Anil Seth, a neuroscientist at the University of Sussex, has been studying how the brain helps individuals perceive the world around them. The researcher is interested in what psychedelics like LSD can reveal to us about how the brain develops different perceptions.
Seth has tried LSD and ayahuasca, both experiences leaving him with a strengthened conviction that these substances possess the potential to teach us about the workings of the brain, which produces perceptions.
He isn’t the only advocate, as more neuroscientists, armed with computational models of the brain, EEG recordings, fMRI scans and volunteer reports, try to understand how perceptions in the brain are induced using psychedelic drugs. This is proving positive as more studies begin to offer new evidence supporting a hypothesis that the human brain uses prediction to find meaning from sensory information, which helps us navigate and make sense of the world around us.
When these predictions run rampant, as they sometimes do under the influence of psychedelics, the perceptual abnormalities offer neuroscientists insights into the inner workings of the brain and a way to understand what goes awry in neuropsychological conditions, leading to altered perceptions of reality.
This hypothesis was coined by Hermann von Helmholtz, a German physician and physicist who believed that the human brain made inferences about the potential cause of the information it receives through the senses.
The modern version of this hypothesis is known as predictive processing. This version stipulates that the human brain is constantly predicting the cause of incoming information then developing hypotheses that best explain the information. However, predictive processing sometimes goes wrong, which may cause individuals to perceive things that aren’t real, be it anomalies of sound, sight or other senses.
This idea has sparked the interest of researchers studying conditions such as schizophrenia, with some theorizing that if predictive processing can help understand how the brain connects to an external reality, then it can also help understand situations in which the brain disconnects from reality.
Researchers believe psychedelics hold the key to understanding more about the brain and how it works given their widespread and powerful effect on this important organ. In addition to this, they believe that psychedelic substances decrease the brain’s reliance on previous beliefs about the world around us, which may result in increases in a person’s cognitive flexibility.
Experimenting with microdosing may help advance this research because it activates the brain but prevents hallucinations from occurring, which may afford researchers with reliable data on how the brain develops perceptions.
As research on how psychedelics affect perception continues, many teams, such as the scientific team at Cybin Inc. (NYSE American: CYBN) (NEO: CYBN), are also engaged in medicinal product development on the strength of their own research as well as research conducted by previous generations of scientists.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Cybin Inc. (NEO: CYBN) (NYSE American: CYBN) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/CYBN
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