Speaker: Olivia Carter
Professor at the University of Melbourne, Perception & Pharmacology Lab
Title: The pharmacology of consciousness
Host: Shervin Safavi, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics
My research uses a range of methods to better understand how the brain’s natural chemicals control complex behaviours, thoughts and perceptions. I also have a particular fascination about the factors that determine the contents of an individual’s conscious experience. In this talk I will present work that sits at the intersection of these two research areas looking at the role of different neurotransmitter systems in driving changes in conscious state. Specifically, I will discuss a series of studies using ambiguous stimuli to explore the neuropharmacological processes that underly alternations in perceptual awareness. By comparing different methods and neurotransmitter systems including: serotonin (psychedelics), noradrenaline (pupillometry) and Glutamate/GABA (Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy MRS) we can start to tease apart the distinct role that different neurotransmitter systems play in coordinating conscious experience across time.
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