Mapping The Mushroom-Addled Mind

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The above image comes from a new study that comparatively mapped the brain activity of people on placebos (left) and psilocybin (right):

Each circle depicts relationships between networks — the dots and colours correspond not to brain regions, but to especially connection-rich networks — with normal-state brains at left, and psilocybin-influenced brains at right. In mathematical terms, said [researcher Giovanni] Petri, normal brains have a well-ordered correlation state. There’s not much cross-linking between networks. That changes after the psilocybin dose. Suddenly the networks are cross-linking like crazy, but not in random ways. New types of order emerge.

“We can speculate on the implications of such an organisation,” wrote the researchers, who were led by neurobiologist Paul Expert of King’s College London. “One possible by-product of this greater communication across the whole brain is the phenomenon of synaesthesia” — the experience, common during psychedelic experiences, of sensory mix-up: tasting colours, feeling sounds, seeing smells, and so on.

Previous Dish on psilocybin here.