Today I speak with Dr. Vince Polito (@vincepsy), Research Fellow in the Department of Cognitive Science at Macquarie University. Vince works on developing better measures of self representation and investigating how this capacity is altered in different contexts, clinical conditions and states of consciousness.
Vince and I discuss microdosing, which refers to regularly taking very small doses of psychedelic substances. Earlier this year, Vince published one of the most rigorous studies conducted on microdosing to date.
This is an interesting topic because of its link to the promising therapeutic psychedelic studies currently being undertaken, the positive reports of microdosing in the media, and the lack of empirical research into the practice. We discuss these preliminary investigations and the outlook for this field.
1:10 – On Vince’s research background
7:20 – How Vince came to be interested in microdosing
13:30 – On the methodology and findings of Vince’s microsdosing paper.
22:00 – On the plausibility and continuity of microdosing effects with higher dose psychedelics
25:30 – On how to square the reported benefits of microdosing with the fact that the therapeutic effect of psychedelics are related to the intensity of experience (eg. Griffiths et al., 2017).
31:50 – What do altered states of consciousness, more broadly, have to offer cognitive science?
36:50 – Advice to students interested in similar areas.
39:10 – On meditation as an altered state of consciousness.
43:00 – What’s coming up for Vince in terms of research.
Robin Carhart-Harris and Karl Friston’s recent (2019) paper proposing a relaxing of prior beliefs within a hierarchical predictive coding framework as a model of how psychedelics have their effects. “REBUS and the Anarchic Brain: Toward a Unified Model of the Brain Action of Psychedelics“.