Translating REBUS: Implications and new evidence of belief updating under psychedelics

Monday, October 28, 18:30 - 19:45, University of Zurich, KOL-F-118

Hannes Kettner, M.Res
Neuropsychologist, Imperial College London

The recently proposed 'Relaxed beliefs under psychedelics' (REBUS) model puts forth a unified mechanistic account of how psychedelics may affect the human mind and brain by interpreting various lines of neurocognitive and psychological findings through the topical theory of the brain as a hierarchical predictive coding machine. In this talk, I will present data related to beliefs and belief stability collected in the context of three different observational naturalistic studies over the past 3.5 years. These will include results showing changes in explicit global belief structures (specifically, beliefs pertaining to the nature of reality, consciousness, concepts such as free will, and non-naturalistic 'magical' beliefs), psychological constructs related to belief stability, and preliminary evidence suggesting improved Bayesian belief updating in individuals under the influence of a psychedelic. Finally, I will suggest a framework which aims to plausibly put in relationship the 'epistemic shock' accompanying acute destabilisation of high-level beliefs and long-term psychological outcomes, touching also upon the concepts of psychedelic integration and 'meaning-making'.

Hannes Kettner has studied biosciences, philosophy, and psychology in Heidelberg and holds a MSc in Neuropsychology from Maastricht University. He is currently a member of the Center for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London. His work focuses on how cognitive and mental health research can be integrated into and informed by naturalistic settings of psychedelic and plant medicine use.