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It is with great pleasure that we would like to announce the launch of the ALIUS Bulletin, a new annual publication edited by Martin Fortier, François Lemoine and Raphaël Millière.

The Bulletin contains interviews with prominent researchers working on consciousness and its altered states across many disciplines. This first issue includes interviews with Robin Carhart-Harris, Jakob Hohwy, Tanya Luhrmann, Simon McCarthy-Jones, Rebecca Seligman and Jennifer Windt.

Read it now: ...http://www.aliusresearch.org/bulletin.html

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The ALIUS Bulletin is an annual publication featuring in-depth interviews with prominent scholars working on consciousness and its altered states (ASCs). The goal of the Bulletin is to present a...
aliusresearch.org
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Le numéro special d’Intellectica dédié aux états modifiés de conscience vient de sortir! Il comprend de nombreuses contributions de membres d’ALIUS. Vous trouve...rez au lien suivant les titres et résumés des différents articles: http://intellectica.org/…/les-etats-modifies-de-conscience-…. N’hésitez pas à diffuser autour de vous!

The special issue of Intellectica on altered states of consciousness is now available! It includes many contributions of ALIUS members. Here is the link to titles and abstracts of the articles: http://intellectica.org/en/issues/issue-67. Feel free to spread the news around you!

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Les enjeux des états modifiés de la conscience et de la cognition : limites passées et émergence de nouveaux paradigmes
intellectica.org
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Le numéro special d’Intellectica dédié aux états modifiés de conscience vient de sortir! Il comprend de nombreuses contributions de membres d’ALIUS. Vous trouverez au lien suivant les titres et résumés des différents articles: http://intellectica.org/…/les-etats-modifies-de-conscience-…. N’hésitez pas à diffuser autour de vous!

The special issue of Intellectica on altered states of consciousness is now available! It includes many contributions of ALIUS members. Here is the link to titles and abstracts of the articles: http://intellectica.org/en/issues/issue-67. Feel free to spread the news around you!

Les enjeux des états modifiés de la conscience et de la cognition : limites passées et émergence de nouveaux paradigmes
intellectica.org

On the Imperial College study of the DMT experience. Featuring Chris Timmermann.

Users have reported seeing 'aliens' or 'entities' while under the influence of the drug. A team from Imperial College London plans to put the 'machine elves' myths to rest
wired.co.uk

Christopher Timmermann on the neuroscience and therapeutic potential of psychedelics (talk in Spanish)

En esta presentación, se expone el trabajo que el Dr. Timmermann realizó con el Grupo de Investigación con Psicodélicos en Imperial College London centrado e...
youtube.com
ALIUS
June 8

Brain changes during a shamanic trance: Altered modes of consciousness, hemispheric laterality, and systemic psychobiology

by Pierre Flor-Henry, Yakov Shapiro and Corine Sombrun

Abstract: There have been a number of electrophysiological and neuroimaging studies in “altered” states of consciousness including dissociative conditions, hypnosis, and meditation; however, the nature and clinical significance of trance states remain elusive. Alterations of consciousness that accompa...ny trance can shed light on the brain networks contributing to the experience of autobiographical self; the subjective demarcation of “self” from others and reality at large; and normative vs. pathological domains of self-experience. Shamanic trance is a volitional, self-induced state of consciousness that historically served the purposes of social cohesion and healing interventions in diverse tribal settings. We present the first neurophysiological study of a normal subject, who has received extensive training in the Mongolian shamanic tradition and is capable of self-inducing a trance state without external sensory stimulation. Quantitative EEG mapping and LORETA (low resolution electromagnetic tomography) source imaging indicate that shamanic state of consciousness (SSC) involves a shift from the normally dominant left analytical to the right experiential mode of self-experience, and from the normally dominant anterior prefrontal to the posterior somatosensory mode. These findings have implications for the psychobiology of the normative conscious mode of awareness and neurophysiological processes contributing to dissociative, psychotic, and transpersonal domains of self-experience. They may be used as a foundation to bridge Western and traditional healing techniques.

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ALIUS
May 29

One of the most interesting and fascinating talks of Psychedelic Science Conference 2017. Highly recommended!

