Is there a theory that explains the essence of consciousness ? Or is consciousness itself an illusion ? The 'last great mystery of science', consciousness was banned from serious research for most of the last century, but is now a rapidly expanding area of study for students of psychology, philosophy and neuroscience, as well as capturing growing popular interest. This ground-breaking textbook by best-selling author Susan Blackmore is the first to bring together all the major theories of consciousness, from those based on neuroscience to those based on quantum theory or Eastern philosophy, in a format specifically designed to support structured learning. The book examines topics such as how subjective experiences arise from objective brain processes, the basic neuroscience and neuropathology of consciousness, altered states of consciousness, mystical experiences, dreams, meditation and the effects of drugs. Also discussed are the nature of self, the possibility of artificial consciousness in robots, and the question of whether animals are conscious. All topics are supported not only by self-assessment questions and further reading suggestions, but by practical exercices that help bring the subject to life, and could radically transform your consciousness.