] deals with split-brain studies and other experiments or clinical evidence revealing the abilities of the right cerebral hemisphere.

Partial bibliography[edit]

Books written[edit]

Books edited[edit]

  • Ornstein, Robert E., ed. (4 March 1974). The Nature of Human Consciousness (A Book of Readings). New York, USA: Viking Adult. ISBN 0-670-50480-7.  (Hardcover)
  • Ornstein, Robert E.; Swencionis, Charles, eds. (15 March 1991). The Healing Brain: A Scientific Reader. New York, USA: The Guilford Press. ISBN 0-89862-463-0.  (Paperback)

Academic monographs[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Staff (8 July 1974). "Behavior: Hemispherical Thinker". Time. Retrieved 2010-02-08.  On page 2, the Time article gives the place of birth as Brooklyn, New York.
  2. ^ Staff. "Ornstein, Robert E. (Robert Evan) (1942–)". Harper's Magazine. Retrieved 2010-02-08.  The web page gives the birth year as 1942.
  3. ^ a b Lingeman, Richard R. (10 November 1976). "Psychologist Sheds a Mystical Light on Technology". The Dispatch. Lexington, North Carolina, USA. p. 10. Retrieved 2010-02-08. 
  4. ^ a b c d Westerlund, David (ed.) (2004). Sufism in Europe and North America. New York, NY: RoutledgeCurzon. p. 53. ISBN 0-415-32591-9. 
  5. ^ a b W. G. (June 1973). "Review: The Psychology of Consciousness by R. E. Ornstein". The Review of Metaphysics. Philosophy Education Society Inc. 26 (4): 761. JSTOR 20126325. 
  6. ^ a b Lex, Barbara W. (June 1976). "Review: The Psychology of Consciousness by Robert E. Ornstein". American Anthropologist. American Anthropological Association. 78 (2): 395–396. JSTOR 675298. doi:10.1525/aa.1976.78.2.02a00680.  New Series. Published by Blackwell Publishing for the AAA.
  7. ^ a b Golden, Frederic (10 October 1997). "Second Thoughts About Brain Hemispheres / Psychologist revises theories about left-side right-side functions". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-02-08. 
  8. ^ a b Burne, Jerome (28 August 1998). "Science: Two brains are better than one". The Independent. Retrieved 2010-02-08. 
  9. ^ Robert E. Ornstein, Physiological studies of consciousness, ICR Monograph Series No. 11, Institute for Cultural Research, 1973, ISBN 0-904674-00-2.

External links[edit]