January 17, 2017


The ASDB as a Research tool

The ASDB allows us to determine what effects are reliably induced by what induction methods. It also allows us to see how variable the induced states are across different studies.

Current Research

Project#1: A Taxonomy on Altered States Inducing Methods Based on Meta-Analyses on Phenomenological Changes

taxonomy_figureNeuroscientific interest in altered states of consciousness (ASCs) has experienced a renaissance. In addition to pharmacological induction methods (IMs), there are numerous non-pharmacological IMs that can induce profound alterations in perception and thinking.

Taxonomizing various IMs can offer a valuable framework for systematic investigations into the phenomenological, psychological, and physiological aspects of various ASCs. Most previous studies have dealt with only one IM and its correspondingly induced ASC. However, many ASC phenomena (e.g., out of body experiences) can be induced by multiple IMs.

Comparing the different ASC phenomena induced by various IMs will help identify which conditions must be met to gain particular subjective experiences. This project explores the benefits of using a big-data approach to taxonomize and visualize experimental IMs based on the induced ASCs.

Taxonomizing IMs for ASCs based on the type of ASC experience they elicit will reveal new insights on shared mechanisms of their genesis. Based on the data in the ASDB from a multitude of IMs, we will perform meta-analyses to identify common ‘phenomenologic patterns’ and develop a taxonomy. Such a taxonomy will allow for a more accurate assessment of similarities and differences in elicited subjective experiences, brain processes and the assessment of potential aversive effects.


Project#2: The complete list of induction methods for altered states of consciousness

Multiple methods have been suggested to induce altered states of consciousness (ASCs) in humans. We are collecting information on these pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods. We aim to present a complete list of the methods that have been investigated with scientific methodology and that have been demonstrated to reliably induce ASCs in humans.