Phenomenoconnectomics and the Neural Correlates of Altered Consciousness
An interview with Timo Torsten Schmidt
by George Fejer
Altered States of Consciousness, non-pharmacologic induction methods, flicker light stimulation, Ganzfeld, psychedelics, psilocybin
In this interview, Timo Torsten Schmidt provides details about his efforts to compile a comprehensive database of all psychometric measures gathered from controlled experiments investigating altered states of consciousness (ASCs) induced by pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods. He also introduces the paradigm of Phenomenoconnectomics which aims to systematically investigate the phenomenology and functional connectivity of ASCs to identify commonalities and differences, to ultimately identify the necessary neuronal correlates of specific experiences as they occur during ASCs. He explains some key findings of his own neuroscientific research on the neural correlates of consciousness under the influence of non-pharmacological manipulations, such as Ganzfeld exposure and flicker light stimulation-induced visual illusory percepts. Finally, we touch upon the current limitations of psychometric methods in their ability to capture the full diversity of the phenomenal space and future plans to overcome these caveats through Open Science initiatives that support harm reduction efforts.