32 Works

The phenomenon of voice-hearing: an interdisciplinary approach. An interview with Simon McCarthy-Jones.

Simon McCarthy-Jones & Mathieu Frerejouan
The study of voice hearing has been traditionally kept within the limits of psychiatry field which, by reducing it to the pathological phenomenon of “auditory verbal hallucinations”, mainly focused on its neurobiological origins. However new approaches of voice hearing, coming from the field of psychology as well as of politics, have emerged recently. Simon McCarthy-Jones contributes to this effort of renewing and enlarging our understanding of voice hearing, by apprehending this phenomenon through its diversity,...

Of woodlice and men: A Bayesian account of cognition, life and consciousness. An interview with Karl Friston.

Karl Friston, Martin Fortier & Daniel Friedman
Prof. Karl J. Friston is a scientist who has made fundamental contributions to areas such as functional brain imaging, statistical techniques for dynamical systems, and the Free Energy Principle (FEP). Here, various topics are formally and informally explored. First there are personal, scientific, and mathematical accounts related to the (origins of the) FEP, and how the FEP diverges from the Predictive coding and Bayesian brain hypotheses. Next, there is a discussion of how the FEP...

Psychedelics and Sociality : probing the diversity of cognition beyond individuals. An interview with Katrin Preller.

Katrin Preller & Guillaume Dumas
In this interview, we discuss how beyond the tremendous therapeutic opportunities offered by psychedelics, they also provide a unique opportunity to investigate social cognition in a causal way and thus increase our mechanistic understanding of it. We argue this basic research is necessary to understand the underlying mechanisms and assure their clinical efficacy. However, revealing this potential requires a great deal of education for clinicians and researchers. This includes scientific rigor both in terms of...

Relocating dreams on the conceptual map: how the analysis of sleep and dreaming challenges our taxonomy of mental states. An interview with Jennifer Windt.

Jennifer Windt, Alessio Bucci & Raphaël Millière
In this interview, Jennifer Windt discusses the importance of studying dreams to understand consciousness, how theories of dreaming have evolved over time, how neuroimaging has influenced the way in which we think about dreams, how we might redefine the taxonomy of conscious phenomena occurring during sleep, the role of first-person reports in dream research, her own Immersive Spatiotemporal Hallucination (ISTH) model of dreaming, as well as challenges for future research.

Conceptual, anthropological and cognitive issues surrounding religious experience. An interview with Ann Taves.

Ann Taves, Martin Fortier & Maddalena Canna
Cognitive Sciences of Religion scholar Ann Taves is the proponent of a ground-breaking building block approach (BBA) to religious experience. According to Taves, religious experience can be disaggregated into fundamental, constitutive components. Philosopher Martin Fortier and anthropologist Maddalena Canna explore the conceptual, anthropological and cognitive aspects of the foundations of religion, as disaggregated by Taves. In her analyses of the cognitive underpinnings of religion, Taves adopts a Predictive Coding Framework (PCF). The compatibility between PCF...

The Dimensions of Consciousness: From perceptual illusions to psychedelics. An interview of Olivia Carter by Katrin H. Preller.

Olivia Carter & Katrin, H. Preller
In this interview, the psychologist and neuroscientist Olivia Carter (University of Melbourne, Australia) explains how she became interested in the field of consciousness. We discuss how her work on visual perception has led her to study the effect of psychedelics and how this has inspired a multidimensional model of consciousness. We discuss the potential contents of “higher” states of consciousness and argue that the existence of those is an unresolved question. We finish the exchange...

Indian philosophy and the value of transformative experiences. An interview with Monima Chadha by Edvard Avilés and Matthieu Koroma

Monima Chadha, Edvard Avilés & Matthieu Koroma
In this interview, we engage in a cross-cultural discussion about the diversity of consciousness. Indian philosophy can seem quite cryptic and difficult to follow because it is a primary oral tradition. However, Monima Chadha has developed a series of work aiming at introducing the rich insights of Indian philosophy of mind into Western literature. Indeed, the translation of concepts and practices from the Indian to the Western context requires a solid knowledge of the Indian...

The anthropology of mind: Exploring unusual sensations and spiritual experiences across cultures. An interview with Tanya Luhrmann.

Tanya Luhrmann & Martin Fortier
In this interview, Tanya Luhrmann discusses her position within the field of anthropology as well as her methodological commitments. She also addresses her view about the mechanisms governing the shift from experiential unreality (imagination-like mental representations) to experiential reality (perception-like mental representations) as well as the role of personal proclivity (in particular the trait of absorption) within religious practice and experience. Finally, the interview tackles the question of cognitive penetrability: can folk models of the...

Consciousness and psychedelics. An interview with Robin Carhart-Harris.

