Psychedelic Attention: A Phenomenological Study of Attention in Psychedelic Experiences

Auteur Jason DAY
Directeur /trice Assoc. Prof. Dr. Susanne Schmetkamp
Co-directeur(s) /trice(s)
Résumé de la thèse

This project will conduct a phenomenological study of the nature and role of attention in psychedelic experiences. Induced by the intake of LSD, psilocybin, mescaline or DMT, psychedelic experiences commonly entail a heightened saliency of phenomena, focalisation of those usually unnoticed, and an increased degree and scope of attention. Subjects also report heightened or diminished awareness of basic features of experience – of reality, time, space, embodiment, and selfhood. The project’s first objective – concerning the nature of attention in psychedelic experiences – is to determine if there are commonly reported changes to attention, i.e., the distribution of consciousness across phenomena. The second objective – concerning the role of attention in psychedelic experiences – is to determine the relation between attentional and structural changes to experience. “Structural changes” denotes changes to the presence and relation of basic features of experience. In psychedelic experiences, these include atypical foregrounding/backgrounding of perceptual objects; distortion of spatio-temporal orientation; and experiences of disembodiment and ego-dissolution. My project’s focus on attention stems from a need for philosophical study on how subjects describe their psychedelic experiences and whether these are characterised by certain structural changes. Many philosophers currently argue that attention structures experience. Thus, I will account for the structural changes that characterise psychedelic experiences through a novel study of attention therein. This will be achieved by a phenomenological method – identifying common attentional changes in psychedelic experiences from subject reports and classifying them along three axes: attention to the world, body, and subjectivity. I will then study attentional changes in relation to structural changes on each axis, so that those characterising psychedelic experiences are identified. I will thus contribute the first extensive study of attention to philosophy of psychedelics. I will also thereby address, from a novel perspective, current issues in philosophy of attention such as how attention structures experience, and whether it is embodied and necessary for consciousness

Statut au début
Délai administratif de soutenance de thèse
URL https://blog.unifr.ch/culturesofattention/team/