January 18, 2017



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who might use the ASDB?

The ASDB can be used by everybody. It has been designed for researchers who work on the effects of different induction methods for altered states of consciousness. The database is supplemented with information on how to understand the data that are presented. Therefore, we are confident that laymen, with a little bit of effort, can also extract useful information from it.

How can I know that the data is reliable? How is the data selected that is included in the ASDB?

All data in the ASDB have been collected without any conflicts of interest and without any normative bias. Only data that were published in scientific journals are accepted. All articles must have undergone peer-review.

The ASDB project did not do any selection on the data. All available data have been put into the database. Only data that have been appropriately reported in a corresponding article are contained.

How is the ASDB financed? Are there conflicts of interest?

Currently the ASDB is not funded by any source. Work on the ASDB is conducted by a team of students under the supervision of Timo T. Schmidt, and contributions are made voluntarily as part of their scientific work.

Who created the ASDB?

The ASDB was created by a group of students coordinated by the scientist Timo T. Schmidt. Based on previous work by TT Schmidt, a study project of master’s students from the Cognitive Science Program at the University of Osnabrück was founded. Over the course of 2 years (09/2015-02/2017), the database was designed, literature research was conducted, and data were fed into the ASDB. Find more information on individual contributions Here…

I would like to be a part of project. Who should I contact and how I can contribute?

If you would like to join the team, please use a contact formular. Let us know who you are, what are your interests and we will inform you how could you contribute.

Can users add new data to the ASDB?

No, to assure quality control. Please use the contact formular to inform us about new data and we will check and upload it.

You present data from 5 questionnaires. Why did you chose this particular questionnaires? Are you planning to add more questionnaires to the database?

The details on the procedure to select suitable questionnaires is described in Questionnaire section.

How do you define altered state of consciousness?

As a working definition for neuroscientific research, it might suffice to presume that most people have a strong intuition concerning which variability in their everyday wakeful state feels normal to them. This variability of experience is considered as normal fluctuation, while any state that is experienced to diverge significantly from it can be called an ASC. From an experimental perspective it is also reasonable to compare ASC conditions to a baseline state – a state subjectively judged as average, or normal. The comparison with a ‘normal’ baseline requires that the ASC under investigation is of relatively short duration (minutes to hours), which differentiates ASCs from most pathological  conditions. (See Schmidt et al. in prep)

How did you chose methods of induction of altered state of consciousness for your database?

Methods of induction of altered states of consciousness that are present in our database were identified through thorough literature research on prevalence of studies concerning altered state of consciousness. Feel welcome to inform us about additional methods that were not addressed by reasech yet. We keep a list and collect corresponding information for future research. Please use the contact formular.

Where can I find scientific data on potential risks and harmfulness of a certain method?

We cannot provide this type of information. We recommend the following article:

Nutt, D. J., King, L. A. & Phillips, L. D. Drug harms in the UK: a multicriteria decision analysis. Lancet 376, 1558–1565 (2010).

There is a vast amount of illicit substances present in your database as induction methods. What is your opinion about usage of these substances?

Our database is intended to provide only scientific information on the subjective experiences that these substances elicti. We do not make any political statements. We only present the available scientific data and strongly advise to gather information for other sources on the legal status and potential risks that go along with the application of the named methods.

Why don’t you include descriptions of individual experiences in your database?

Private experiences cannot be a part of our database because they are subjective and are not quantifiable and comparable with experiences of others. Questionnaires were developed to quantify experiences and are considered as a scientific method.

My own altered state experience is different than your database suggest? Why?

Every altered state experience can be different and individual. Data included in our database represents scientific research about altered state experience which means averaging over group of subjects to observe trending type of experience induced by specific method. Please also read our additional information articles on the interpretation of such data.

Why only data published in peer-reviewed journals is present in your database?

We included only data presented in peer-reviewed journals because these type of journals assure the quality of presented results.

How can I use the database as a research tool?

Please use a contact formular to use the database as a research  tool.

Where can I find papers that data was extracted from?

We do not provide original papers in any form. You can find the article underneath the graph with direct link to pubmed from where you can usually download them.

I used your database in my research. How to cite it?

Please cite: RG Figueiredo, H Berkemeyer, K Dworatzyk, TT Schmidt (2016) Building a unifying database to enable flexible meta-analyses of data on altered states of consciousness. Poster at ICPR 2016, Amsterdam.