Robin Carhart-Harris, Martin Fortier & Raphaël Millière
In this interview, Robin Carhart-Harris discusses empirical and theoretical issues related to the current renaissance of scientific research on states of consciousness induced by psychedelic drugs. In particular, he talks about the limitations of neuroimaging techniques to measure the effects of psychedelic drugs on the human brain, the reliability of self-report questionnaires to assess the subjective effects of psychedelic drugs, the nature of the phenomenon known as drug-induced ego-dissolution, the role of the default mode...

The use of psychedelics in the treatment of disorders of consciousness. An interview with Olivia Gosseries by Charlotte Martial.

Olivia Gosseries & Charlotte Martial
In this interview, we discuss the use of psychedelic drugs as a promising treatment in disorders of consciousness. Psilocybin, a classic psychedelic, is currently undergoing substantial clinical investigations in healthy volunteers, but also in clinical populations. Recently, experts in the field of psychedelics have addressed the attractive possibility to use such psychedelics on patients suffering from disorders of consciousness. Building on her empirical and theoretical research on disorders of consciousness, Olivia Gosseries gives us her...

Verbal hallucinations, intentionality, and interpersonal experience. An interview with Matthew Ratcliffe.

Matthew Ratcliffe & Mathieu Frerejouan
If the philosophical tradition of phenomenological psychopathology has been renewed these last years, the topic of hallucinations has been often neglected for the benefits of syndromes such as schizophrenia or autism. This omission has been corrected by Matthew Ratcliffe who, after studying depression in his previous work, not only opened the field of phenomenological psychology to hallucinations, but also put forward how hallucinatory experiences can enlighten the structure of human experience as being intrinsically vulnerable...

DMT in the Mammalian Brain: A Critical Appraisal

Charles D. Nicholas & David E. Nichols
Recently, a publication from Dean et al. reported that N,N-dimethyl tryptamine (DMT) is synthesized in the rat brain cortex, present at levels similar to other monoamine neurotransmitters, and significantly increases in concentration at death. They further promoted the theory that DMT may serve as the causative agent for “near death experiences”, which have been compared to peak psychedelic experiences. The publication certainly is interesting and suggests additional directions to explore scientifically but does not meet...

Are the Subjective Effects of Psychedelics Necessary for Their Enduring Therapeutic Effects? A conversation with David E. Olson and David B. Yaden hosted by George Fejer

David E. Olson, David B. Yaden & Fejer George
ALIUS recently invited Dr. David E. Olson and Dr. David B. Yaden to discuss whether or not the subjective effects of psychedelics are necessary for their enduring therapeutic benefit in an interactive online discussion. The aim of this discussion is to examine their most recent back-to-back publication wherein Yaden & Griffiths (2021) emphasized the subjective effects of psychedelics, such as mystical experiences, in relation to their long-lasting therapeutic effects, whereas Olson (2021) emphasized that there...

Phenomenoconnectomics and the Neural Correlates of Altered Consciousness. An interview with Timo Torsten Schmidt by George Fejer

Timo Torsten Schmidt & George Fejer
In this interview, Timo Torsten Schmidt provides details about his efforts to compile a comprehensive database of all psychometric measures gathered from controlled experiments investigating altered states of consciousness induced by pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods. He also introduces the paradigm of Phenomenoconnectomics which aims to systematically investigate the phenomenology and functional connectivity of altered states of consciousness to identify commonalities and differences, to ultimately identify the necessary neuronal correlates of specific experiences as they occur...

Near-death experience in the public debate: Not reflecting the current scientific evidence

Charlotte Martial
On January 6th 2021, Netflix released a new docu-series called "Surviving Death", whose first episode is dedicated to near-death experiences (NDEs). We asked ALIUS member and NDE expert Charlotte Martial (neuropsychologist and post-doctoral researcher at the Coma Science Group) to share her perspective about this episode. She watched it with great interest and shares her enthusiasm that popular media addresses this fascinating and growing area of research, which has not received the scientific and medical...

Am I autistic? An intellectual autobiography

Karl Friston
Autobiography, Free Energy Principle, Autism, Education, Childhood

On the “feel” of things: the sensorimotor theory of consciousness. An interview with Kevin O’Regan.

J. Kevin O'Regan & Cordelia Erickson-Davis
In this interview, O’Regan discusses how his sensorimotor theory of consciousness answers the “hard” problem of consciousness by reframing all perceptual experience as ways of interacting with the world. Why do things feel the way they do? Why does “red” look “red” rather than “green”. Why does “red” not sound like a bell? Because each experience involves different ways of interacting with the world; each marked by variation in the sensorimotor contingencies of the animal...

Wandering along the spectrum of spontaneous thinking: dreaming, meditation, mind-wandering, and well-being. An interview with Kieran Fox.

