Psilocybin’s effects on the brain and Aldous Huxley’s ‘reducing valve’ of consciousness: blog reaction to Beckley-Imperial Psilocybin research


in LSD,Psilocybin,Uncategorized,Worldwide Psychedelic Research

In the popular science blog io9, Robert T. Gonzales ties up findings from this week’s Beckley Foundation-Imperial College Psilocybin paper in the PNAS with Aldous Huxley’s ‘reducing valve’ hypothesis, initially presented in his 1954 book The Doors of Perception (; also, to more recent theorising by Karl Friston of University College London (, who postulates, in his ‘free-energy’ model of the brain, a constraining overarching principle which makes possible a relatively stable  and precise cognitive functioning.

It is also suggested that the most recent findings by Dr. David  Nutt’s group at Imperial College, London of how psychoactive compounds such as Psilocybin act on the brain, differ from those of Franz Vollenweider, a neuropsychopharmacologist at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, who studied the action of the same substance on the brain, and who reports an activation rather than a dimming in the same areas.

In addition to Psilocybin, in the article there are, further, revealing  fMRI images of the brain while under the influence of alcohol, cannabis and tobacco.

This is certainly a promising new avenue of research, and the initial results are already suggesting a possible renaissance in Psychedelic research through revolutionary advances in neuroscience.

Original article can be found here

Other reporting on our psilocybin research:

Mo Costandi reports on the psilocybin series in the nature blog

Mo Costandi on the neurophilosophical implciations of our findings in his Guardian blog, covering Freudian and other theoretical interpretations of the research.

Maia Szalavitz for Time magazine discusses the findings, and the potential therapeutic application of psilocybin for depression.


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