OPEN Foundation

Whole-Brain Models to Explore Altered States of Consciousness from the Bottom Up

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email

Abstract

The scope of human consciousness includes states departing from what most of us experience as ordinary wakefulness. These altered states of consciousness constitute a prime opportunity to study how global changes in brain activity relate to different varieties of subjective experience. We consider the problem of explaining how global signatures of altered consciousness arise from the interplay between large-scale connectivity and local dynamical rules that can be traced to known properties of neural tissue. For this purpose, we advocate a research program aimed at bridging the gap between bottom-up generative models of whole-brain activity and the top-down signatures proposed by theories of consciousness. Throughout this paper, we define altered states of consciousness, discuss relevant signatures of consciousness observed in brain activity, and introduce whole-brain models to explore the biophysics of altered consciousness from the bottom-up. We discuss the potential of our proposal in view of the current state of the art, give specific examples of how this research agenda might play out, and emphasize how a systematic investigation of altered states of consciousness via bottom-up modeling may help us better understand the biophysical, informational, and dynamical underpinnings of consciousness.

Cofré, R., Herzog, R., Mediano, P., Piccinini, J., Rosas, F. E., Sanz Perl, Y., & Tagliazucchi, E. (2020). Whole-Brain Models to Explore Altered States of Consciousness from the Bottom Up. Brain sciences, 10(9), 626. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10090626

Link to full text

OPEN Foundation

INTERESTED IN PSYCHEDELIC RESEARCH AND THERAPIES?

Subscribe to the OPEN Foundation’s newsletter to stay in the loop, hear about our events, and become a part of a community dedicated to advancing psychedelics.

By clicking subscribe, I confirm to receive emails from the OPEN Foundation and agree with its privacy policy.