Robin Carhart-Harris, Mendel Kaelen and David Nutt
The Psychologist vol 27 no 9 september 2014
What do we know about how hallucinogens work on the brain to produce their characteristic subjective effects? This question can be approached from a number of different levels. At the lowest functionally relevant level, how do the hallucinogenic compounds themselves interact with a certain neurotransmitter receptor to alter neuronal activity? Then at the neuronal population level, how does a drug-induced change in neuronal firing interact with the integrated oscillatory activity of large populations of neurons? Finally, how does this all play out at the level of large-scale systems or networks in the brain; and of how do changes in the functional behaviour of these systems map on to specific psychological experiences?
Does self-organised activity in the
default mode network underlie our
sense of self or ego?
Do hallucinogenic drugs produce
a waking-dream state?