Learn more and donate: http://www.maps.org/ Selen Atasoy, PhD Enhanced Improvisation in Brain Processing by LSD: Exploring Neural Correlates of LSD Experienc...
youtube.com
ALIUS
May 23

Discover Raphaël Millière's new paper on 'drug-induced ego dissolution' for Frontiers in Human Neuroscience in open access below.

Abstract: There is converging evidence that high doses of hallucinogenic drugs can produce significant alterations of self-experience, described as the dissolution of the sense of self and the loss of boundaries between self and world. This article discusses the relevance of this phenomenon, known as “drug-induced ego dissolution (DIED)”, for cogni...tive neuroscience, psychology and philosophy of mind. Data from self-report questionnaires suggest that three neuropharmacological classes of drugs can induce ego dissolution: classical psychedelics, dissociative anesthetics and agonists of the kappa opioid receptor (KOR). While these substances act on different neurotransmitter receptors, they all produce strong subjective effects that can be compared to the symptoms of acute psychosis, including ego dissolution. It has been suggested that neuroimaging of DIED can indirectly shed light on the neural correlates of the self. While this line of inquiry is promising, its results must be interpreted with caution. First, neural correlates of ego dissolution might reveal the necessary neurophysiological conditions for the maintenance of the sense of self, but it is more doubtful that this method can reveal its minimally sufficient conditions. Second, it is necessary to define the relevant notion of self at play in the phenomenon of DIED. This article suggests that DIED consists in the disruption of subpersonal processes underlying the “minimal” or “embodied” self, i.e., the basic experience of being a self rooted in multimodal integration of self-related stimuli. This hypothesis is consistent with Bayesian models of phenomenal selfhood, according to which the subjective structure of conscious experience ultimately results from the optimization of predictions in perception and action. Finally, it is argued that DIED is also of particular interest for philosophy of mind. On the one hand, it challenges theories according to which consciousness always involves self-awareness. On the other hand, it suggests that ordinary conscious experience might involve a minimal kind of self-awareness rooted in multisensory processing, which is what appears to fade away during DIED.

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There is converging evidence that high doses of hallucinogenic drugs can produce significant alterations of self-experience, described as the dissolution of the sense of self and the loss of boundaries between self and world. This article discusses the relevance of this phenomenon, known as ‘drug-in...
journal.frontiersin.org
ALIUS
May 17

Jordi Riba presenting on the neurophysiology of Salvia experience @ Psychedelic Science Conference 2017

Learn more and donate: http://www.maps.org/ Jordi Riba, PhD Salvinorin-A: A Perception-Modifying Drug with a Unique Neurophysiological Profile 2017 Psychedel...
youtube.com
ALIUS
May 13

Here is the first blog post of our featured researcher this month, Jean-Rémy Martin. He presents his research on the mechanisms underlying the fascinating effects of placebo. You are welcome to comment on the post to ask questions to Jean-Rémy.

Jean-Rémy Martin I am currently performing experiments on the placebo effect in collaboration with Axel Cleeremans et Jérôme Sackur. Here, I present our hypotheses on the subject. Placebos...
aliusresearch.org
ALIUS
May 12

Today ALIUS is proud of inaugurating its new blog. We will be featuring one ALIUS researcher every month, who will present his/her research in one to four blog posts. Our first featured researcher this month is Jean-Rémy Martin. Keep an eye on the blog over the coming days!

The ALIUS group is very happy to introduce Jean-Rémy Martin, who will be the first research member featured on the website for a month. Jean-Rémy holds a PhD in cognitive science from the Institut...
aliusresearch.org
ALIUS
May 11

"Grisi siknis – in Nicaraguan miskito « the crazy sickness » – is a family of hallucinatory trance seizures. By adopting an experimental ethnographic methodology I proposed to a group of grisi siknis patients to draw on paper their hallucinatory visions."
Maddalena Canna
(Paper in French)

Grisi siknis – in Nicaraguan miskito « the crazy sickness » – is a family of hallucinatory trance seizures perceived as a contagious disease by several populations of the Moskitia, a multi-ethnic area split between eastern Honduras and Nicaragua. A grisi siknis attack triggers an aggressive/self-agg...
imagesrevues.revues.org
ALIUS
May 4

"Psychedelic drugs are in the vanguard of treatment for addiction, raising the paradoxical question of how one mind-altering substance can override dependence on another"

ALIUS
May 3

A new Chacruna article by one of the members of ALIUS.
Christopher Timmermann discusses the significance of the DMT experience for the scientific study of consciousness.

