This paper (2021) argues that reductions to the precision of belief updating underpin ego dissolution and that alterations to consciousness under psychedelics have a common mechanism of reduced precision of Bayesian belief updating. Connectivity changes in the cortex under the influence of psychedelics suggest that precision of Bayesian belief updating may be a mechanism to modify and investigate consciousness.
“Evidence suggests classic psychedelics reduce the precision of belief updating and enable access to a range of alternate hypotheses that underwrite how we make sense of the world. This process, in the higher cortices, has been postulated to explain the therapeutic efficacy of psychedelics for the treatment of internalising disorders. We argue reduced precision also underpins change to consciousness, known as “ego dissolution“, and that alterations to consciousness and attention under psychedelics have a common mechanism of reduced precision of Bayesian belief updating. Evidence connecting the role of serotonergic receptors to large-scale connectivity changes in the cortex suggests the precision of Bayesian belief updating may be a mechanism to modify and investigate consciousness and attention.”
Authors: Devon Stoliker, Gary F. Egan & Adeel Razi
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Commentary Theory Building
Institutes associated with this publicationMonash University
The Clinical Psychedelic Research Lab at Monash University is Australia's first research group dedicated to the study of psychedelics.