Staff Profile: Dr. Adam J. Rock

Dr. Adam J. RockLecturer, School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences University of New England


Dr Adam Rock is a lecturer in Psychology at UNE. He teaches PSYC202 - Research Methods and Statistics, a 4th year reading unit titled ‘Altered Consciousness’, and shares PSYC101 duties with other members of the Psychology faculty. His eccentric and unorthodox teaching style has made him well known among Psychology students even in the year he’s been teaching here.

Though Dr Rock teaches a unit based around statistics, the main focus of his work is very different. “My area of research is human consciousness. More specifically, I have focused on the experimental induction of a variety of altered states of consciousness with special reference to the phenomenology (intensity and pattern of subjective experience) of those states.” In collaboration with others he has published three books (others pending) and an enormous number of journal articles on Shamanism, altered states of consciousness, and even a thematic analysis of the extremely controversial substance N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT).

Dr Rock says of his interest in this area; “When I was undertaking my second year of undergraduate psychology I had a lecturer who was interested in eastern philosophy, meditation, shamanism, and altered states. This subject matter opened up a whole new world of inquiry for me and ignited in me a deep interest in human potential.” And chances are he will have a similar effect on students of his own.

Dr Rock’s classes are a totally unique experience. His seemingly inexhaustible energy, humour, and unconditionally positive attitude make his lectures hard to forget. A student of his PSYC202 2012 class said of it, “I found the lectures to be an utterly terrifying and hilarious experience, and I was devastated when the unit was over. Somehow he managed to make me interested in statistics, for which I will never forgive him.” Another student said of PSYC101, “He is engaging, energetic, and brings even the most banal subjects to life.”

As for his recent work, “Currently, I am working on various projects. For example, I am completing a chapter on “neurophenomenology” (the study of brain and experience) for the Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Transpersonal Psychology. I am also working on a number of books including Advances in Parapsychological Research Volume 10, and The Survival Hypothesis: Understanding Mediumship. Finally, I am working on a number of journal articles concerned with, for instance, experiments examining mediumship, shamanism, and holotropic breathwork (i.e., a therapeutic technique involving extreme breathing).”

PSYC101 and 202 are available in Trimester 1 only.

- Stu Horsfield

Walking the Talk

The University of New England and Sustainability