Kieran Fox & Matthieu Koroma
About half of our conscious activity is not related to our direct sensory environment. Such spontaneous thinking has nevertheless long been neglected due to the difficulty to tackle it experimentally. Neuroscientific Kieran Fox discusses recent efforts to understand and conceptualize the diversity of spontaneous activity within a single framework. The relation of mind-wandering to other phenomena such as dreaming and mediation is highlighted. Far from being a distracting nuisance, the role of spontaneous thoughts in...

Splendor and misery of self-models: Conceptual and empirical issues regarding consciousness and self-consciousness. An interview with Thomas Metzinger.

Thomas Metzinger, Jakub Limanowski & Raphaël Millière
In this interview, Thomas Metzinger discusses the value of empirical evidence for philosophy of mind, the indeterminacy of the sense of self, the notion of phenomenal transparency, the disagreement between competing theories of mental representation, ethical issues regarding the development of artificial consciousness, and the relevance of so-called 'first-person methods' in cognitive science

The evolutionary neuroanthropology of consciousness : exploring the diversity of conscious states across cultures. An interview with Michael Winkelman.

Michael Winkelman & Martin Fortier
In this interview, Michael Winkelman and Martin Fortier discuss the extent to which consciousness is grounded in deep evolutionary mechanisms and can be enculturated. First, the main tenets of two neuroanthropological approaches to consciousness and culture are outlined. Next, the upsides and downsides of evolutionary psychology are examined; the fruitfulness of this approach in the study of cultural phenomena such as shamanism is debated. The authors then discuss the promises of the “big data” approach...

Dennett Explained. An interview with Daniel Dennett.

Daniel Dennett, Brendan Fleig-Goldstein & Daniel Friedman
Throughout his long career, Professor Daniel Dennett has been notable for bringing together the ideas of academic philosophy, workbench scientists, artificial intelligence pioneers, and even “cultish” intellectual figures like Julian Jaynes and J.J. Gibson. In this interview, Dennett discusses his philosophical roots, as well as his thoughts on Freud, predictive processing, psychedelics, consciousness, and ancient Athens. Dennett believes that philosophers have the ability to criticize and contribute to the science of the mind, and speaks...

The role of hypnosis and meditation in consciousness research. An interview with Zoltan Dienes.

Zoltan Dienes & Jean-Remy Martin
In this interview, Zoltan Dienes (Brighton, UK), specialist in consciousness studies, answers questions related to hypnosis and meditation: Why are hypnosis and mindfulness interesting topics for the study of consciousness? Is the notion of altered state of consciousness a useful notion in the context of hypnosis and mindfulness? What do we know about the neurocognitive mechanisms sustaining the action of hypnosis and mindfulness? There is a long tradition of using hypnosis clinically, particularly as an...

The Neuroscience of Decision Making. An interview of Timothy Hanks by Alexandra Mikhailova and Daniel A. Friedman.

Timothy Hanks, Alexandra Mikhailova & Daniel A. Friedman
In this interview, Professor Tim Hanks discusses topics related to neuroscience, decision making, philosophy, and science as a career. Hanks explores how ideas from computational neuroscience have helped him set his own research agenda and also navigate everyday situations. The way the brain makes decisions is deeply intertwined with topics such as free will, conscious awareness, and mental health. In order to productively study such diverse topics related to decision making, Hanks recommends an integrative...

Internally Generated Conscious Activity: Reflections upon (lucid) dreaming, mind-wandering and meditation. An interview with Benjamin Baird by Matthieu Koroma.

Benjamin Baird & Matthieu Koroma
Certain conscious states such as dreaming reveal that conscious activity can be to a large extent internally generated rather than being driven by sensory stimuli. this interview, psychologist and neuroscientist Benjamin Baird discusses the developments of scientific research on these conscious phenomena including dreaming, mind-wandering and meditation and how they interrelate. Lucid dreaming, the ability to become aware that one is dreaming while in a dream, is highlighted as a unique way to gain experimental...

Bodily boundaries and beyond: Exploring the malleability of bodily self-consciousness. An interview of Bigna Lenggenhager by Jasmine T. Ho and Raphaël Millière.

Bigna Lenggenhager, Jasmine T. Ho & Raphaël Millière
In this interview, Bigna Lenggenhager discusses her groundbreaking empirical work on bodily self-consciousness, bodily disorders and bodily illusions. The conversation explores issues related to the interpretation of the rubber hand illusion and the full-body illusion, the nature of the relationship between self-consciousness and bodily awareness, syndromes of disembodiment, as well as the use of virtual reality as a therapeutic tool for bodily disorders.

Registration Year

  • 2022
  • 2021
  • 2020
  • 2019

Resource Types

  • Text


  • University of Liège
  • Stanford University
  • Institut Jean Nicod
  • Northwestern University
  • Monash University
  • École Normale Supérieure
  • University of California, Davis
  • Pantheon-Sorbonne University
  • Columbia University
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill