Vollenweider Kometer

Fakultäten » Medizinische Fakultät » Psychiatrische Universitätsklinik » Psychiatrie, Psychotherapie und Psychosomatik, Klinik für » Prof. Dr. Daniel Hell (emeritiert) » Vollenweider Kometer

Completed research project

Title / Titel EEG investigation of the brain activity, altered state of consciousness, and altered visual processing due to meditation in long-term meditators and a comparison to psilocybin administration in normals
PDF Abstract (PDF, 14 KB)
Summary / Zusammenfassung Both meditation and psilocybin have been shown to induce altered states of consciousness in human subjects, including a number of brain activity and perceptual changes (Vollenweider 2001, Cahn 2006). We have recently completed the data collection and preliminary analyses of the effect of psilocybin on altered visual gestalt processing and associated regional brain activity as indexed by EEG-LORETA based methods in normal subjects using a placebo-controlled double-blind design (See Research Project #4597). The current project aims to extend these findings by characterizing the specifc localized electrocortical changes seen due to meditation in long-term meditation practitioners with a focus on the 'open awareness'/mindfulness form of meditation.

Specifically, we are investigating gestalt processing using the same Kanizsa paradigm we used with psilocybin (findings in preparation) as well as the same standardized perception/attention paradigm (P300). In addition, binocular rivalry and self-referential auditory processing (subject hearing their own name) will be assessed during 'thinking' vs. 'meditation' and compared with the effects due to psilocybin in future. These additional measures are of particular interest to the comparative effects of meditation and psilocybin as we and our collaborators have shown similar perceptual changes induced by meditation and psilocybin in both measures (Carter et al., 2005; Carter et al., 2005; Cahn and Polish, 2006)
Publications / Publikationen Cahn BR, Polich JM. Meditation states and traits: EEG, ERP, and neuroimaging findings. Psychol Bull. 2006 Mar;132(2):180-211

Carter OL, Presti DE, Callistemon C, Ungerer Y, Liu GB, Pettigrew JD. (2005) Meditation alters perceptual rivalry in Tibetan Buddhist monks. Current Biology 15:11.

Carter OL, Burr DC, Pettigrew JD, Wallis GM, Hasler F, Vollenweider FX. (2005) Using psilocybin to investigate the relationship between attention, working memory, and the serotonin 1A and 2A receptors. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 17:10.

Kometer M., "Elektrophysiologische Korrelate visueller und kognitiver Prozesse und deren Modulation durch Psilocybin." Lizentiatsarbeit der Philosophischen Fakultät der Universität Zürich, Mai 2006

Cahn R. (2007) Neurophysiologic Correlates to Sensory and Cognitive Processing in Altered States of Consciousness. PhD Thesis, UCSD.

Keywords / Suchbegriffe meditation, gestalt, psilocybin, EEG, ERP, altered state of consciousness, binocular rivalry, neurophysiology, visual psychophysics, self-processing, neural instantiation of self-experience
Project leadership and contacts /
Projektleitung und Kontakte
Prof. Dr. Franz Vollenweider (Project Leader)
MS B. Rael Cahn  
Lic.phil. Michael Kometer (Project Leader) mkometer@access.uzh.c
Funding source(s) /
Unterstützt durch
Heffter Research Institute - US, Fetzer Institute - US, Council on Spiritual Practices - US, Medical Scientist Training Program - NIH, US
In collaboration with /
In Zusammenarbeit mit
John Polich, TSRI Department of Neuropharmacology, UC San Diego Departments of Psychology and Neurosciences United States
Arnaud DeLorme, Salk Institute, Swartz Center for Computational Neurobiology, and CNRS-Toulouse France
Pascual-Marqui, KEY Intstitute for Brain-Mind Research, Psychiatrische Universitatsklinik Zurich Switzerland
Duration of Project / Projektdauer Oct 2005 to Dec 2008