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The effects of ayahuasca on psi: a preliminary study in South America

The effects of ayahuasca on psi: a preliminary study in South America

Luke, David ORCID: 0000-0003-2141-2453 (2010) The effects of ayahuasca on psi: a preliminary study in South America. In: Holt, Nicola J., (ed.) Abstracts of presented papers, 53rd Parapsychological Association Annual Convention, Enclos Rey, Paris, France, July 22-25 2010. Parapsychological Association, Columbus, OH, USA, p. 33.

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The Amazonian sacramental decoction, ayahuasca (once called telepathine by early researchers), has been used traditionally for several millennia, apparently, for the explicit purposes of accessing altered states conducive to clairvoyance, precognition, telepathy, out-of-body travel, psychic diagnosis, psychic healing, and spirit communication. The psychoactive molecules known to be present within the brew, N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and harmala alkaloids, are also thought to be present in the pineal gland of the human brain and are speculated to play an active role in dreaming. Furthermore, it has been argued that these endogenous neurochemicals also play a primary neurological role in the occurrence of spontaneous psi phenomena. However, although the neurobiological, anthropological and phenomenological evidence for this hypothesis is good, the experimental parapsychological evidence to date is scant, poorly controlled, and inconclusive. The present preliminary study aims to test the hypothesis that the ingestion of ayahuasca can increase performance on a precognition task, offering a methodology to test this.

The proposed project is a quasi-experimental field study, incorporating 40 participants: 20 participants self-selecting to the ayahuasca group and 20 participants in the control group matched for age and gender. For practical and ethical reasons, participants in the ayahuasca group will be drawn from volunteers already attending an ayahuasca ceremony and are not randomly allocated to the group. Using repeated measures, participants will perform the computerised precognition test both before and after the intervention (either ayahuasca or a non-ayahuasca control session with a matched time interval). The precognition test consists of a fully automated computer programme that guides the participant through ten trials of intentional target selection from a pool of four fractal images that are refreshed for each trial. Participants will be required to intend that they will select the target image and then visualise the target image in their mind’s eye before selecting. A number of validation measures monitor the degree of altered state of consciousness, ability to visualise and the confidence in selecting the targets, for each run. Results will be analysed in terms of psi score both pre/post intervention and for the experimental/control conditions (to monitor for artefacts of repeated measures). A number of individual differences measures will also be explored in relation to psi performance, including belief in psi, belief in the paranormal, and previous substance-use and paranormal experience history. Regardless of the findings, the project will illuminate unforeseen methodological factors and pave the way for a prospective study, and, should the results be positive, offer tentative support for the hypothesis that psi is mediated in the brain by the action of DMT. The current progress of the study will be discussed in the presentation.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Paper presented at the 53rd Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association, held 22-25 July 2010, Enclos Rey, Paris, France.
Uncontrolled Keywords: psi, precognition, ayahuasca, parapsychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Health & Social Care
School of Health & Social Care > Applied Psychology Research Group
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Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:10

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