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  5. AST: Chaos to New Order: Psychedelics on the Brain

AST: Chaos to New Order: Psychedelics on the Brain

Jan 22nd, 2022 – 7pm
In person

Manuel’s Tavern, 602 N. Highland Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

For decades, strict drug laws rendered practically impossible research on psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin and lysergic acid. Recent years, however, have seen an explosion of studies into these substances and their effects at nearly every level of analysis—from the workings of brain cells to the behavior of lab animals to patients suffering from debilitating anxiety. The effects of psychedelic drugs are just beginning to be explored by basic research and there is much we do not understand. However, when viewed through the framework of a new theory of brain function—termed the “predictive processing model”—their effects offer new insight to one of the greatest mysteries of science: Consciousness. The model says that consciousness is as much about the brain’s best guess about the world as it is about the patterns of energy received by our senses. Cognitive neuroscientist Bradley Cooke will discuss recent research findings, interpret the effects of psychedelics on consciousness, and look at what value such substances hold for psychotherapy.

Bradley Cooke has been a neuroscientist for more than 20 years. He received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 2000 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern University before being appointed at Georgia State, where he was promoted to associate professor before leaving to work in public service. He is now an official at the National Institutes of Health, where he oversees the nation’s portfolio of research focused on the neurobiology of obesity and metabolic disease.

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