The incredible states of consciousness that emerge when people consume the psychedelic molecule DMT are characterized by a multiplicity of features. DMT...
chacruna.net

The video recording of Martin Fortier's talk at Psychedelic Science 2017 is now available.
"The sense of reality (SR) refers to how real things are experienced to be; the SR must thus be distinguished from judgments of reality. Now, a fascinating question is that of knowing what the SR of hallucinogenic experiences (HEs) is: do these experiences feel as real as ordinary reality, or more real, or less so? Some preliminary proposals have attempted to answer this question (e.g.,... Shanon, 2002; Beyer, 2009). I will argue, however, that none of them is entirely satisfactory. Understanding the nature of the SR in HEs requires to build a general and comparative theory of the SR. This can be done by paying close attention to various cases where the SR is altered: derealization disorder, psychosis, virtual reality, lucid dreaming, etc. Such a comparative framework shows that the SR is a heterogeneous – rather than a unified – kind. I will first present evidence in favor of the heterogeneous view of the SR. Next, I will explain how this heterogeneous account can shed new light on the nature of HEs. Especially, it will be shown that the SR of “serotoninergic hallucinogens” (e.g., ayahuasca or psilocybin mushrooms) is very different from that of “anti-cholinergic hallucinogens” (e.g., toé or mandrake). These differences will be cashed out in both phenomenological and neurobiological terms. The upshot of the talk will be that the SR of HEs cannot be boiled down to any simplistic characterization. For instance, characterizing HEs as simply being “more real than real” remains rather vague and inaccurate. I will contend that we can better do justice to the complexity of these plants by acknowledging the heterogeneity and the ambivalence of the experiences they induce."

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Learn more and donate: http://www.maps.org/ Martin Fortier, PhDc The Sense of Reality in Hallucinogenic Experiences: A Comparative Study of Serotoninergic an...
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The video recording of Leor Roseman's talk at Psychedelic Science 2017 is now available online.
"fMRI was measured before and after psilocybin-assisted therapy for treatment resistant depression (n=20) and changes in the amygdala were recorded in response to emotional stimuli. Amygdala reactivity to emotional faces (positive and negative) increased 1-day after psilocybin-assisted therapy. This is opposite to amygdala changes induced by chronic administration of anti-depressan...ts (reduced reactivity to negative faces). This discrepancy may be related to fundamental differences in these two approaches: with anti-depressants working to mitigate negative emotions and psychedelic-assisted therapy working to confront and work through them. Patients in this study showed a rapid alleviation of symptoms, suggesting that attenuated amygdala responsiveness may not be necessary for therapeutic efficacy. Psychedelic therapy may provide a treatment avenue that preserves, and potentially remediates emotional responsiveness in depression.
Furthermore, our study revealed that strong peak-experience and low anxiety during the psilocybin session, predicted a positive clinical outcome, while the strength of the visual imagery did not. This result strengthen the theoretical framework that peak/mystical/transcendental experience mediates positive changes. Moreover, this result emphasis the importance of the set and setting, and the importance of the preparation. This result will be discussed in relation to Maslow’s peak experience theory and possible neural mechanism that relate to the acute experience and the long term changes."

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Learn more and donate: http://www.maps.org/ Leor Roseman, MSc Psilocybin-Assisted Therapy: Neural Changes and the Relationship Between the Acute Peak Experie...
youtube.com

More data on potential long-term effects of psychedelic use on personality traits and beliefs. Lifetime psychedelic use (and specifically ego dissolution) linked to liberal political views, openness and nature relatedness. New paper by our very own Matthew Nour, co-authored with Lisa Evans and Robin Carhart-Harris.

(2017). Psychedelics, Personality and Political Perspectives. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. Ahead of Print. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2017.1312643
tandfonline.com