How can psychedelics help us understand consciousness?

Dr. David Luke

How can someone on an acid trip see sounds or hear colours? And why do some people have this same experience all the time, drug-free?

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Do you visualise time as a landscape in your mind, or see each letter of the alphabet as a different colour? If you do, you’re one of a small group of people who have synaesthesia: a fascinating neurological condition in which information meant to stimulate just one of your senses triggers one or more of your other senses as a side-effect.

Research and anecdotal evidence have revealed that this phenomenon, while rare in the population at large, is a very common experience when someone takes a psychedelic like LSD. Is the same mechanism at work in the brain in both cases? And what do these two examples of unusual neural activity have to tell us about how the brain works?

Dr David Luke joins us in The Garden to explore the exotic experience of psychedelic-induced synaesthesia, its cultural influences on art and music, and what it tells us about the neurobiology of consciousness.

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Talk outline


50 minutes

What to expect

30 minute talk

20 minute Member Q&A

Dr. David Luke

Described by the tabloid press as a “psychedelic Indiana Jones”, David focuses his research on transpersonal experiences, anomalous phenomena and altered states of consciousness, especially via psychedelics.

Thank you notes from Garden members

The Unconscious Mind Collection

The unconscious mind is a vast unmapped territory of feelings, thoughts, urges and memories that sit just outside our awareness. Luckily, our intrepid Garden Fellows are at the forefront of exploring it, and they're taking you with them on the journey.